This is the negotiation that never ends. Yes it goes on and on my friends.

I currently sit in the back of the room of today’s seventh hour of an ADP draft decision text negotiation.IMG_5420 The delegates have been working tirelessly for the past week to refine this decision before the ADP is set to close tomorrow. The meeting I am attending is only half of the battle. Another equally large group of delegates is currently editing another set of paragraphs from the same decision, those focused on the Workstream 1 or “the Paris agreement.”

Despite the dragging pace, progress is being made. Before entering negotiations in this COP, developed country parties were largely unwilling to include adaptation as a key part of closing the pre-2020 ambition gap. Over the course of these sessions, more and more developed country parties are placing equal importance on adaptation as they are on mitigation.


Meeting the $10 Billion Goal With A Long Way Still To Go

As reported in this blog last week, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) reached $9.95 billion of its $10 billion goal for 2014. Pledges over the weekend increased the total to $9.9 billion. Today, the Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance discussed how current institutions and tools are providing countries with reassurance that public finance is flowing internationally.

The Standing Committee on Finance estimated that total global climate finance ranges from $340-$650 billion per year. Of this, $40-$175 billion flows from developed countries to institutions. $35-$50 billion flows to developing countries via public institutions. The SCF projected that 47-78% of funds will be used for climate change mitigation, 11-24% for adaptation efforts, and the remaining will go to other climate change objectives.

The GCgcf_logoF noted that 74 countries have assigned a Nationally Designated Authority (NDA) or focal point designations. This will aid in climate finance efficiency and distribution of funds. Funds are becoming more easily accessible as entities seeking accreditation to receive funds from the GCF can apply online. The GCF stated that savings can be used to build a climate resilient future.

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) reenforced the necessity for all parties to complete their intended nationally determined contributions (INDC). So far, the GEF has provided support for 18 countries’ INDCs. The GEF stressed that climate finance in both mitigation and adaptation is critical in order to have sustainable, low carbon development. Further, the public funding only makes up a small portion of the funds necessary to achieve such development.

When parties took the floor, more and more pledges rolled in for different climate finance entities. Germany pledged to contribute USD $55 million to the Adaptation Fund while Spain pledged EUR 20 million to the New York Declaration on Forests. Belgium will contribute EUR 50 million to the GCF. The Australian pledge of AUS $200 million to the GCF put the total over the $10 billion mark.

Despite achieving the goal, the Co-Chairs of the Ministerial Dialogue stated that more countries should still make pledges and become involved. This will spur more private entities to pledge so that adequate funds will be available to support global sustainable development.



Expanding Energy Access in Africa


With the assistance of the Climate & Development Knowledge Network, Helio implemented a two-year program to address Energy, Ecodevelopment and Resilience in Africa (EERA) in 2013. Ending next month, EERA aimed to create a Smart Energy Path (SEP) in Togo, Mali, and Benin to increase capacity and develop economically beneficial energy projects. Currently only 9% of rural and peri-urban health centers in Togo have energy services. In a survey, Togolese said that providing electricity to these centers was their highest energy priority.

Lessons from EERA suggested that projects focus on energy services and smart technologies. Smart technologies can include diverse, renewable energy sources and climate resilient projects. Helio stressed that these technologies should be economically accessible across the region. Further, developing energy systems in these countries must be driven by sustainable development, prioritized, and respect climate vulnerability.


Celebreality: How a public figure can use their fan base to spread awareness about climate change.

On September 24, the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change initiative teamed with UNEP Goodwill Ambassador and actor Ian Somerhalder to produce a documentary on climate change. Momentum for Change illuminates activities underway across the globe that are moving the world toward a highly resilient, low-carbon future.

Christiana Figueres blogged about the release of the documentary. Her message was retweeted 59 times ath2nd users selected it as a favorite 36 times. In comparison, Ian Somerhalder’s own tweet was retweeted over 3,000 times and added as a favorite by more than 5,000 twitter users. This discrepancy is likely due to the lopsided number of followers Figueres and Somerhalder have, 43,700 and 5,410,000 respectively.

Does it matter who the information comes from as long as Momentum for Change’s message is being spread? By choosing Ian Somerhalder as the narrator, Momentum for Change increased their documentaries exposure exponentially. More people will now see this important video than if a non- celebrity narrated the film.

Celebritie220px-An_Inconvenient_Truth_Film_Posters use their status as public figures to spread awareness about many causes, including climate change. Many celebrities deeply care about climate change issues and make strategic career choices to educate their fans on these important issues. In 2006, Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming was documented in An Inconvenient Truth. The film went on to win several awards including the Academy Award for Best Documentary and the HUMANITAS prize by making significant contribution to the human family by communicating values, forming consciences and motivating human behavior. The film ultimately grossed US$50 million worldwide.

Leonardo DiCaprio, award winning actor and UN Messenger of Peace in the field of climate change, spokfa10ae_ee68fa8f12cb49619925e151d71aa563.png_srz_p_198_198_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srze at the UN Climate March in September. He stated that clean air and a livable climate are “inalienable human rights” and that we can either make history by changing our actions or be vilified by the consequences. DiCaprio pledged US$7million  towards ocean conservation projects and his foundation is supporting the Green World Rising film series focusing on solutions to the climate crisis.

Celebrities can utilize their financial resources and public appeal to further the goals of the UNFCCC by educating their fans about climate change and actions that can be taken to limit it.

European Council Endorses Binding 40% GHG Emissions Reduction Target by 2030

On October 24, the European Council New_European_Council_-_Consilium_Logoreleased its Conclusions on 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework. This announcement asserted a 40% domestic GHG Emissions Reduction Target by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Approximately 10% of all GHG emissions worldwide currently come from the EU.

Under this newly announced goal, the EU must also increase renewable energy by at least 27% and reduce energy demand by 27% by 2030. All EU member states, in “solidarity and while considering fairness“, will participate in these efforts. The 40% reduction target is EU-wide; legally binding member specific targets have not been extended beyond 2020. Member states are currently free to set their own targets post 2020.

The EU intends to achieve these goals by reforming the Emissions Trading System (ETS). The ETS will lower the cap on maximum emissions from 1.7% annual reduction to 2.2% starting in 2021.

Smoke billows from the chimneys of Belchatow Power StationDuring negotiations, Poland fought to preserve its coal industry while other members states argued for their various economic interests including methane producing livestock, nuclear facilities, and cross-border power lines in Spain and Portugal. Germany and the U.K. pushed for The 40% target was finally agreed upon after hours of negotiations.

The EC encourages all countries to develop ambitious emission reduction targets and policies in advance of COP 21.


Christiana Figueres weighed in on the EC’s announcement stating that it provides momentum towards the Paris agreement and that the EU would be able to submit its INDC contribution by March 2015. Further, she noted that because 28 European countries were able to compromise on the 40% reduction target, all countries should be able to come to an effective agreement in Paris.

EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard noted that achieving 4th0% emissions reduction would be difficult. She stated that the EC’s ambitious proposal can only be achieved by major transformation across the EU. However, the new proposal is an important step forward for the entire world in terms of combating climate change.