Koronivia Joint Work Programme News Feed

One week after the draft conclusions for the the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) were submitted, and the subsidiary bodies concluded their independent negotiations, representatives from Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and France addressed the media about the work done and conclusions made at the completion of KJWA’s work at COP24.

The panel had a lukewarm response to the outcome of the first “Road Map” workshop since the 4/CP.23 mandate.  The representative from Rwanda was very disappointed about the lack of “welcome” for the IPCC 1.5 Report, which he said is a joke to African countries in particular, who are living the harsh realities of climate change now.  Mr. Bassey of Nigeria emphasized the role of small scale farmers moving forward in response to our changing climate.  Agriculture that works with local knowledge, without the extensive chemical inputs commonly associated with industrial agriculture – farming that “can be done on the streets” – is how we need to move forward with farming our fields and feeding our families.

Modalities and procedures for the implementation of the KJWA were the focus of these joint SBI/SBSTA meetings.  But South Africa’s representative noted that developing Parties, particularly the Africa Group, felt that little support for implementation came to fruition, with finance remaining as the primary roadblock moving forward.  Panelists believe guidelines need to reflect a just socioeconomic basis for food security: adaptation, absolute emissions reductions, ecological integrity, and gender responsiveness.

The session concluded with a question posed by an audience member who, like myself, was unable to attend much of last week’s negotiations – “how can other organizations such as Latin American groups participate in the SBI/SBSTA joint meetings next year?”

The French panelist who promoted France’s sustainable Agroecology initiatives responded by emphasizing engagement in the KJWA workshops via the Submissions Portal.  Participation by all parts of the agricultural community, not just Parties, is key.  Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 1.59.02 PMWe need to ask questions, offer solutions, and promote an inclusive, equitable, just future for those feeling the drastic effects of climate change already.  As the Nigerian representative concluded, “we have the wisdom, we have the knowledge. We need to share it.”  Lots of experience from the global South remains to be shared by the farmer-scientists who have the tools and must feed the way!


Looking Inside an Informal Informal Negotiation: Protecting Vulnerable Groups in COP Decisions

The tim47086760_495482350942639_1883073697342816256_ne is 10:00 am. The crowd of negotiators briskly walk into the meeting room while the observers patiently wait outside the hall, hoping for a place to sit in the negotiation. It is the third informal informal meeting of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB). On the table is drafting the decision to the COP about the 2018 report of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism (Excom). This arm of the UNFCCC is responsible for providing recommendations to the COP regarding the issue of loss and damage due to the adverse effects of climate change. As I take a seat on the floor, I can see the negotiators carefully reading the updated draft decision. Immediately, the negotiators are addressing their concerns about the updated text. However, Honduras, on behalf of the Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC), raised a novel concern. AILAC intervened that the issue of gender has not been brought up as a recommendation by the Excom report. Under a new section of paragraph 5 of the draft decision, AILAC proposed that a sentence addressing the issue of gender equality be included.

There was an awkward silence in the room. A majority of people’s heads nodded, including mine. I immediately thought, “Wow.” But it was not just me who thought so. Placards were flipped up and eager faces were glowing. In succession, other negotiators were agreeing: United States, European Union (EU), Canada, Australia, St. Lucia on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and Timor Leste on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDC). However, other negotiators did not agree. Kuwait, who arrived slightly late, missed the comment and heard of it after the co-facilitator announced that the language would be included under paragraph 5(e). Afterward, Kuwait declined to include gender quality in the decision because climate change impacts everyone equally. Therefore, it argued, the language was unnecessary.

In response, Australia, Norway, and EU cited data that support differentiated impacts of the adverse effects of climate on different groups, especially women. Women are affected more because of their traditional roles as caretakers and vulnerability to violence in stressful environments. However, China also proposed that the gender text should not be included because of the short notice of time. China believes that the issue of gender equality deserves more dedicated time to thoughtfully implement the language as well as including other vulnerable groups such as children. As a result of these contentions, the co-facilitator called for a huddle to propose new language for the issue. What came out was, “To give greater consideration to gender and vulnerable populations, including youth, in the implementation of its 5-year rolling workplan.” Tension again rose over the use of the word gender and vulnerable populations and whether it was necessary to address both at the same time. Eventually, a compromise was reached when Australia proposed the text to read, “To increase its consideration of groups vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change when implementing its five-year rolling workplan.”GAP

Despite the effort, the gender equality was swept under an umbrella term. However, are negotiators responsible for promoting gender equality or the protection of vulnerable populations? Canada made an excellent point when stating that the gender inclusion proposal aligned with decision 3/CP.23—the establishment of a gender action plan (GAP). Under paragraph 3 of the Annex, “GAP recognizes the need for women to be represented in all aspects of the UNFCCC process and the need for gender mainstreaming through all relevant targets and goals in activities under the Convention as an important contribution to increasing their effectiveness.” Furthermore, under paragraph 10 of the Annex, “GAP aims to ensure the respect, promotion and consideration of gender equality and the empowerment of women in the implementation of the Convention and the Paris Agreement.” As GAP is part of COP, it can be said that negotiators do have a duty to promote gender equality and not other vulnerable groups. If COP wanted to protect other vulnerable groups, it could have included those groups in the GAP decision or in another decision. On the other hand, the GAP decision text does not mandate the negotiators to take gender equality, but is more of a suggestion. Under this interpretation, protecting all vulnerable groups may be the balanced choice because then the text will incorporate women and other groups who are disparately affected by climate chance, like youth, elderly, minority, indigenous, and disabled. In the end, the acknowledgment that there is a need to protect vulnerable groups is an immense feat in moving forward on UNFCCC decisions. The fact that the negotiators agreed that more can be done to ensure these groups are protected is the future of what COP decisions will ensure – equality.


