Climate Change (127)
BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Climate finance remains a crucial topic at the UN climate talks, as it is the core aspect for implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Key issues include fulfilment of climate finance commitment of USD 100 billion per year by 2020, by the developed country Parties as well as transparency and accountability modalities.
It is against this background that civil society groups attending the SB50 talks in Bonn have warned the African group of negotiators to stay alert to manoeuvres by the global north to push for climate loans in place of grants.
“We are gravely concerned by the trend of commercialising climate action to an extent that the poor people who are supposed to benefit from these finances are left out or are just being used for business interests,” said Mithika Mwenda, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director. “The narrative of loans and other false solutions on climate financingare not welcome. The poor people who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis are urgently looking for real solutions. We therefore urge the African Group of Negotiators to remain steadfast and not fall for the carrots being dangled by the global north."
Mwenda said developed countries should just show leadership and live up to their responsibilities by cutting carbon emissions and financially support climate action to address what they caused through their industrialisation activities over the years.
And commenting on the concerns, Zambian delegation Coordinator, Carol Mwape Zulu said Zambia is opposed to the commercialisation of climate financing as it goes against the spirit of the convention which respects common but differentiated responsibilities.
“The convention is clear on the responsibility of developed countries to provide financial and technical support to developing countries as a moral obligation to address climate change based on the historical context of the climate crisis,” said Mrs. Zulu. “This is also in view that loans overburden our small economies as developing countries.”
She said the priorities of African countries revolve around adaptation which is more of a social service than an income generating/revenue source as compared to mitigation measures such as carbon markets that have a revenue component.
“In this case therefore, grants become the main and preferred form of support to developing countries. At this session, Zambia has been making submissions for the financial budget of the convention for both the GCF and Adaptation Fund to prioritise grants for adaption in developing countries.”
After the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015, it was realised that the colossal sums of money needed for its implementation would require the private sector to get involved.
And at COP 22 in Marrakech, a full day was dedicated to Business and Industry at which it was agreed that business had a significant role to play in enabling the global economy to achieve – and exceed – its climate goals.
As a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, the private sector was seen as a crucial partner in securing a prosperous and sustainable low-carbon economy for all.
But with these concerns being raised about climate finance commercialisation, it could be important to revisit the private sector’s involvement in climate action especially on the modalities for financial support from developed to developing parties as enshrined in both the convention and the Paris Agreement.
The Conflict of interest debate at the UN Climate talks has taken a new twist as new research from Climate Investigations Center (CIC) has exposed a long history of fossil fuel industry lobbyist interference in climate change negotiations.
The research, which is based on 25 years of meeting “Participants” documents published by the UNFCCC uncovers for the first time how many fossil fuel industry trade groups and industry lobbyists attended the climate talks going back to the first Conference of the Parties in 1995.
The research builds on CIC’s release of an archive of documents from the now-defunct Global Climate Coalition (GCC). The documents show new details on how the GCC targeted the UNFCCC and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to undermine science and slow progress on climate policy.
The new research on meeting participants shows that once the GCC dissolved in 2001, the same corporations and sometimes the same people who were GCC members continued attending COP after COP until today.
“As the Global Climate Coalition documents show, corporate interference has not only been happening at the UNFCCC for decades, it has had a real impact on climate policy,” said SriramMadhusoodanan, Deputy Campaign Director at Corporate Accountability.
Madhusoodanan adds that the GCC used its access to derail policymaking and undermine climate science, and worked with Global North governments to advance its denier agenda.
According to Madhusoodanan, many of the same individuals and corporations associated with the GCC are still active today, still freely able to stalk the halls and influence governments at the talks.
“While their goal in 1995 was to derail the talks, now it’s to steer it toward false solutions that will allow their members—the fossil fuel industry—to continue business as usual,” alleges Madhusoodanan.
According to a tally of total number of delegates over the period 1995-2018, Trade Associations that count fossil fuel corporations as members have sent more than 6,400 delegates to the climate talks in the aforementioned period.
And Climate Investigations Centre Director, Kert Davies says the legacy of fossil fuel corporate impact on the UNFCCC process and the IPCC is both invisible and impossible to forget.
“Fossil fuel interests have tried from the very beginning to undermine and infiltrate this difficult global agreement to make sure that it failed or faltered at each step. As they win, the planet loses," says Davies.
And commenting on the findings, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, MithikaMwenda said the fossil fuel industry’s thirst for profit threatens to ruin the opportunity for urgent, ambitious and just climate action.
“For decades, they are allowed to come to these talks and pretend to be on our side,” said Mwenda. “They use their money and influence to steer these talks in their favour, regardless of the impact it has on people…And while they lobby, global north countries and others to maintain the status quo, their thirst for profit threatens to ruin the opportunity we have for urgent, ambitious, just action and turn it in to yet another money-making scheme.”
