A Message Home to the US: What Actually Happened at COP21

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by Morgan Heckerd

Over the past two weeks 196 governments have spent hours within consultation rooms and plenary halls in efforts of reaching an agreement. They are here in Paris because they know that the era of emissions need to come to an end. The urgency of climate change is no longer a concept that they can deny.

But– the developed countries have fallen short in adopting the demands of urgency. The Parties have demonstrated that they have heard the affirmations of science, equity and justice. The major issue is that these parties have failed to commit to ambitious contributions. They are willing to increase the global ambition (and call for 1.5º), but from that they have not declared that they will increase their own share to make up this gap. They may be prepared to follow a movement but they are certainly not prepared to lead it. The leadership will come from the millions of people around the world who know how drastic the reform must be.

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From Petro-States to People-Power: Reflections on PowerShift Atlantic

By Nimisha Bastedo and Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler

Canada is a Petro-State – a prime example of a government that bows down to the oil industry while it turns its back on the land’s integrity and people’s basic rights. I’d been trying to keep tabs on my country’s dirty ways from across the border, but hearing it straight from those working on the front lines made it even more of a reality. Read more…

A Letter to Powershift Atlantic

Hello Powershift Atlantic! We’re so excited to be making the eight hour drive from Maine next week. It will be our pleasure and privilege to meet all you amazing people, from young activists driving the College Divestment campaign, to Mi’kmaq warriors bravely resisting fracking in the face of state violence, and everyone in between. We want you to know you have our support and utmost respect.

We also wanted to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves: we’re members of Earth in Brackets, a student organisation at College of the Atlantic. As ours is a four year interdisciplinary degree, in rural Maine, and many of us are international students, we tend to focus our activism more on global processes than on local community issues. Read more…

US submits views on future climate agreement

by nathan thanki

Since the Durban round of UN climate talks in 2011, governments have been struggling towards an eventual global agreement to address climate change (ideally, some say they’re just negotiating the establishment of more markets). The negotiation process, named the “ADP” (the D stands for Durban) is mandated to conclude in Paris in December 2015 with some kind of outcome. The exact language is a feat of amazing creative ambiguity: the ADP is meant to conclude with “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties.”

Todd Stern of the USA

So far the negotiations have not gone well, with fundamental ideological differences being masked over by procedural fights. The most recent meeting in Warsaw didn’t result in any great progress, mostly making vague references to prior vague commitments. The Warsaw outcome mentions for the first time “nationally determined contributions” to reducing GHG emissions, reflecting a step away from a global budget approach (whereby we say that the supposedly “safe” temperature increase of 2 degrees could only be achieved if we emit X amount of carbon, and the game is to then decide who can emit what share) to a “pledge and review” approach (Whereby countries “pledge” to do what is “nationally appropriate” given their circumstances).

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The pre-COP: a chance we must take

by Maria Escalante & Adrian Fernandez Jauregui

Coming to the Conference of the Parties this year at Warsaw, Poland (COP19) confirmed us that climate change negotiations, under the UNFCCC, are not advancing in even reducing the only incremental climate change impacts, much less considerably mitigating global carbon emissions, transferring resources for adaptation, or fairly compensating developing and least developed countries (LDCs) for their losses and damages. The small steps celebrated by the strong block of G77, representing the views of the Global South, like the establishment of The Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage under the mitigation track, or the fact that discussions around market based approaches and agriculture were postponed to be later discussed in a few months, are very few small celebrations. Read more…