Not a Happy Camper: Negative Reactions to the First Round of Iterations.

udsmcducmvd0rebfmfu3Despite the extreme cold (even for Vermont standards), the negotiations sessions were really heating up today. Yesterday, the secretariat released the first round of iterations–basically edits to the draft text the parties were negotiating during this past week. Theoretically, iterations are suppose to capture all the parties’s options they would have to decide on next week. But if I had a dollar for every time a party said the word “disappointed” in their interventions, I’d have enough to buy my ticket back to Vermont.

Of the many disappointments, the most heated I’ve experienced was during the common time frame negotiations. The discussion here is about (1) when to require the parties to communicate their second NDCs, and (2) whether that decision should apply to all subsequent NDCs. The original draft text (page 41) contained four options: (1) communicate every five years, (2) communicate every ten years, and either communicate or update the NDC every five years, (3) communicate by 2025 and decide on either a five or ten year timeframe (yeah, it is a blend of options #1 and #2), or (4) each country can nationally determine when they want to communicate their NDCs.

These discussions had distilled the options to two main proposals: China’s flexible proposal or “5 plus 5” proposal. China wants the second NDC communication to start in 2025 (5 years after the first NDC, as required by the Article 4.10 of the Paris Agreement), and have the NDC submitted by either 2030 or 2040. This proposal purposely excludes language mandating a five or ten year time frame to keep flexibility in the process. It also wants to decide on subsequent NDC time frames later for the same reason. The “5 plus 5” proposal suggests that parties will have the option to either submit or start working on their NDCs every five years, but can choose to extend it another five years if they want. This is basically option #3, but eliminates the need for options #1 and #2.

The newest iteration for this agenda item contained two options that were nothing like the proposals that the parties wanted to debate. It essentially blended together every parties’ proposal instead of listing each of them out separately for deliberation. Of all the parties upset, Saudi Arabia was the most emotion. Apparently, in the intercessional meeting the parties had in Bangkok in September, the co-facilitators promised Saudi Arabia that certain text discussed there would not end up in any iterations of COP24. Guess what was in this iteration. Saudi Arabia even went as far to express his distrust in the co-facilatators moving forward.

How can they mend the broken hearts of the session in the second iteration? Well first, put what the parties actually want! Parties worked long hours to get to those two proposals. It’s a shame that the hard work of everyone’s original proposals was lost when morphed together in an incoherent way. Second, no more new proposals. The Marshall Islands always makes a point to remind the parties they must come to a decision this COP. Adding more ideas to debate is pointless if countries already agreed on those two proposals. Third, find time for parties to hold more informal negotiations outside of the sessions. Parties have consistently complained about the lack of time, so work with them to secure some additional time.

If all else fails, at least they all agreed that they hated the text.

 

 


What does “progress” mean during informal consultations?

Progress appears to have a different meaning between developed and developing countries. At the end of today’s APA Agenda Item 4 meeting on Article 7, paragraphs 10 and 11, of the Paris Agreement, one developed country Party suggested that more time should be allotted for issues not fully discussed in the meeting. This Party stated that extra allotted time is needed because no progress has been made on text agreement. A developing country Party chimed in disagreeing about progress made today and yesterday. So what does progress mean?

While the developing countries struggle with the late informal informal meeting times, their preparation shows at every meeting. Unfortunately, as an Observer, I cannot attend the informal informal consultations. It appears there was some negotiation and consensus in the informal informal last night because I did not catch an agreement on textual language during the Tuesday informal consultation. Between today and yesterday, the APA meetings have discussed around ten paragraphs. Three paragraphs have already been agreed upon and will be published in the final draft due by the end of the week. This is where the progress argument diverges.

On its face, agreement on three out of ten paragraphs does not seem like a lot of progress. This is the stance of the developed country. With three days left to produce a final text, this is definitely not the progress the developed country wanted because there are still many paragraphs to discuss. The developed country is concerned because there are some paragraphs from the last two sessions that have not been discussed in length. Parties have not presented text proposals in front of the facilitators and all Parties. This Party stressed the need to streamline paragraphs in order to reach the deadline at the end of the week. This was not surprising because the Party has been proposing streamlining for the last sessions.

On the other hand, three out of ten paragraphs over the course of two sessions, is an incredible amount of progress from the developing country’s perspective. Especially because these negotiations have been taking place over the course of almost three years. From this lens, producing a text in three days is possible. This can be achieved with the amount of time that the cofacilitators have been able to reserve for informal informals. Even though the developing countries lack resources with experts in this area, most understand how important adaptation has become. Thus, many of these countries are providing input about this text.

Where does this leave the definition of progress? In limbo. There is no concrete answer to this question. What each country needs addressed in each paragraph determines how they view progress. This conclusion is not surprising given the nature of UNFCCC negotiation sessions.


Adaptation Communication Website: Broken Links

A key focal point of the Pabroken linkris Agreement (PA) that came out of COP21 was the issue of transparency. While the Kyoto Protocol (KP) created the mechanisms for mitigation and eventually adaptation, it wasn’t until the Paris Agreement that accountability was implemented so that Parties would reach their proposed contributions. For the first few years of the UNFCCC, adaptation was not a major focus. Instead, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions retained the majority of the negotiator’s time. But now that adaptation has received it’s due from the Marrakesh Accords, Parties found it worthwhile in the Paris Agreement to emphasize transparency of adaptation communication. Article 7 of the PA  focuses on adaptation and paragraph 10 and 12 of that article discuss the creation of a public registry to house adaptation communications. One might think the formation of a website would be of little concern to countries, but the implications of this website run through numerous items that countries find of value.

afr-modernizing-meteorological-services-to-build-climate-resilience-across-africa-780x439Article 4 of the Paris Agreement calls for the creation of a nationally determined commitments (NDCs) registry where countries can deposit iterations of their documents. This language closely follows the language in the Art. 7 public registry mandate and several countries have taken up the torch of proposing the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)  combine the two registries. These countries claim that by combining the two registries they would be more economical and draw the distinction between mitigation. Within NDCs there is already a section labeled adaptation for most countries; this section states what countries intend to implement in to improve their resilience to climate change. These adaptation plans usually require some form of funding, which can be acquired through direct donations from countries and organizations or application through the Adaptation Fund or Green Climate Fund. Most developing countries want to draw that clear line between their adaptation and mitigation, especially because the focus in most developed countries is on mitigation.

