Reflections from COP21, Thursday 10th December

Dirk Hoffmann, Klimablog “Climate Change Bolivia”

Everyone at COP 21 knows about the terrible impact of climate change on Small Island States – but what about the populations of the world´s mountain ranges who are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised globally?

Mountains have not been very visible here at COP 21, but as it is International Mountain Day tomorrow (December 11th), a number of events will take place in an attempt to make mountain people and their struggle against the impacts of global change more visible.

Today´s side event ‘Adapting to climate change – success stories and challenges from across mountain ranges’ highlighted the impacts of climate change across the continents, with cases being presented from the Swiss Alps, Nepalese Himalayas, Peruvian Andes and Tajikistan Hindukush.

Meeta Pradhan from The Mountain Institute Nepal, presented the extra challenges that mountain dwellers are facing in the aftermath of the April 2015 earthquake, stressing the importance of improving preparedness and disaster risk reduction based on a livelihood and ecosystem based approach.

Mohammed El Moatamid from Morocco’s Agricultural Ministry and the host country of COP22 presented Morocco’s mountain development strategy, which offers hope that mountains might play a more prominent role within the climate negotiations in the future.

Mountains had already received special attention, when at the Peruvian Pavilion famous glaciologist Benjamín Morales announced the creation of an Andean Mountain Museums in the city of Huaraz in Peru.

On the sidelines of the negotiations it has also became known that the government of Switzerland is planning to propose an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Mountains; to broaden knowledge of climate change issues in mountains, put the science before key audiences and aim for a more substantial role of mountains within the context of the Climate Convention.

The event, co-organised by the government of Tajikistan, the Peruvian NGO Oikos and the Mountain Partnership coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was the start celebration of International Mountain Day  - for which the topic this year is the promotion of mountain products to improve livelihoods of mountain people.

Everyone is invited to join in on Friday 11th December at 13:15 in Observer Room 04. Happy Mountain Day everyone!

Pic: Dirk Hoffmann

 

Joanna Read, UK Youth Climate Coalition and YOUNGO

Today has been more unusual for me than most. I usually take part in several 'actions' coordinated by YOUNGO, the recognised youth constituency of civil society that interacts with the UNFCCC. Actions are the most visible way to get a message across and usually attract lots of media. However after yesterday's mass action, where approx. 300 people from across civil society took part in calling for climate justice immediately outside the plenary halls, as we had not been given any other access to the negotiations, I was a bit 'actioned out'.

So I spent this morning meeting with some other YOUNGO members to write the text for our intervention to be given at the final plenary session (hopefully!) tomorrow. We discussed whether to be sarcastic, or angry, or connect to the negotiators emotionally, and how best to communicate our frustrations at the injustice of the text.

I also wrote an open letter to my country's negotiators, in response to the most recent draft version of the text which was released yesterday afternoon – they had dropped some key points such as gender equality, rights of Indigenous Peoples and intergenerational equity (rights for future generations) from the operative, legally-binding section of the agreement. Although it came out later that dropping intergenerational equity was a copy and paste error! We asked them to push to keep global average temperature increase below 1.5°C, and to choose the more ambitious Long Term Goal option. So I posted this letter as a blog and handed it to one of the UK negotiators at their offices, where we post a daily to do list under their door along with a Postcard to Paris, which contain messages from UK youth.

So we're all on tenterhooks for the next version of the text, ready and waiting for rapid response.

 

REN21

Renewable energy and energy efficiency are central pillars for decarbonising the energy sector. Moreover they hold collectively the greatest potential for addressing the climate crisis in a sustainable, decentralised and cost-effective way.

Despite the world’s recent annual average of 1.5 per cent increase in energy consumption, and an average 3 per cent growth in GDP, CO2 emissions in 2014 were unchanged from 2013 levels. For the first time in four decades, the world economy grew without a parallel rise in CO2 emissions. This landmark ‘decoupling’ was due – in large part – to the increased use of renewable resources, and efforts to promote more sustainable growth through increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energy.  This decarbonising of the economy also illustrates the place of renewables and energy efficiency at the heart of the solution to mitigate climate change.

The numbers speak for themselves. By the end of 2014, renewables contributed 19.1 per cent to the global final energy consumption and supplied 22.8 per cent of the world’s electricity. Over the course of the year, renewables represented 59 per cent of net additions to global power capacity, clearly showing that a transition to renewables is well underway in the electricity sector.  Nevertheless, this transition must be accelerated across all energy sectors. In 2014, renewables contributed only 8 per cent to the heating and cooling sector.  And much more action is needed to decarbonise the transport sector.

It is evident that renewables are part of the solution agenda to reaching the 1.5°C objective. We have the technological solutions to address this challenge.  Morally we have no excuse not to commit to an energy transition that moves us towards 100 per cent renewable energy and energy efficiency, and thereby ensuring energy access for all.

Renewables are cost-completive; the renewables train has left the station.  An ambitious agreement coming out of the Paris talks would do much to help accelerate this transition.

Pic: REN21