“You have never seen a coalition like this before”

by Lara Shirley and J. Taggart Wass

Today, in an unprecedented show of solidarity between all elements of civil society, there was a massive walkout of COP19.  The action involved 800 members of civil society protesting the complete lack of progress in this year’s conference. The move was a culmination of many different frustrations: the corporate takeover of the UNFCCC space, the continued disregard for a fair climate deal by members of the developed world (most notably the U.S., Canada, Japan and Australia), and the overall frustration that it has now been 20 years since negotiations began and still there is no deal.  A binding theme throughout was the frustration across civil society at our participation being marginalized by the Secretariat.  These issues combined and brought unity to organizations across a whole spectrum of social movements; environmental, labor, women, development, youth and climate justice. Continue reading ““You have never seen a coalition like this before””

Day 9 Policy Updates: let’s talk about text, baby

by Lara Shirley

We are entering the point in the COP where negotiation spaces are mostly closed to us, and draft decision text is being generated from the various areas of work. To see the documents published so far, go here.

Things to look out for: there are some areas that haven’t been concluded yet and are still undergoing negotiations. These are – ADP, finance, loss and damage, REDD+ institutions and finance, and the budget for biennium 2014-2015. Markets, technology and agriculture have been postponed to June when the subsidiary bodies meet, the ‘Brazilian proposal’ is not going to be discussed, and mitigation pledges have already been stated.

What the HECK is up with REDD+?!?!: A Summary Of My Struggles Up Until Now

by Lara Shirley

This is part of a REDD+ trilogy featured here on [earth]: Lara is angry and confused, Lara is just angry, and Lara gets technical. Stay tuned for the next installment!

REDD+ is complex, illogical and confusing. I kind of dislike it a lot. After having spent what feels like far too much time on it – although compared to many here, it’s barely a millisecond – I thought I would spare you all from trudging through all the mundane sludge that I had to. Here’s a non-comprehensive list of annoying things that took me a long time to figure out.

1. What is REDD+?

In its most basic form, REDD+ means developed countries paying developing countries to not cut down, or re-grow, their forests  This counts towards the developed country’s carbon offsets. It is based off the assumption that without REDD+, these forests would have been cut down, accelerating climate change. (Deforestation is responsible for up to 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.) Continue reading “What the HECK is up with REDD+?!?!: A Summary Of My Struggles Up Until Now”

Day 3 Policy Updates: Contact Groups

by Lara Shirley

There has been a general breakdown of bigger negotiations into smaller contact groups, which are often closed.


In Finance, all agenda items were discussed. However, long term finance proved to be the most contentious. Philippines on behalf of the G77 stressed the importance of clarity in the pledged 100 billion per year by 2020 and urged scaling up of finance from the Fast Start Finance period that ended in 2012. The Republic of Korea proposed a workshop to hash out the political issues involved with determining what is to be done for finance between now and 2020. There was general consensus among G77 negotiators around the importance of long term finance. In the contact group, the USA officially stated that it is not willing to commit any new finance in Warsaw. This was met with much opposition by G77. Continue reading “Day 3 Policy Updates: Contact Groups”

Day 2 Policy Updates: Welcome to COP

by Bogdan Zymka and Lara Shirley

Since these were the first two days of COP19, not much exciting has happened: only a couple contentious discussions in various forums.

In the COP (Conference of the Parties), the G77+China strongly emphasized the need for a finance roadmap and strong mitigation targets calling it “an implementation COP”. Definite finance targets are on track to become a key issue in striking a deal at COP19. The European Union called for progress on a loss and damage mechanism. Continue reading “Day 2 Policy Updates: Welcome to COP”