The counterargument, though, is that adaptation communications deserve their own repository. NDCs compromise one complete document. There is currently an interim NDC registry to house the NDCs that have already been submitted by the 169 Parties that have ratified the Paris Agreement. This interim NDC registry is a placeholder for the permanent registry currently undergoing negotiations at COP23 under the SBI. This repository houses one document per country, and only one. Opponents to the one registry plan argue that adaptation communications involve numerous documents, would be updated frequently, and are of a more complex nature than an NDC. In sum, the website would lose transparency and undermine the mandate from the Paris Agreement. Concerns also arose from the unbalanced progression of the NDC registry in comparison as the facilitators of the discussion are already promulgating an informal note to sum the takeaways from negotiations. The Parties in the adaptation registry, on the other hand, refused to agree upon the promulgation of an informal note because of the complete lack of points of convergence. Developed countries and developing countries sticking to their sides with no intention of crossing the divide.
AOR_6There was, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. In a session today, Canada proposed a series of compiled ideas from both sides that would lead to further discussion. While this didn’t lead to an informal note, it created a more facilitative discussion that laid more points of divergence on the table that countries could address. The hope is that these ideas will lead to one idea that reflects the numerous ideas of the Parties, drawing a clear link between mitigation and adaptation and fixing the broken communications.


Closing the UNFCCC Gender GAP?

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 1.47.14 PMThe Gender Action Plan, with its apt acronym – GAP – was on the agenda earlier this month at the UNFCCC intersessional meetings in Bonn, Germany. And, rightly so. Women’s equal and meaningful participation in the development and implementation of effective climate policy is an agreed goal of the Parties to the Convention. Since COP7 in 2001, when Parties endorsed an increase in women’s participation, this goal has been increasingly articulated and characterized through a total of 75 decisions and mandates within decisions across the UNFCCC programs. (The secretariat’s compilation of these, organized by 9 thematic areas, is an excellent reference.)

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 4.24.07 PMYet, despite all these, Parties have faltered (see secretariat’s annual reports, 2013-2016). As we reported at COP22, in Marrakech (Nov-Dec 2016), Parties again acknowledged women’s under-representation throughout the Convention process and the inadequate progress toward gender-responsive climate policy. This recognition generated the Gender and climate change decision (21/CP.22), which directed the SBI to enhance the Lima work programme on gender (LWPG) and develop a Gender Action Plan (GAP). The GAP’s function is to “support the implementation of gender-related decisions and mandates.”

At SB46, an in-session workshop provided the primary substance for the GAP. Some of it came from twenty submissions with proposed GAP elements and advice on the workshop’s structure received from Parties (9), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) (8), and NGOs (3). Additional and rich input came from two pre-workshop events: 1) a 2-day informal consultation in March among 45 representatives of Parties, NGOs, and IGOs held at The Hague, Netherlands, and 2) a May 9 Listening and Learning Climate Justice Dialogue among negotiators and grassroots women focused on bringing forth key messages/principles.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 1.42.46 PMAn open update session on the LWPG ahead of the GAP workshop also introduced the proposed framework that had emerged from the Hague consultation. This comprehensive framework, containing 5 clusters with associated priority/key results areas, and activities for each, was subsequently moved forward as the starting point for the Day 2 breakouts.

The first half-day covered the GAP mandate, the secretariat’s compilation of decisions and mandates, an overview of the submissions, outputs from the 2 pre-workshop events, and lessons learned from other action plans. This was followed by a facilitated dialogue addressing the Plan’s overall objectives and what success would look like in 2019 (when the LWPG is reviewed). Day 2’s breakouts explored and refined the 5 proposed clusters, priority/key results areas, and draft activities. (On-demand webcasts are available here: 5/10 and 5/11)

SBI47 will consider the outputs of these breakouts in establishing the GAP, when it returns to Bonn in November. To what extent the SBI makes modifications is a big question. One ambitious key result under the Gender balance, participation and women’s leadership cluster calls for reaching 50% representation of women in all Party delegations and constituted bodies under the UNFCCC by 2019.

As pressure grows for more than baby steps, so does the hope for an effective new tool to actually make women’s equal and meaningful participation in the development and implementation of effective climate policy a reality.


Wheels of climate change policy roll on in Bonn

trump+climate+environmentWhile angst about the pending Trump decision on the Paris Agreement (PA) remained a subtext of the annual intersessional climate meetings that wrapped up last week in Bonn, Germany, the technical work trundled on.

More than 3,300 (negotiators, observers [including a VLS delegation], plus secretariat and other agency staff) participated in:

  • the 46th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI),
  • the 3rd part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA1.3),
  • several COP-mandated companion events (e.g., indigenous peoples, climate finance reporting, capacity building), and
  • more than 90 side events.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin gave its usual comprehensive (if dry) lowdown of the meetings. By many reports (here, here, here, and here), the negotiations moved rather smoothly. In particular, positions on APA agenda items got clarified, even though negotiating texts are still out of reach. The APA must deliver a Paris rulebook by December 2018.

Aside from the Trump question, the media coverage (e.g., here, and here) spotlighted the contentious tussle over conflict of interest (read: corporate/fossil fuel industry influence on climate policy). But that shadow side of the SBI’s imperative to “further enhance the effective engagement of non-Party stakeholders,” was not the only thing we watched.

A few of our observations:

  • APA round tables got a thumbs up for the airing and clarifying of views and could speed introduction of “contextual proposals” for PA rulebook pieces. Five will be held ahead of COP23, though observers will be excluded.

