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Bonn negotiations veering perilously

Bonn climate negotiations will come to a close tomorrow – and things aren’t looking pretty.

Check out this BBC blog for a useful snapshot of some of the dynamics at Bonn negotiations.

Here’s the lowdown.

4 degrees what?!

Just yesterday, the Bolivian delegation alongside a number of civil society representatives held a press conference (release available here) featuring a disturbing graph demonstrating that global North countries (or Annex 1 under the UNFCCC) are desperately failing to make needed emission cuts. 

The data included in the graph which certain countries did not want made available to the public shows that:

  • Developed country emission reductions pledges in total could be 10-14% by 2017 below 1990 levels, without current rules and loopholes.
  • This increase may blow out to a massive 4-8% above 1990 levels if loopholes are not closed.
  • This is a far-cry from the cuts of 40-50% that developing countries demand, based on sound science and equity.

At the press conference, Lim Li Lin, a Kyoto Protocol expert from the Malaysia-based Third World Network stated “The mitigation gap in terms of pledges is the tip of the ice-berg. Rich countries have been deliberately undermining the entire climate regime, particularly the binding targets of the Kyoto Protocol. If this happens we’ll have a world without a legal system to make binding emission cuts, that’s a world of 4 degrees temperature rise and climate catastrophe”.

Quietly released on the Environment Canada website recently was confirmation that the Harper government is completely failing to make emission cuts. As described in a Globe and Mail column by Jeffrey Simpson,

 “According to the government’s own numbers, actual emissions will grow in absolute terms in every year from 2009 to 2012. All the government’s many and expensive policies will have done is to slow the increase, and then only slightly – by 10 million tonnes in 2012, against countrywide emissions of more than 700 million tonnes. At this rate, Canada will not achieve even the Harper government’s modest reduction target: a 17-per-cent drop in absolute reductions by 2020 based on 2005 emissions, a softer target than the 20-per-cent drop the government had previously promised.”

Where is the Bali roadmap?

The Bali roadmap (agreed to at COP13) which affirms the existing system including the Kyoto Protocol, that includes a second period of commitments for emission reductions (starting in 2013) by Annex 1 (or developed, global North) countries is being undermined in Bonn.

Instead of hard commitments, there is an ongoing push at the Bonn negotiations towards deferring to countries for mitigation actions and voluntary pledges (as per the Copenhagen Accord). There are also reportedly voices at the negotiations calling for a widening of existing carbon market loopholes and shifting of the market mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol to the LCA negotiating track (thereby helping to kill Kyoto). 

For details, refer to this release and document signed by a number of progressive civil society organizations evaluating the state of Bonn negotiations.

What about the Cochabamba People’s Agreement?

The draft negotiation text continues to exclude the People’s Agreement that came out of the Cochabamba climate conference. You can read the press briefing by the Bolivian delegation on this exclusion here.

On the brighter side.

The Good Green Jobs for All coalition, a community-labour coalition based in Toronto which the Council of Canadians has endorsed, launched a new campaign calling on Toronto Hydro to become a leader in the effort to build a green and equitable Toronto for all.

This is exactly the kind of local campaign that will achieve a real solution to the climate crisis – local, publicly accountable green power and local green job creation.

As described on their website, “The Green Jobs for All at Hydro campaign believes equity must be central to the new green economy we are working so hard to build. Thousands of permanent and decently paid good green jobs will be created if we succeed in manufacturing and installing more solar panels in the GTA. We believe these new good green jobs must be equitably accessible to all people, especially youth, people of colour, and newcomers.

As a publicly owned utility, our city’s primary energy provider, and employer of approximately 1700 people, Toronto Hydro must be a leader in our vision to green our electricity grid, tackle unemployment, and bring equity and justice to our great city.”

Don’t miss it! G20 Cliamte Justice tour!

Plans are progressing for the KAIROS G20 Climate Justice tour that the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition are supporting.

Make sure to take a look at the schedule to see if there is a stop coming to your community. These events promise to be informative, with dynamic speakers and the following questions forming the basis of discussion:

1) What would a sustainable economy look like for Canada? What would be the downside? The upside?

2) What social or political barriers would need to be overcome in the transition to a sustainable economy?

3) What is your response to the Climate Justice Now Network’s position that, “Instead of trying to fix a destructive system, we should be leaving fossil fuels in the ground, reasserting peoples’ and community control over resources and production, re-localizing food production, massively reducing over consumption … ”