Carbon markets – offsetting emissions and ‘cap and trade’ schemes – are not the answer to the climate crisis, writes Mary Church of Friends of the Earth Scotland. As we look with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation towards the 26th United Nations annual climate change negotiations – otherwise known as COP26 – coming to Glasgow in November 2020, this year’s talks in Madrid are being characterised as comparatively trivial to those of next year. Yet one of the key issues on the table in Madrid has the potential to fatally undermine the goals of the Paris Agreement to hold global warming to well below 2C and aim for 1.5C. That is the highly controversial question of agreeing rules for carbon markets, the only part of the Paris Agreement that the UN process failed to get closure on by the end of last year’s talks in Katowice, Poland. The most obvious problem for carbon markets under the Paris Agreement is that theoretically, even if we were in a perfect world, with perfect rules that everybody abided by, we have simply run out of time to play around with trading and offsetting. At our current rate of emissions, it is estimated that we will run out of the remaining carbon budget for 1.5C by 2025. That means that every country needs to urgently cut its emissions to zero: there is literally no atmospheric space left to buy and sell.
Scotsman 9th Dec 2019 read more »
Delegates from developing countries have reacted angrily to what they see as attempts to block progress at the COP25 meeting in Madrid. One negotiator told the BBC that the talks had failed to find agreement on a range of issues because of the blocking actions of some large emitters. Carlos Fuller from Belize said that Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India and China were “part of the problem”. Other observers said there was a serious risk of failure at the talks.
BBC 11th Dec 2019 read more »
Beating climate change requires “leadership and common sense”, presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg has told delegates at an international climate summit where the US has been notable by its absence. The former New York mayor and multimillionaire Democrat appeared at COP25 in Madrid on Tuesday as the second week of fraught negotiations on the final details of the Paris Agreement began. “Beating climate change won’t require a miracle, it won’t require limitless resources,” Mr Bloomberg told the crowd at the packed event. “It will require leadership and common sense.”
Independent 10th Dec 2019 read more »
At the UN climate change summit in Madrid, countries are awarded the ‘Fossil of the Day’ for the worst interventions but can also win a ‘Ray of the Day’ if they writes do something worthwhile, writes Dr Richard Dixon. One of the bright spots in the hard slog of the annual UN climate conferences is the ceremony to announce the ‘Fossil of the Day’ awards, organised by a network of 1,300 non-government groups and presented at every climate conference for 20 years. The awards are given to countries or groups of countries which have been particularly obstructive or disingenuous in the climate negotiations. The US has been a recipient many, many times. In the talks’ rarefied atmosphere, the Fossil of the Day awards are a simple, clear and somewhat humorous message that is popular with the media and delegates alike. There are costumes, flags, skits and a regular appearance by a dinosaur. With journalists looking to justify having been sent to some far-away place they provide great copy if their home country gets a mention. In the first week of the current climate conference in Madrid, the top Fossil recipients have been Australia with three, the US with two, including the special one for worst participant of the week, and Japan with two. The US won jointly with Russia for trying to weaken rules for giving financial support to vulnerable communities which are hit hard by climate change. These so-called ‘Loss and Damage’ rules go beyond just trying to help countries to adapt to climate change but would instead recognise that some things are already irrevocably lost and many more will be, and that the big polluters should help out. Australia and Japan also got a dishonourable mention for pushing the idea that communities among the poorest in the world should be taking out insurance against climate damage.
Scotsman 10th Dec 2019 read more »