  • Parties are determined to understand, manage and capitalize on the linkages between Paris Agreement articles, and between the APA work and PA work of the subsidiary bodies. This is important and rich ground for cohesiveness.
  • More frequent interventions are coming from the new “coalition” of 3
    3K1A3741

    Marcia Levaggi, Argentina, speaking on behalf of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay (Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth)

    contiguous South American countries – Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. They constitute 3 of the 4 members of Mercosur, the Southern Common Market, which is on track to a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association. We’ve known them as part of multiple different negotiating groups: G77+China (all 3); Coalition of Rainforest Nations (Argentina, Uruguay); BASIC (Brazil); Like-minded Developing Countries (Argentina); and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). We’ll be keeping an eye on this development.

  • The Long Term Climate Finance workshops (LTF) may catalyze concrete COP consideration of strategies to address the confusing
    3K1A6693

    Breakout during LTF event. (Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth)

    multi-lateral climate finance architecture and developing countries’ challenges in accessing finance. (See the World Resources Institute new pub out on this issue.)

  • The SBSTA’s agriculture agenda item hopped on a rollercoaster, disrupting the 4-year stalemate between developed and developing countries over adaptation vs mitigation. The excitement generated by delegates’ Week 1 mantras (“very substantive dialogue,” “feels like a family”) landed with a thud in the end. No mature elements moved forward to the SBI; nor was an agriculture work programme recommended. We do see slightly positive prospects looking ahead, given the Co-Facilitators’ non-paper. Stay tuned for our deeper dive on this.
  • The Gender Action Plan workshop wasn’t covered by anyone, but you’ll get the in-depth story with our next post.

Next up? Thank you, Carbon Brief, for the chart of steps toward COP23.Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 1.11.43 PM

 


Approving Decisions on a WIM

After many late night negotiations the Subsidiary Bodies (SBs), the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Science and Technological Advice (SBSTA), came to a surprising agreement on both issues related to the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts in their 45th sessions. The main agenda items related to Loss and Damage (L&D) for SBI45 and SBSTA45 were item 11 and 5 respectively, but since these items were originally to be considered by a joint session of the SBs, they resulted in the same draft conclusions proposed by the Chair of the SBI, Tomasz Chruszczow, and the Chair of the SBSTA, Carlos Fuller.

Chair of the SBSTA, Carlos Fuller

Chair of the SBSTA, Carlos Fuller

The first issue established the indicative framework for the WIM’s five-year rolling workplan to include a strategic work stream to guide the WIM in enhancing action and support through finance, technology, and capacity building. This step is crucial to understand L&D and provide the COP with a range of strategic activities as it goes beyond the initial 20-year workplan. This decision also extends an input invitation to, not just parties, but also “relevant organizations.” However, this decision alone falls short of the SB’s directive. In decision 2/CP.19, the COP called for a review of the WIM at COP22. This aspect incited contentious debate among the parties. Delegations disagreed as to the terms of reference to be used during the WIM review. Through the dedicated leadership of the co-facilitators, Alf Willis from South Africa and Beth Lavender of Canada, the parties eventually reached a decision on the draft conclusion to be recommended to COP22. If the COP accepts the draft, the WIM will be periodically reviewed no more than five years apart with the next review to be in 2019. The terms of reference for each review will be determined no later than six months before the review.


Global Goal on Adaptation: work has begun

The next in our series of posts on SB44/APA1adaptation mosaic

Work on the Paris Agreement’s (PA) global goal on adaptation was launched by the Subsidiary Bodies (SBs) and Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) in Bonn in May. We reported earlier on the global goal here and here.

The APA, SBTA and SBI agendas contained three items directly addressing elements of the PA’s Article 7 (Adaptation) and Article 9 (Finance) in support of this important qualitative goal:

  1. Further guidance in relation to the adaptation communication referred to in Art. 7.10 and 7.11 (APA)
  2. Development of modalities and procedures for the operation and use of a public registry referred to in Art. 7.12 (SBI)
  3. Modalities for the accounting of financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions in accordance with Art. 9.7 (SBSTA)

Consideration of these occurred in contact groups and informal consultations, supplemented by bi-lateral meetings.Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 2.34.09 PM

There was also work on capacity building, technology development and transfer, and transparency of action and support under the PA, all of which relate to adaptation planning, financing, implementation, and reporting. Beyond that, the SBs addressed existing Convention components and programmes that will ultimately serve the global goal on adaptation, including national adaptation plans and the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. Capping it off during week 2 was the Technical Expert Meeting on “enhancing the implementation of adaptation action.”

While this was a robust intersessional for action related to the global goal on adaptation, it was not all smooth sailing. (See our upcoming coverage on items #2 and #3 above.) For instance, further guidance on adaptation communications (item #1 above) was added to the APA agenda during week 1 following objections from G-77/China that the original provisional agenda did not follow the PA and its implementing decision. Additionally, spirited discussions on this item in open-ended informal consultations honed in on what adaptation communicatiohom1ns are intended to achieve, and the nature and scope of the guidance for those that should be developed. Developing countries asserted the need for flexibility in communications (highlighting differentiation), while most countries supported at least some common minimal communications parameters in order to achieve the critical linkages with the transparency and stocktaking components of the PA. It was a good first step, even with historic geo-political lines still visible.

The conclusion adopted on this agenda item calls for Parties to submit their views on adaptation communications by September 30, in order for the APA Co-Chairs to prepare for further work at the resumed first meeting during COP22 in Marrakesh in November. We will be watching those submittals and the next meeting, given that adaptation communications bear significantly on the success of the Paris Agreement.


