Any just approach to climate change must ensure that those who have benefited in the course of causing climate change compensate the victims of climate change - Third World Network, 2009
What do we need to do to escape the current deadlock at the UN climate talks? Rich countries need to start acknowledging their historical responsibility for climate change and their capacity to pay for adaptation and mitigation measures in poor countries. They need to start bringing targets to the table that are adequate from the point of view of both science and fairness. As the call for rich countries to repay their climate debt grows louder, we speak to Matthew Stilwell, author of Climate Debt: A Primer, for a sharp analysis of what’s needed to seal a fair climate deal.
We start our coverage of the United Nations climate talks in Bonn with a look at some of the targets that rich nations are bringing to the table. We also flag up the dangers of the scientifically unfounded rush to include Biochar and large-scale no-till agriculture in the draft negotiating texts in an interview with Almuth Ernsting from Biofuel Watch.
The bad news is that we have fewer actual answers than we need to make a watertight case for biochar, especially in a climate context … we need to advocate for policies that allow for the emergence of a biochar industry … before we have answers to the many research questions. – Steve Brick – Executive Director, International Biochar Intiative.
There are still fundamental uncertainties associated with biochar as a mitigation option … Our mitigation scenarios are strictly illustrative in nature … [and] assume waste-derived biochar provides only a very small fraction of the land-use related CO2 drawdown, with reforestation and curtailed deforestation providing a magnitude more. – Pushker Kharecha & James Hansen.
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? We get an informed critique of the Bill from Oscar Reyes of Carbon Trade Watch and ask him what to look out for in Bonn.
One of the UK’s leading climate policy researchers has concluded we need a planned economic contraction if we are to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. We take a look at some of the links between the credit crunch and the climate crunch with Tim Helweg-Larsen, director of the Public Interest Research Centre and co-author of the “Zero Carbon Britain” & “Climate Safety” reports. There’s also an appearance by Kevin Anderson (Research Director at the Tyndall Centre) and a live performance of the “Global Meltdown Derby” by Irish poet Grassy Noel.
- Might a planned or unplanned economic contraction be our best hope of achieving climate safety?
- What does the UK need to do right now to start leading from the front and change the game at the UN talks in Copenhagen later this year?
- Should we be focusing on demand management policies and move to a steady-state economy as soon as possible?
- If so, is carbon rationing our best tool for swift action on climate change?
- When will the UK realize that we have an offshore renewable energy goldmine just waiting for us to tap?
In a recent Guardian newspaper poll, nine out of ten climate scientists said they did not believe political efforts to restrict average global warming to 2C would succeed. However, two new papers in the 30th April issue of Nature magazine show that it is still technically possible to conceive of an emissions trajectory that would make it likely (ie give us a 75% chance) that we would keep within 2C of global warming compared to pre-industrial times (the threshold defined by the EU between acceptable and dangerous climate change). However it is a tiny budget – less than a quarter of the remaining proven fossil fuel reserves. We speak to one of the lead authors of the studies – Myles Allen of the Climate Dynamics team, University of Oxford – to draw out some of the implications for national and international policymakers.
- We can release 1,000 GtCO2 between 2000-2050 if we want to have a 75% chance of staying below 2C
- We have already used up a third of this budget (2000-2008)
- Our remaining budget (700 GtC02) is equivalent to less than a quarter of the remaining proven fossil fuel reserves
- James Hansen’s 350 ppmC02 scenario will give us a higher chance of staying below 2C since it is based on a lower emissions budget
- An emissions budget should be the focus of the UN talks rather than a stabilization target (such as 350ppmCO2) or a long-term target (such as 50-85% global cut in CO2 by 2050)
- The Alliance of Small Island States and the Least Developed Country blocs (together representing 100 countries and around 1 billion people) are calling for temperature rise to be limited to 1.5C rather than 2C
- George Monbiot (The Guardian)
- Caroline Lucas MEP (Green Party)
- Jeremy Leggett (Solar Century)
- Leila Deen (activist)
The new series of “The 300-350 Show” kicks of with a recording of the presentations given at the launch of the “Climate Safety” report last Autumn. The Public Interest Centre’s “Climate Safety” report gives a clear and simple summary of the latest science, and shows how our current handling of the problem has exposed us to serious and growing risks. With Arctic sea ice melting away faster than anyone had predicted, the climate seems more sensitive than almost anyone thought, placing us in the middle of a climate emergency that cannot be ignored or brushed aside.
The report delivers a clear message that to have any chance of maintaining a safe climate, we must rapidly decarbonise our society, preserve global sinks, and address the problem with an unprecedented degree of seriousness. Even with a commitment to 80% carbon cuts by 2050, “Climate Safety” warns that our current policy response does not match up to the scale of the challenge.
At this launch event, recorded last Autumn, the panelists discuss how we can get beyond “politics-as-usual” and achieve a full, emergency response.
Many thanks to film-maker Beth Stratford for the use of her sound recordings.
The UN Climate Talks are at crisis point. Nothing on the table matches the scale of the challenge and corporate interests are rife. As the talks in Poznan come to an end, we take stock with three key protaganists: Kevin Smith (CarbonTradeWatch), Oliver Tickell (Kyoto2) and Tom Athanasiou (Greenhouse Development Rights).
- UNFCCC tenders a report on alternative frameworks
- 350 ppm CO2 target endorsed by Al Gore, AOSIS & the LDC country blocks
- Potsdam Institute shows how we can achieve the 350 ppm target
- Climate Justice Now! coalition grows in size from 20 to 160 organisations
- Carbon trading advances despite a crisis of credibility
- 142 organisations sign a statement against the World Bank’s involvement with climate funds
- The China+G77 block support climate funds being managed by UN
- Rich nations still failing to fulfill their commitments 16 years on
- Plans develop for a mass mobilisation in Copenhagen December 2009
- Could extending the scope of the Montreal Protocol and controling black soot be two effective ways forward outside the UNFCCC process?
We continue our coverage of the UN Climate Talks in Poznan, Poland where the big issue on the table is “how to reduce emissions from deforestation”? The big push from investors is to incorporate forests into the carbon markets, but this approach is riddled with problems. Friends of the Earth International has warned that this would “create the climate regime’s biggest ever loophole.” We speak to Miguel Lovera, chair of the Global Forest Coalition about his concerns and his proposals for an alternative way forward.
Meanwhile in Brussels, European country delegates have been agreeing new targets for agrofuel for road transport. This will increase deforestation and emissions from other changes in land use. We speak to Robert Bailey of Oxfam International and ask why this disaster has been allowed to happen.
We continue our lead in to this year’s UN climate talks in Poznan with a look at a proposal that seeks to break the current deadlock and lead to a fair deal which both delivers climate safety and protects the poor.
The Greenhouse Development Rights framework is supported by Christian Aid, Oxfam, Stockholm Environment Institute and the Heinrich Boll Foundation.
We speak to Tom Athanasiou, Director of EcoEquity and co-author of the GDR framework.
- “Greenhouse Development Rights – Powerpoint” (Summary of 2nd Edition)
- “Greenhouse Development Rights – Executive Summary” (2nd Edition)
- Greenhouse Development Rights website
We look at the Kyoto2 scheme in more detail and explore:
- What its effect on coal use would be
- Whether the scheme could work alongside national carbon rationing schemes (eg TEQs)
- Whether the scheme could emerge out of a combination of a reformed EU Emissions Trading Scheme and Barack Obama’s Cap and Trade System
- Whether it would create a market in carbon and if so how would that work
- What its effect on the economy would be
- How it would be policed