DUMPED: Japan’s fling with climate finally ends, three years after giving up custody of lovechild Kyoto

by Anjali Appadurai

betrayal

It was a move that had been expected with dread: on Friday morning Tokyo time, the Japanese government announced its new greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020. The numbers are grim. Japan will cut emissions by 3.8 per cent from its 2005 level by 2020; this translates to an increase of 3.1 per cent from its 1990 levels. The government had been reviewing its international emissions pledges in light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Read more…

Bad Boy Scout: The Importance of Process and Good-Faith Negotiations

by Anjali Appadurai

Sometimes I get frustrated with all the "procedural crap" that seems to govern any group process. [Earth] has found it onerous to sit in YOUNGO meetings where process seems to be treated not as a means to an end, but rather as the end itself. Endless hand signals, protocols, rules, processes, tokenization of cultural and gender representation, and over-sensitivity can seriously undermine the creativity and cohesiveness of a group.

There comes a moment, however, when we have to realize the importance of process to the outcome of the multilateral process. When convening hundreds of negotiators representing almost 200 countries with differing interests, process becomes the vehicle of progress. Process is the rules of the game: it's only fun if no one cheats. To this end, participating positively in the agreed-upon process is of utmost importance, and the failure to do so is considered "bad faith negotiations". Bad faith negotiating tactics are akin to bad form in sports or cheating on a test — they benefit only one party while undermining the entire game.

So it's especially infuriating when at this conference as we fight endlessly for climate justice, we see violations of the process and bad faith negotiating that take our fight several steps backwards. It can be noted that almost every notable instance of bad-faith negotiations at this COP was on the part of some developed country. Here I will outline three such incidences, all of which took place in just the last three days:

Read more…

Once Upon a Time in the West [South]

by Anjali Appadurai

All was quiet on the desert front. Party delegates prepared quietly for the meeting of the Long-Term Cooperative Action (LCA) working group, for which they had been presented with a recent text drafted by the Chair. In the calm before the storm, many of us wondered if the G77+China, a group of the majority of the world's developing countries, would be able to hold a united stance in this meeting. Then, as the Chair opened the floor, the G77 swooped, guns a' blazing, upon the Chair, and ripped his text to shreds! What a show! Yesterday's meeting kicked off with a bang, showing how truly deep the rift between developed and developing countries is at these climate talks. The Chair's negotiating text was blank under several important headings, and was roundly criticized and eventually rejected by developing countries.

A negotiating text is meant to be a fair, proportional compilation of various "Party Submissions", or proposals. The Parties submit their bits, the Chair puts them together, and the resulting document is used as the basis of negotiation from there on. Yesterday's text was imbalanced, only contained select Party Submissions reflecting only the interests of developed countries, and was absolutely empty under the topics of greatest importance to the developing countries. The topics of finance, adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and "shared vision" — all of paramount importance to developing countries' ability to deal with climate change — were literally headings with blank pages underneath.  What the text was full of, however, was markets. The entire framing of the text, and of the negotiations so far, has been about markets. They have been lobbied for hard by developed countries, and even used as a bargaining chip in the terrible equity game. 

Read more…

Big Picture Overview: State of Play

By Anjali Appadurai and Nathan Thanki

This is our analysis — informed by various actual experts — of what is currently happening in these negotiations from a birds-eye view. Look at it as a stock-taking of sorts. (Please comment if we use too much jargon.)

Overview

We are headed towards a 6-degree warming world. We all know the impacts of this. What needs to happen is very serious emissions reductions, very quickly: global emissions must peak by 2015.
Doha is a [late] culmination of the Bali Action Plan that started in 2007 to complement the Kyoto Protocol. The BAP is meant to cover the emissions of all non-Kyoto countries (essentially the USA). We are supposed to wrap up the BAP work in the Long-Term Cooperative Action (LCA) track of negotiations. This work entails enhanced action on adaptation, mitigation and the means of implementation (finance, technology transfer, capacity building). But instead what we are seeing is an unceremonious closing of the LCA without carrying over the key points from the BAP to the new track of work (the Durban Platform) that was established last year. The LCA cannot close without having clarity on its work on finance, comparability of efforts, an aggregate global reduction target or a shared vision of how to accomplish this. There is no point of having had the LCA if the work done up to now is lost.

Read more…

Human Rights and Equity: COP Intervention for CJN

by Anjali Appadurai

This tiny intervention (only 30 seconds permitted – an outrage in itself) was delivered by Anjali in the opening plenary of the COP. Nathan and Anjali collaborated on their interventions so as to have consistent, strong messaging between the two. This statement was delivered on behalf of Climate Justice Now!, a network of justice-focused organisations and movements across the globe. The message is essentially that of (a) urgency, (b) shame for failure, and (c) a call to ambitious action.

Read more…