SB44 – Next Steps After Paris

IMG_1518During the last two weeks of May, the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathered in Bonn, Germany for their regular midyear meeting.  This session is called SB44, which simply means the 44th meeting of the climate change convention’s subbodies, which include two standing groups, the SBI (Subsidiary Body for Implementation) and SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice) and one temporary one, the APA (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement).  SB44 is the place where the rubber meets the road.  Few world leaders attend and even fewer members of the media.  Instead, career diplomats who focus on international environmental law in general and climate change specifically come to Bonn to work out the technical realities of translating treaty words into governmental actions.

At SB44, the Parties continued work on climate change mitigation and adaptation programs initiated under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol (KP).  But it’s fair to say that this work was perpetually overshadowed by the future impacts of the Paris Agreement (PA).  IMG_1517What would happen to pre-2020 commitments under the KP’s Second Commitment Period if the Paris Agreement entered into force early? How do the NDCs or nationally determined contributions required under the Paris Agreement relate to the pre-2020 Cancun pledges? How will existing governance mechanisms under the UNFCCC and KP, like the KP’s CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) Executive Board, UNFCCC’s Standing Committee on Finance and Adaptation Committee, and the COP19-created Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, serve the Paris Agreement?  Will we simply learn from their track records of what (and what not) to do when creating new governance structures under the PA?

IMG_1520The Paris Agreement seized the center stage for at least a third of SB44’s agenda, given the number of tasks assigned by COP21for moving into implementation. While on the surface, this work has the appearance of being technical, in reality it is rooted deeply in international politics.  Hence the first week of the APA’s SB44 work was held up while the Parties disputed their agenda for the midyear session.  The G77+China — the largest negotiating group in the UNFCCC negotiations — filed a request before the opening plenaries with concrete suggestions for “balancing” the agenda so that it was less mitigation-centric — a hangover from the UNFCCC and KP’s work programme foci.  Through these agenda corrections, the G77 also sought to launch the next phase of work using the precise language that Parties forged last December when agreeing by consensus on the COP21 decisions.

Forging North American relations at a biergarten on the Rhein.

Forging North American relations at a biergarten on the Rhein.

The APA agenda dispute (and to a lesser extent, those in SBSTA and SBI) served as the opening salvo of a consistent campaign to address the constructive ambiguity that Parties had built into the Paris Agreement’s provisions very carefully. The art of compromise on display in Paris does not transition easily to the technical exercise in Bonn of translating those words into action. This difficulty stood out most strikingly for me on two agenda items: Paris Agreement Article 6 (“cooperative approaches”) and its relation to Article 5 (forests and other land use) and transparency and global stocktaking under Articles 13 and 14, including on finance.  More to come soon on these specific topics.


How “well below 2°C” flew well-below the radar

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.09.47 PMOn December 12, when the Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus, it contained bold new language on the long-term global temperature goal. Article 2 reads:

“Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels…” (Article 2.1(a))

But, from where did this language come?

All through Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 3.59.10 PMthe ADP’s final year of negotiations, from Lima to Geneva to Bonn and back to Bonn, it never appeared in the successive drafts. The “well below 2°C” finally emerged in brackets at the last negotiating session before COP21, on the final day of ADP2-11.Photo-SBs June2015-Bonn

The likely source? Something called the structured expert dialogue (SED).

The story begins back at COP16 in 2010, when Parties agreed to reduce emissions so that global temperature would not exceed 2°C above pre-industrial levels. They also agreed to periodically review this goal to determine whether it was sufficient to meet the UNFCCC’s objective, and whether the Parties were achieving it. Importantly, the Parties decided at COP16 to consider strengthening the 2°C goal, “including in relation to a global average temperature rise of 1.5°C.”

This mandated review happened between June 2013 and February 2015 at a Joint SBSTA/SBI meeting. It was supported by a structured expert dialogue (SED) to “ensure the scientific integrity of the review through a focused exchange of views, information and ideas.” The SED involved more than 70 experts and Parties over 4 sessions. The group released its final report last May for all UNFCCC Parties to consider it at the 42nd session of the subsidiary bodies in June.

Two of the SED’s key messages were:

  • “The world is not on track to achieve the long-term global goal, but successful mitigation policies are known and must be scaled up urgently.” (Message 8)
  • “While science on the 1.5°C warming limit is less robust [making it difficult to compare differences between 2°C and 1.5°C], efforts should be made to push the defence line as low as possible.” (Message 10)

Message 10 also suggested that Parties consider a precautionary path: “aiming for limiting global warming as far below 2°C as possible, reaffirming the notion of a defence line or even a buffer zone keeping warming well below 2°C.”

While not offering the exact language on 1.5°C found in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement, the SED report clearly articulates climate change impacts already being experienced, limits to adaptation, and certain and non-linear increases in those impacts expected between 1.5 and 2°C.1.5DegC

Both IISD’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and the Third World Network (TWN) reported strong differences at the June UNFCCC meeting about what action Parties should take on the Review and SED report. AOSIS, the LDCs and others pushed for sending a draft decision to COP21 for a new long-term global temperature goal of “limiting warming to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” Saudi Arabia and China were both firmly against changing the long-term goal, and sought language simply acknowledging and appreciating the work/report. Though most Parties supported crafting a substantive conclusion and decision, the lack of consensus on content meant postponement to the SB43 (December 1-4) meeting in Paris. With Saudi Arabia and China (joined by Oman) continuing to block action at SB43, the COP Presidency was ultimately called on to shepherd its direct consideration by the COP.

On the ADP front, the Review and SED report found no apparent foothold in June. By Paris, though, its “well below 2°C” was in the draft and part of the hot debate on long-term temperature goal. The LDCs, AOSIS, the Africa Group and the 40+ country-strong Climate Vulnerable Forum (on which we’ve reported), fought hard for the goal to reference only 1.5°C. The “High Ambition Coalition” (on which we reported here), which included the EU and the U.S., offered strong support. The Saudis, backed by India and China, and unchallenged by the rest of OPEC, firmly blocked it, along with any reference to the SED report. The final compromise language was, in the end, a big step toward acknowledging the climate change dangers already present and the peril posed by a 2°C change.