Meanwhile, NdivileMokoenaof the Women for climate justice Southern Africa, lamented how the polluter influence is hurting small scale agriculture, which is predominantly done by women.
Mokoena said the big push for industrial and commercial agriculture was placing markets and profits over communities.
"Agricultural activities in Africa particularly in South Africa are threatened by climate impacts like floods, storms, droughts and heavy soils. Rural women play a major role in small-scale agricultural production and 70% of all food is produced by small scale farmers who use low input and low emission technologies. But, the industrial and commercial “Climate Smart Agriculture” places markets and profits over communities. This involvement of corporate actors with clearly conflicting commercial interests in these talks will fatally undermine the integrity, effectiveness and legitimacy of UNFCCC’s work in the field of agriculture and climate change," said Mokoena.
Others whospokeon the research findings include SouparnaLahiri on behalf of the Climate Justice Now constituency, Michael Charles, of the Navajo Nation and a member of the Indigenous Peoples' Organization, LorineAzoulai representing hundreds of thousands of youth at the UN and Pascoe Sabido of Corporate Europe Observatory.
BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - African civil society groups, under the umbrella of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) have called for urgent climate action and support to address extreme events negatively affecting developing countries.
Speaking to the media on the opening day of the SB50 (2019 mid-session climate talks) in Bonn on Monday, Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of PACJA, said the civil society movement was attending this year’s talks with fresh disturbing memories of recent impacts of extreme events in Africa especially in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
In apparent reference to Cyclone IDAI that earlier in the year, destroyed property and led to loss of life in the aforementioned countries, Mwenda said the African continent was under extreme pressure more than ever due to these extreme events, hence the call for urgent climate action.
“We join the African Governments and experts here in Bonn for the SB50, with very disturbing memories of recent impacts of extreme events in Africa especially in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe,” said Mwenda. “The Africa Civil Society therefore calls for urgent climate action and support to addressing such extreme events. In Katowice last year we called for a comprehensive and balanced Paris Agreement Work Programme to be delivered that upholds equity, justice and act as an anchor in the Paris Agreement’s implementation and this ambition is not yet realized,” he lamented.
Loss and Damage
For the African civil society, loss and damage has been a key talking point. They have consistently called for commitment in the implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage and the need for a predictable financing approach for Loss and Damage in Africa.
The argument is that Africa continues to suffer enormous economic losses in billions of dollars as a result of climate change impacts. And in the wake of cyclone IDAI, this argument has gained momentum, and the civil society leaders made sure that the global community gathered here in Bonn is reminded of this fact.
The civil society movement further argues that there are several un-costed social losses due to climate induced displacement of persons, among them, conflicts.
“In Mozambique, 3 million people are affected, with estimated USD 1.4 billion in total damage, and USD 1.4 billion in losses. The recovery and reconstruction is estimated to be 2.9 billion USD. In Malawi, the President has declared a state of national disaster due to devastating floods, where more than the lives of 870,000 people are affected. A post-disaster assessment done by World Bank and UNDP indicate around USD 222 million is needed for the recovery. In addition, in Zimbabwe El Nino induced drought has affected 5.3 million and 234 million is required to avert hunger. It is worrying to keep hearing the answer for loss and damage as insurance, this might be possible in developed countries but not in developing countries especially in Africa, this is a far-fetched dream” recounted Mwenda.
Climate finance is the life blood of the Paris Agreement implementation. However, it has over the years of negotiations, been a sticky issue between the developed and developing countries, in terms of commitment and actual disbursement, as well as on modalities for accounting what constitutes climate finance. As one of the major contributors, the withdrawal of the US from the PA for example, further complicated the commitment by the developed countries, of USD 100 billion per year by 2020.
The African CSOs therefore want this commitment to be honoured and a further promise to replenish the GCF coffers.
“We expect a clear roadmap for fulfilment of climate finance commitment of USD 100 billion per year by 2020 should be agreed, the commitment should include towards an ambitious Green Climate Fund (GCF) replenishment. Parties should also agree to discuss a new post-2025 quantified climate finance goal from the floor of USD 100 billion,” said Mwenda, adding that there should be a clear linkage between articles 9.5, 9.7 and 13.
These relate to provision by developed countries, of both quantitative and qualitative information on finances to enhance accountability and transparency.
“As the African Civil Society, we believe that the accounting modalities to be used by developed country Parties on financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions via the transparency framework must reflect the information provided in the biennial indicative communication of support,” stated Mwenda.
Despite its negligible contribution to global warming causing carbon emissions, eventually leading to climate change, Africa is said to be the hardest hit in terms of negative effects of climate change. And the continent’s limited coping capacity worsens the situation.
Adaptation is thus a key component for Africa; communities such as the cyclone IDAI hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and the drought stricken parts of Zambia need support to adapt.
