CAN International flashes climate movement’s teeth on Day 1

CAN International logo


CAN (Climate Action Network) International’s COP21 opening press conference this morning delivered strong words for the leaders and negotiators. (CAN International is a recognized “network of NGOs working on climate change from around the world.” Member groups well known in the U.S. include, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.) Four organizations presented:

Keya Chatterjee of US CAN praised the climate movement’s hard work since COP15 in Copenhagen that has achieved today’s powerful level of engagement. She noted that 2 of the 3 key ingredients for a just transition to a livable world have been met: 1) an activist base -“check;” and 2) a permissive majority – “check.” The third requirement, political leadership, is being demanded at COP21 where leaders are called to reveal “if they are with the world or not.” Activists clearly feel that Obama’s political credibility is on the line.

CAN Intl Webcast panel Nov30

Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid decried the current inadequate offerings of developed countries on mitigation and adaptation that will result in the sacrifice of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. He shared that the INDCs will deliver a too high 2.7°C increase, and called on the Parties to complete a strong agreement that provides for robust adaptation help, a loss & damage mechanism, and the climate finance to make these happen.

Tim Gore from Oxfam predicted that the negotiations will be brutal, and could get nasty. Three of the flash points he anticipates:

  • Current commitment questions- $100Bill/year by 2020. Will this happen and will there be enough adaptation finance from it? The Africa Group has put a proposal on the table to ensure $32 billion for adaptation from GCF by 2020.
  • Loss & Damage- “a David & Goliath issue,” with the US not wanting to move on it at all, and the other developed countries happy for the U.S. to take the hard line position.
  • Post 2020 finance- “the great known unknown” at these talks. There is a serious need to for a new commitment on finance. The key tradeoff is between getting new numbers on the table and getting others at the table. But who goes first?

Pierre Cannet of WWF France called upon Parties to reach a solid, inclusive, transparent agreement that also provides for a role by civil society. He congratulated France’s efforts to make this COP a real success. Pierre’s primary message was to stay in the negotiators’ ears in Paris, and keep the messages coming through demonstrations and marches, predicting that civil society’s vital role in building a strong response will serve “to change course and make history.”

KeyChatterjee-USCAN at CAN Webcast Nov30One of the most impassioned statements of the press conference came during the Q&A, when Keya Chatterjee (USCAN), expressing the commitment of the massive climate movement in the U.S. to hold the country’s leaders accountable to mitigation targets, nearly shouted, “I promise you, over our dead bodies, will these targets not be met!”

The Movement is unapologetically here. Let’s hope the political will is.


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Please note: Press conferences at the COP are a great way for remote followers to get real time news and views. You can tune in via the UNFCCC webcast page and catch the live action before it reaches your favorite news feeds.

Looking back at the Climate Summit

As Carla posted here, a number of countries sent heads of state to the Climate Summit two weeks ago.  They or their U.N. ambassadors communicated a variety of pledges.  As the media reported, Presidentun summit plenary photo Obama repeated the pledges he’s made since COP15 in Copenhagen; he also made pointed statements aimed at his absent colleague from China.  Numerous developing countries pledged to pursue less carbon-intensive development.  For example, Costa Rica announced that it will be “powered purely” by clean energy by 2016, and Chile declared that it will derive 45% of its energy from renewables by 2020.  Industrializing southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia pledged, respectively, to cut GHGs by 26% and 40% by 2020.  The World Resources Institute (WRI) blogged here its take on the Summit.

ENB logoFor those of us who didn’t have access to the Summit, there are two ways to get an insider’s look at what happened, unfiltered by the mainstream press (or blogs).  For those who prefer to read their information, check out this edition of the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s summary report of the meeting.  It covers the individual ministerial interventions in some detail, as well as the information presented at the various thematic sessions.  Embedded in it are a variety of photos, but IISD’s more glamorous photo gallery is here.  I rely on this reporting service’s impeccable minute taking and summarizing of the UNFCCC/KP meetings that they publish under the title Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB).  You can find the most recent ENB covering the June 2014 SB40 and ADP meetings here.

un tv imagesFor those who prefer watching their news rather than reading it, you can find the archived webcasted sessions here on UN TV. From Ban Ki-moon’s opening speech (and Leo’s contribution not long thereafter) to the plenary where country ministers outlined their pledges, from the thematic sessions meant to convey current information on climate change and health, jobs, agriculture, and the economy to the poem read by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner of the Marshall Islands, it’s all here for your viewing pleasure.

Next stop on your must see and must read international climate change negotiations tour? The webcasted meetings of the October 2014 special session of the ADP and the ENB that will result.  Don’t switch that dial . . .  er, I mean bookmark.