COP21 did close with a decision (10/CP.21 para 4) that referenced the Review, “took note of the work of the structured expert dialogue,” and offered appreciation for those who participated in it. It also stated the new long-term temperature goal utilized in the Paris Agreement’s Article 2.1(a). “Well below 2°C” is well beyond what could have been.images


Loss and Damage Mechanism still unresolved

131206_loss_and_damageOn Friday, December 5, the SBSTA and SBI issued a combined recommendation to the COP on the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (LDM). This Mechanism, established at COP19 last year, is one we’ve been watching here at COP20. The UNFCCC Parties’ gave themselves a deadline in Warsaw for finalizing the Mechanism’s Executive Committee and two-year workplan in Lima.

Over the past year, both of these mandates have occupied the attention of the Parties most vulnerable to loss and damage and the international development agencies and others working to assist them. Millions of people around the globe will experience the kind of certain and permanent losses that surpass adaptation efforts. Case studies have already documented loss and damage by households in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, Micronesia, Mozambique and Nepal. The LDCs report that the 2°C limit in global temperature rise (over historical levels) now being targeted by the UNFCCC will increase water stress for 350 to 600 million people, and threaten up to 15% of Sub-Saharan ecosystem species with extinction. Earlier this year, according to The Guardian, Kiribati (the first nation to take such an action) bought land in Fiji for its anticipated climate refugees. Clearly, the COP20 outcomes on the LDM are highly significant. (For more specifics on LDM, read this earlier blog post.)src.adapt.960.high.1381848848761

Here’s what we know so far:

Executive Committee make-up. The SBSTA/SBI document contains proposed language retaining the current interim Executive Committee and charging it with implementing the submitted workplan. The recommended draft decision also stipulates that the permanent Committee be elected and in place no later than March 2015.

As of Friday, the question about the size and makeup of the permanent Committee was still unresolved, perhaps because of the concerns raised about the interim Committee’s membership. Eight of the ten members are not from developing and most vulnerable countries, for which the LDM is designed.

The recommended draft decision provides one option and two alternates, all with the “aim of achieving a fair, equitable and balanced representation.”

Option 1 – 16 members:

  • Two from each of the 5 UN regional groups.
  • One from a SID state
  • One from an LDC
  • Two from Annex I Parties
  • Two from non-Annex I Parties

Alternate 1 stipulates 10+ members, balanced between developed and developing countries, with two representatives each from the Adaptation Committee, Least Developed Countries Expert Group, Standing Committee on Finance, Technology Executive Committee, and Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from non-Annex I countries. Additionally, the Committee would include one member from an as yet to be determined list of international organizations. This composition represents the initial 10-member interim Committee, augmented with representation from international organizations.

Alternate 2 provides for 12 members “with equal representation between developed countries and developing countries.”

Closed consultations have been held since last Friday to sort out this matter. We are waiting now for release of the results, which according to the COP 20 website were concluded last night. Stay tuned.

Two-Year Workplan. It is notable that the draft decision language from the SBSTA/SBI approves the initial two-year workplan of the Executive Committee, despite the anticipated struggle to reach agreement on its content. Party submittals this fall highlighted gaps in the draft workplan, including the absence of a long-term strategic vision and concrete deliverables on finance, technology transfer, and calosspacity building.

Perhaps the larger issue  — not found in either of these two Mechanism matters — is the place of loss and damage within the larger COP context: will it achieve a level of visibility and prominence alongside adaptation (not tucked within it) as many hope? With this COP’s focus (beyond the ADP work) on the intersection of sustainable development and climate change, we might well see some strong advancement on this issue.


“Last” Day at COP 19…

The UNFCCC COP 19 has wrapped up a number of issues under the SBI, SBSTA, REDD + and other areas. Three main negotiating tracks remain unresolved: the ADP, Climate Finance, and Loss and Damage. Any agreement in Warsaw will revolve around finding compromise on these three issues.

So far, the COP/CMP closing plenary has not yet begun… It will be a late night/early morning!


All the COP19 News That’s Fit to Print

Today’s Sunday NYT featured a front-page story on COP19/CMP9, the first prominent coverage on the two-week meeting in Warsaw I’ve seen since we arrived last Sunday.  Leading with the well covered announcement by Naderev Sano, the Philippines negotiator, of his hunger strike  while negotiators work to move the climate change agreement to the next level, the Times story covered little of the specifics of this week’s hard work in the SBI, SBTSA, and ADP (covered thus far by our blog).  Instead it focused on how Typhoon Haiyan has shaped debate, stating that COP19 has “turned into an emotional forum, with developing countries demanding compensation from the worst polluting countries for damage they say they are already suffering.”

haiyan helpWith all due respect to the Grey Lady, this is not “All the [COP19/CMP9] News That’s Fit to Print.”  Yes, external events have lent urgency to the COP conversation about climate change “loss and damage” (one that has been going on since Bali).  And yes, one way of categorizing loss and damage principles is under the advocacy rubric of CI or “climate injustice.”

But there’s more substance to this story.  Developing countries currently lack a legal remedy for damage from climate change impacts like extreme weather events (e.g. Typhoons Haiyen and Bopha and …).  UNFCCC Article 3, Principle 1’s “common but differentiated responsibilities” leads to that principle’s conclusion that “developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof” (and implicitly recognizes their historical responsibility for global warming due to GHG emissions from early industrialization). The IPCC’s most recent report from Working Group I’s global community of scientists shows near certainty on the link between GHG emissions and global warming and climate change impacts in general.  But when it comes to determining legal responsibility that flows from duty, breach, and damage (to use the language of U.S. tort law), few scientists would feel comfortable stating that CO2 polluting countries caused these typhoons.**   Consequently, these victims lack remedies in US and international courts – thus far.

