The Paris Agreement required the 196 Parties to the UN Climate Convention to limit temperature increases to 2° or 1.5°C below preindustrial levels. While COP21 benefited from a high degree of mobilization linked to the adoption of an international agreement, COP 22 on the other hand has received rather less attention. Yet the stakes remain significant. In its haste, COP 22, being called the “action COP” or the “agriculture COP”, is in danger of adopting various misguided solutions for agriculture.
The Paris COP21 talks failed to deliver a meaningful result, judged from either a scientific or social justice point-of-view. However it did reveal the presence of an increasingly sophisticated and powerful climate justice movement that heralds the most hope for a just response to the global climate crisis.
Will the host city for the November-December world climate summit, COP17, clean up its act? The launch of Durban's strategy, Towards a Low Carbon City suggests the new municipal leaders are climate greenwashers, disguising high-carbon economic policies with pleasing rhetoric.
The resumé of Trevor Manuel, confirmed co-chair of the Green Climate Fund, gives reason to worry. As South Africa's finance minister, he frequently rewarded transnational corporations at the cost of rising inequality, unemployment and environmental degradation.
The global carbon market grew in 2009. Far from signalling a success, this reflects a massive increase in fraud, the dumping of surplus emissions permits by industry, and a rise in financial speculation.
Although carbon offsets are often presented as emissions reductions,
they do not actually reduce emissions. At best, they move reductions to
where it is cheapest to make them, which normally means a shift from
Northern to Southern countries.
Seattle offers a lesson to the African negotiators at the climate talks: by walking out - alongside civil society protesters - and halting a bad deal in Copenhagen on December 18, we can together pave the way for subsequent progress.
With a new President in the White House there’s a fresh approach to climate change and energy policy in the US. But the Energy bill currently going through Congress is based on the widely-criticised “Cap & Trade” system and has been weakened further by a massive corporate lobbying campaign. How does this feed into the UN talks in Bonn in June which prepare the way for the critical meeting in Copenhagen in December?
The oil, gas and coal industry lobbyists who have spent almost $45 million on President Obama´s clean energy plan in recent months need not worry: it is so full of holes that US industry could avoid making any reductions at home until at least 2026, rendering talk of a 17 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 largely meaningless.
The UN Climate Conference in Poznan, Poland failed to achieve any breakthrough towards a global climate deal – a sign not merely of bad timing, but of a fundamentally flawed system that takes no account of climate justice.