“Adaptation is a core element of the Paris Agreement, there is a need to have clear outcome that allows for operationalization of Adaptation component of the agreement, that allows for enhancing flows of support to adaptation actions of developing countries,” said Mwenda.
Closely linked to adaptation for Africa, is Agriculture; which is a key economic driveron the continent. The CSOs welcomed the progress achieved to date by the adoption of decision 4/CP.23 on the Koronivia Joint Work Programme on Agriculture (KJWA) representing a major step forward in the negotiations on agriculture under the UNFCCC.
“We recognise the importance of the Koronivia joint work on agriculture to provide recommendations on building the resilience of agricultural and food production systems, and sustainable and predictable access to adequate means of implementation, in particular technology transfer and financing that is predictable and adequate,” said Mwenda.
The African CSOs have also called for strengthened capacity building especially for developing countries, raised ambition on mitigation targets and gender inclusivity in all UNFCCC processes.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Seven scientists from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia are among 21 African researchers to receive a grant of up to £100,000 ($127,000) each over the next two years to conduct different studies that will prepare the continent on how to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Through an initiative known as Climate Research for Development (CR4D), the scientists will research on different subjects with an aim of strengthening climate knowledge gaps on the continent in relation to climate sensitive socio-economic sectors such as agriculture and food security, health, disaster risk reduction, energy, and natural resources management (water, forests and others) as well as gender, migration, urbanization, infrastructure, marine and coastal zones among others.
“Understanding of African climate and use of climate information for decision-making are restricted by a number of factors,” said Dr James Murombedzi, Head of the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
Dr Murombedzi noted that in Africa, there is inadequate research infrastructure with gaps in climate observation systems, inadequate data to assess the past and current states of the climate as well as communication gaps between climate scientists and decision-makers, vulnerable communities, and development practitioners. “Unveiling of the CR4D research grant is a step towards addressing these challenges,” he said during the launch of the grant ceremony in Nairobi.
The CR4D is an African-led initiative created through a partnership of the ACPC, the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The first research grant is managed by the Africa Academy of Sciences (AAS).
Dr Anderson Kabila, a Cameroonian scientist is one of the grantees who will undertake a research that seeks to bridge the gaps in science, technology and policy by providing decision makers with the information and tools they need for measuring and evaluating the rollout of policies and programmes in East Africa.
So far, Kenya was the first country in Africa to develop and adopt a National Climate Change Framework Policy whose main aim is to enhance adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change, and promote low carbon economy for the sustainable development of the country. The country is therefore one of the most likely beneficiaries of Dr Kabila’s research.
“We have true problems on the African continent and we really need our scientists to help in solving them through demand driven research,” said Dr Judy Omumbo of The Africa Academy of Sciences.
Dr George Otieno, a Kenyan grantee will use his funding to research on how seasonal forecasts can better be improved, including the introduction of climate change information to enhance early warning systems and disaster preparedness for effective response in the Greater Horn of Africa region.
Dr Stella Kabiri-Marial from Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Uganda will conduct a study that demonstrates a green-energy driven technology solution to support on-site fertiliser production in Africa – using a climate and environment friendly technology known as ‘Plasma assisted nitrogen fixation.’
“The fertilisers in the market at the moment consume a lot of energy during the production stage, and in the process, they emit a lot of greenhouse gases which are responsible for the global warming and climate change,” said Dr Kabiri-Marial noting that the new technology emits zero carbon.
Dr Asanterabi Lowassa, a Tanzanian researcher will provide a broad understanding on the impact of gender inequality on the climate change and mitigation measures/coping strategies used by men and women.
Dr Isaac Mugume, another grantee from East Africa (Makerere University – Uganda) will conduct a research with main focus on the implications of the 1.5 – 2.0 degree Celsius to Uganda’s climate, agriculture and water nexus. He will also investigate the probable influence of this temperature limit on crop production and water needs including the influence on rainfall, humidity, winds and cloudiness over Uganda.
It is important to note that last year, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, the world’s top climate experts warned that there was only a dozen years remaining for increase to global temperatures to be kept to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, failure to which, even half a degree will worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and this will have devastating impact on millions of people especially in Africa.
Other grantees from the East African region were Dr Eleni Yitbarek and Dr Mokone Adnew Degefu both from Ethiopia. Others were from the Central Africa, the West and the Southern Africa regions.
“The role of climate research is critically important in decision-making and development, as well as in climate negotiations,” noted Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Secretary for the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) – the organisation that spearheaded the drafting of Kenya’s National Climate Change Framework Policy.
“I am hopeful that these scientists will come up with research findings that will help farmers in Africa enhance their production, while at the same time adapt to the impacts of climate change,” said Prof Nelson Torto, the Executive Director for The Africa Academy of Sciences.