Given this lack of legal remedy and the fact that typhoons struck the Philippines at the start of both COP19 and COP18 (Bopha), developing country negotiators in Warsaw are working overtime (literally:  the SBI and SBSTA closing sessions began at midnight 11/16 and I listened to their webcast’s until I drifted asleep at 3am 11/17) to create a new international mechanism that embodies the legal and moral concepts that some climate change impacts are irreversible and that the hardest hit countries must be compensated for them.

As Mr. Kioli, Chair of the Kenya CC Working Group, put it hopefully: “If developed countries are reasonable enough, they are able to understand that they have some responsibility.”  And the financial resources.  Mr. Ronald Jumeau, chief negotiator for the Seychelles, pointed out that theIMG_4222 U.S. Congress allocated $60 billion alone for Hurricane Sandy recovery.  He then compared that amount to the $100 billion a year pledged (but not given) by developed countries to the Green Climate Fund.  Yet Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, has stated in no uncertain terms that the U.S. will not be a main GCF contributor, given domestic priorities.

As was mentioned at a reception following an engaging day-long workshop on human rights and climate change sponsored by Yale University, UNITAR, and the University of Warsaw law faculty, Typhoon Haiyan has made the SBI agenda item on loss and damage a priority for COP19.  “We are at these climate conferences essentially moving chess figures across the board without ever being able to bring these negotiations to a conclusion,” Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program opined to the Times yesterday.  That said, I’ll close with an excerpt from a letter to the politicians coming to Warsaw tomorrow to participate in the second week of COP19/CMP9. While it doesn’t attempt to checkmate all of international climate change law, it does seek to win the loss and damage point.

Whilst the UNFCCC has existing mechanisms and instruments on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and clean development, there is no specific mechanism to address loss and damage. Nor can loss and damage simply be subsumed under existing frameworks. It requires a dedicated international mechanism to advance the important work of tackling climate change impacts and compensate countries for the loss and damage they are increasingly sustaining.

Governments agreed at COP18 that the UNFCCC’s role on loss and damage includes enhancing knowledge and understanding; strengthening global coordination and coherence; and enhancing action and support to address loss and damage. More than 130 developing countries have now issued a joint proposal for an international mechanism. We the undersigned now urgently call on the Conference of the Parties to establish an international mechanism on loss and damage in Warsaw.

** UPDATE:  Today, the World Bank released a report at COP19 entitled Building Resilience:  Integrating Climate and Disaster Risk into Development.  Rachel Kyte, Vice President of Sustainable Development Newtowrk at the WB, spoke this evening at a side event launching the publication.  It reinforced this point on p. vii of its executive summary:

“Attributing causality of disasters to climate change remains intrinsically difficult due to the uncertainties, and complex and dynamic interactions between development patterns, the environment and the climate (all of which contribute to disaster risk).  While attribution of specific weather events to climate change is highly challenging, attributing disasters (the resulting impact) to a specific driver — climate, development or environmental change — is even more difficult, given the complexity of these interactions.”

 

 

 


Full video and transcript of Naderev “Yeb” Saño’s plea to UNFCCC #COP19: “It’s time to stop this madness.”

“Loss and damage is a reality across the world.” Mr. Saño

http://vimeo.com/79117298

Link to full transcript of his speech: “It’s time to stop this madness” – Philippines plea at UN climate talks – See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2013/11/11/its-time-to-stop-this-madness-philippines-plea-at-un-climate-talks/#sthash.Vf9RKwgG.dpuf:

Mr. President, I have the honor to speak on behalf of the resilient people of the Republic of the Philippines.

At the onset, allow me to fully associate my delegation with the statement made by the distinguished Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji, on behalf of G77 and China as well as the statement made by Nicaragua on behalf of the Like-Minded Developing Countries.

First and foremost, the people of the Philippines, and our delegation here for the United Nations Climate Change Convention’s 19th Conference of the Parties here in Warsaw, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your expression of sympathy to my country in the face of this national difficulty.

In the midst of this tragedy, the delegation of the Philippines is comforted by the warm hospitality of Poland, with your people offering us warm smiles everywhere we go. Hotel staff and people on the streets, volunteers and personnel within the National Stadium have warmly offered us kind words of sympathy. So, thank you Poland.

The arrangements you have made for this COP is also most excellent and we highly appreciate the tremendous effort you have put into the preparations for this important gathering.

We also thank all of you, friends and colleagues in this hall and from all corners of the world as you stand beside us in this difficult time. I thank all countries and governments who have extended your solidarity and for offering assistance to the Philippines. I thank the youth present here and the billions of young people around the world who stand steadfast behind my delegation and who are watching us shape their future. I thank civil society, both who are working on the ground as we race against time in the hardest hit areas, and those who are here in Warsaw prodding us to have a sense of urgency and ambition. We are deeply moved by this manifestation of human solidarity. This outpouring of support proves to us that as a human race, we can unite; that as a species, we care.

It was barely 11 months ago in Doha when my delegation appealed to the world… to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face… as then we confronted a catastrophic storm that resulted in the costliest disaster in Philippine history. Less than a year hence, we cannot imagine that a disaster much bigger would come. With an apparent cruel twist of fate, my country is being tested by this hellstorm called Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has been described by experts as the strongest typhoon that has ever made landfall in the course of recorded human history. It was so strong that if there was a Category 6, it would have fallen squarely in that box. Up to this hour, we remain uncertain as to the full extent of the devastation, as information trickles in in an agonizingly slow manner because electricity lines and communication lines have been cut off and may take a while before these are restored. The initial assessment show that Haiyan left a wake of massive devastation that is unprecedented, unthinkable and horrific, affecting 2/3 of the Philippines, with about half a million people now rendered homeless, and with scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of a tsunami, with a vast wasteland of mud and debris and dead bodies. According to satellite estimates, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also estimated that Haiyan achieved a minimum pressure between around 860 mbar (hPa; 25.34 inHg) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated Haiyan to have attained one-minute sustained winds of 315 km/h (195 mph) and gusts up to 378 km/h (235 mph) making it the strongest typhoon in modern recorded history. Despite the massive efforts that my country had exerted in preparing for the onslaught of this monster of a storm, it was just a force too powerful and even as a nation familiar with storms, Super Typhoon Haiyan was nothing we have ever experienced before, or perhaps nothing that any country has every experienced before.

