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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

After all the flooding rains we still face elevated bushfire risk for Summer 2022


You might think after the deluge of rain and flood events his year that fire risk would be low this summer.

You would be wrong.

All the rains and floods have contributed to vegetation growth adding to fuel load. When this fuel dries out with summer heat, it makes it susceptible to wildfire.

We are more likely to see grassfires this season than forest fires. But they can be equally deadly.

Australia and Negotiations for a Global Plastics Treaty and reduce plastic pollution in the marine environment

Photo by IISD/ENB

The final resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly 21 February – 4 March 2022 was to develop a Global Plastics Treaty and to set up an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

That Negotiating Committee has now convened 28 November - 2 December 2022 at Punta del Este, Uruguay. Negotiations on the Treaty is expected to take until 2024. Australia is attending and have made a submission regarding processes and a statement to the Opening Plenary

  • UNEP Environment Assembly Resolution on Global Plastics Treaty
  • Plastics Treaty Needs to Consider Chemicals
  • Scientists say Global plastic treaty should address chemicals
  • Australia joins global efforts to end plastic pollution 16 November
  • Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meeting 28 November - 2 December 2022
  • Opening Plenary – Statement by Australia


Monday, November 21, 2022

Guest Post: COP27: one big breakthrough but ultimately an inadequate response to the climate crisis

Photo by IISD/ENB


Matt McDonald, The University of Queensland

For 30 years, developing nations have fought to establish an international fund to pay for the “loss and damage” they suffer as a result of climate change. As the COP27 climate summit in Egypt wrapped up over the weekend, they finally succeeded.

While it’s a historic moment, the agreement of loss and damage financing left many details yet to be sorted out. What’s more, many critics have lamented the overall outcome of COP27, saying it falls well short of a sufficient response to the climate crisis. As Alok Sharma, president of COP26 in Glasgow, noted:

Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately it remains on life support.

But annual conferences aren’t the only way to pursue meaningful action on climate change. Mobilisation from activists, market forces and other sources of momentum mean hope isn’t lost.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Australia at COP27 Diary

UN climate conference, the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) is ocurring in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt from Monday November 6 to Friday November 18, 2022 (but may also go overtime into the weekend). 

This is my digital diary of Australia at COP27. I have attended four previous COPs, but I will be following whats going on at COP27 online. Follow with me. I'll be updating this blog post regularly over October-November 2022.

UNFCCC COP27 main website. Civil Society have organised the COP27 Coalition. See the La Ruta del Clima guide to COP27 (English and Spanish). The Australian Pavillion website.

Key Blogs (for tracking issues):. 

20 November - Long past bedtime as La Nina set to intensify cyclone season and flooding

Final hours of negotiations and post assessment: 

  • End game for COP27 - blogging the final hours Closing Plenary scheduled for 12:30-15:30 AEDT
  • The UN Climate conference COP27 may have closed but La Niña is set to intensify Australia’s cyclone season, raising risk of flooding (The Guardian)
  • What are the key outcomes of Cop27 climate summit? (The Guardian)
  • Guest: COP27: one big breakthrough but ultimately an inadequate response to the climate crisis (Blog)
  • The 1.5C climate goal died at Cop27 – but hope must not by Damian Carrington, Environment editor at The Guardian
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19 November - Overtime, out of time

Prime minister Anthony Albanese says taking climate seriously is key to international diplomacy, is key to Australia’s push to co-host a UN climate conference with the Pacific islands. "Taking climate change seriously is the entry fee to get a seat at the table of international diplomacy and to be taken seriously by those who care about the global economy as well." (The Guardian)

U.S. silent on surprise aid plan (for Loss and Damnage finance) as climate talks stagger (Climatewire) Previous article reported U.S. isolated on loss and damage (Climatewire)

Reuters publishes Analysis-Australia's Climate Policies Don't Match Its Big Talk at COP27 highlighting Australia's addiction to fossil fuel exports and lack of policy to change this so far. (Reuters)

Australian position on Loss and Damage Finance: Australia said it welcomed the EU’s contribution and would “engage constructively with it”. On loss and damage, it was “very attracted to a new fund that benefits from a broad contributor base and focuses on the most vulnerable”. “We want to fully examine how other institutions such as multinational development banks can interact and further develop their interaction with this fund,” said Chris Bowen, the Australian climate change minister. reports the Guardian.

End game for COP27: Will there be backsliding on Fossil fuels or 1.5C target? Will a Loss and Damage finance Facility be established? (Blog)

Highlights and images from Earth Negotians Bulletin highlights Saturday 19 November a real negotiations rollercoaster ride (ENB/IISD)

High Ambition Coalition lists its demands for a successful COP:

 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

End game for COP27: Will there be backsliding on Fossil fuels or 1.5C target? Will a Loss and Damage finance Facility be established?

COP Presidency Friday 11pm press briefing
The UN climate change conference is approaching its end game.