The picture in the aftermath is ever so slowly coming into clearer focus. The devastation is colossal. And as if this is not enough, another storm is brewing again in the warm waters of the western Pacific. I shudder at the thought of another typhoon hitting the same places where people have not yet even managed to begin standing up.

To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of you armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, and the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce. Not to forget the massive hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard of North America. And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now.

The science has given us a picture that has become much more in focus. The IPCC report on climate change and extreme events underscored the risks associated with changes in the patterns as well as frequency of extreme weather events. Science tells us that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. As the Earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm.

This will have profound implications on many of our communities, especially who struggle against the twin challenges of the development crisis and the climate change crisis. Typhoons such as Yolanda (Haiyan) and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action. Warsaw must deliver on enhancing ambition and should muster the political will to address climate change.

In Doha, we asked “If not us then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?” (borrowed from Philippine student leader Ditto Sarmiento during Martial Law). It may have fell on deaf ears. But here in Warsaw, we may very well ask these same forthright questions. “If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here in Warsaw, where?”

What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness.

We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.

It is the 19th COP, but we might as well stop counting, because my country refuses to accept that a COP30 or a COP40 will be needed to solve climate change. And because it seems that despite the significant gains we have had since the UNFCCC was born, 20 years hence we continue to fail in fulfilling the ultimate objective of the Convention.  Now, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to ask ourselves – can we ever attain the objective set out in Article 2 – which is to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system? By failing to meet the objective the Convention, we may have ratified the doom of vulnerable countries.

And if we have failed to meet the objective of the Convention, we have to confront the issue of loss and damage. Loss and damage from climate change is a reality today across the world. Developed country emissions reductions targets are dangerously low and must be raised immediately, but even if they were in line with the demand of reducing 40-50% below 1990 levels, we would still have locked-in climate change and would still need to address the issue of loss and damage.

We find ourselves at a critical juncture and the situation is such that even the most ambitious emissions reductions by developed countries, who should have been taking the lead in combatting climate change in the past 2 decades, will not be enough to avert the crisis. It is now too late, too late to talk about the world being able to rely on Annex I countries to solve the climate crisis. We have entered a new era that demands global solidarity in order to fight climate change and ensure that pursuit of sustainable human development remains at the fore of the global community’s efforts. This is why means of implementation for developing countries is ever more crucial.

It was the Secretary general of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, 1992, Maurice Strong who said that “History reminds us that what is not possible today, may be inevitable tomorrow.”

We cannot sit and stay helpless staring at this international climate stalemate. It is now time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway.

I speak for my delegation. But more than that, I speak for the countless people who will no longer be able to speak for themselves after perishing from the storm. I also speak for those who have been orphaned by this tragedy. I also speak for the people now racing against time to save survivors and alleviate the suffering of the people affected by the disaster.

We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons are a way of life. Because we refuse, as a nation, to accept a future where super typhoons like Haiyan become a fact of life. We refuse to accept that running away from storms, evacuating our families, suffering the devastation and misery, having to count our dead, become a way of life. We simply refuse to.

We must stop calling events like these as natural disasters. It is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and gets battered by the onslaught of a monster storm now considered as the strongest storm ever to hit land. It is not natural when science already tells us that global warming will induce more intense storms. It is not natural when the human species has already profoundly changed the climate.

Disasters are never natural. They are the intersection of factors other than physical. They are the accumulation of the constant breach of economic, social, and environmental thresholds. Most of the time disasters is a result of inequity and the poorest people of the world are at greatest risk because of their vulnerability and decades of maldevelopment, which I must assert is connected to the kind of pursuit of economic growth that dominates the world; the same kind of pursuit of so-called economic growth and unsustainable consumption that has altered the climate system.

Now, if you will allow me, to speak on a more personal note.

Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in my family’s hometown and the devastation is staggering. I struggle to find words even for the images that we see from the news coverage. I struggle to find words to describe how I feel about the losses and damages we have suffered from this cataclysm.

Up to this hour, I agonize while waiting for word as to the fate of my very own relatives. What gives me renewed strength and great relief was when my brother succeeded in communicating with us that he has survived the onslaught. In the last two days, he has been gathering bodies of the dead with his own two hands. He is hungry and weary as food supplies find it difficult to arrive in the hardest hit areas.

We call on this COP to pursue work until the most meaningful outcome is in sight. Until concrete pledges have been made to ensure mobilization of resources for the Green Climate Fund. Until the promise of the establishment of a loss and damage mechanism has been fulfilled; until there is assurance on finance for adaptation; until concrete pathways for reaching the committed 100 billion dollars have been made; until we see real ambition on stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations. We must put the money where our mouths are.

This process under the UNFCCC has been called many names. It has been called a farce. It has been called an annual carbon-intensive gathering of useless frequent flyers. It has been called many names. But it has also been called the Project to save the planet. It has been called “saving tomorrow today”. We can fix this. We can stop this madness. Right now. Right here, in the middle of this football field.

I call on you to lead us. And let Poland be forever known as the place we truly cared to stop this madness. Can humanity rise to the occasion? I still believe we can.

Update

During his speech, Sano added an unscripted pledge to fast during the conference, until meaningful progress had been made. He said:

“In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home and with my brother who has not had food for the last three days, in all due respect Mr. President, and I mean no disrespect for your kind hospitality, I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate. This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this COP until a meaningful outcome is in sight.”

– See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2013/11/11/its-time-to-stop-this-madness-philippines-plea-at-un-climate-talks/#sthash.Vf9RKwgG.dpuf