Will there be backsliding on Fossil fuels or 1.5C target? 

Will a Loss and Damage finance Facility be established?

The negotiations are past Friday closing, well into overtime working through the night.

UNFCCC draft documents can be found here:  https://unfccc.int/document


USA wins Colossal Fossil award at COP27 for block and delay on Loss and Damage Finance, Dishonourable mentions to Russia and Bolsanaro's Brazil

The USA wins the Colossal Fossil COP27 award for continuing to block and delay the creation of a Loss and Damage Fund in the negotiations. This needs to be called out loudly. Vulnerable countries are already experiencing high levels of climate disasters that affect economic recovery. This problem is only growing. A Loss and Damage fund is greatly needed to cope with escalating damages from heatwaves and drought, torrential rain and flood events, cyclones, and the long slow impact of sea level rise.

Dishonourable mentions to Russia for using COP27 for fossil fuel and nuclear lobbying, and to Bolsanaro's Brazil and the damage done with escalating emissions and levels of deforestation of the Amazon.  

Friday, November 18, 2022

Fossil Awards to Egypt for a weak cover text and Israel for greenwashing

The Fossil awards on Solutions Day go to not one, but two countries.

Both Egypt and Israel were nominated for being the worst today. Egypt for its extremely weak first drafts of the Cover text: the decision of the COP. While Fossil of the Day Ceremony was ocurring, COP27 Presidency and UN Secretary General were reading the 'riot Act' to negotiators with so many areas left unresolved. BUT Egypt is responsible for pulling together the COP cover text and the current version is very weak. See Early Draft Cop27 cover decision fails to call for ‘phase-down’ of all fossil fuels (The Guardian)

Israel has it's first pavillion at COP, and while addressing water scarcity and adaptive agriculture is important, the elephant in the room is the human rights abuses to the Palestinian people. Greenwashing by Israel at their pavillion needs to be called out. Their is no climate justice without human rights.

Read the full press release here:

Stakeout: António Guterres, UN Secretary-General and Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President demand negotiators step up

Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres targeted comments at negotiators, although they did not identify the blockers in negotiations. 

According to Sameh Shoukry, the items of contention are "The Mitigation Work Program (MWP) is yet to reach the desired outcome, Adaptation is still held back by procedural matters, ambitious outcomes on finance have not yet materialised. And on Loss and Damage Parties are shying away from taking the difficult political decisions."

Add to this the cover decision of COP has yet to include any ambition, such as the request by India to change the phasedown of coal statement from COP26 to being a Phaseout of all Fossil Fuels.

Watch them both trying to shame the negotiators in stepping up, compromise to deliver climate ambition especially on Loss and Damage Finance at this COP.

See also Side-event at the bottom of this post: Practical Action, NYU, Germanwatch, UCS: To many the climate negotiations appear to be stuck, how do we unlock progress on Loss and Damage?

Thursday, November 17, 2022

From Russia with Love (and Smoke) Fossil of the day Award at COP27

In a year where Russia launched a full scale war on Ukraine, violating human rights, supporting oil, gas, and nuclear, and manipulatin forests’ absorbing capacity, let alone the destruction of life, natural resources and infrastructure, how could Russia not be called out at COP27 at failing to implement climate action? 

In fact going the other way.


The press release....

Russia is making all the wrong choices. Throughout this year…..and at the COP. 

The Russian delegation used their only public appearance here lobbying for nuclear power and claiming that they produce the safest, cleanest nuclear power plants with zero emissions in energy production. Of course, ignoring the fact that production is not the only thing we are worried about. All those claims on safety and security were made while the Russian Army still occupies the Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant in Ukraine putting millions of people in grave danger.

Russia is being so criminally self-centered that they decided that energy transition and focus on mitigation is a scam against them and even tried to deny the anthropogenic nature of the climate crisis. Talk about a fossil alert! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

G20 in Bali provides impetus for negotiations at COP27: $20 billion to phase out Indonesian coal, Europe-Australia bilateral affirms Paris goals

G20 Leaders Plant Mangroves In Bali Photo via PM Albanese via twitter

So what did the G20 meeting say on climate and how will it affect the UN Climate Change conference COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt?

"Mindful of our leadership role, we reaffirm our steadfast commitments, in pursuit of the objective of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to tackle climate change by strengthening the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its temperature goal," a declaration issued at the end of the meeting said.

The declaration maintains the 1.5C temperature goal. 

There was also an important bilateral meeting between Biden and Xi that cleared blockages for climate co-operation. 

And a $20 billion financing package for Indonesia to phase out coal and increase renewables as part of it's energy transition and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia -Europe joint statement which in point 9 affirmed "deeply committed to full implementation of the Paris Agreement, noting the urgency to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees through rapid, deep and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in this decade and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and will spare no effort to bring about ambitious action by all members of the international community."