Bonn Climate Negotiations
The recent UN climate talks in in Bonn have at least moved on from the fiasco at Copenhagen. However, the draft text that emerged at the end of the talks is still seriously flawed. Developing nations in the Group of 77 and China described it as ‘unbalanced’. The text calls for global emission reductions of 50-85% by 2050 (without expressing a base year), and emission reductions by developed countries of 25-40% by 2020 and 80-95% by 2050 from 1990 levels. The text is largely based on the Copenhagen Accord, with its focus on voluntary pledges. It does not refer to any requirement for developed countries to list their emissions pledges within a legally binding compliance mechanism like the Kyoto Protocol. So far, individual pledges from rich countries pledges to cut emissions have been nowhere near enough to avoid catastrophic climate change. It delays the peaking year for global emissions (i.e. from 2015 to 2020), while requiring developing countries to peak their emissions in 2020. This would force them to move rapidly away from fossil fuels in just a few years. References to equity and burden sharing have been removed from the section on the shared vision for future climate action. Meanwhile, the text is still too ambitious for the the US, which said some elements were ‘unacceptable’. The US has so far only pledged to cut its emissions 17% by 2020 on 2005 emission levels. A poll of delegates’ expectations, conducted by the WWF, found that most expected no agreement to be reached before December 2011 in South Africa at the earliest.
Read more at and
A study finds that 98% of climate scientists that publish research on the subject support the view that human activities are warming the planet.
A group of climate scientists and campaigners have written to the energy and climate change secretary calling on him to stand by Liberal Democrat manifesto pledges to push for an ambitious international climate treaty based on the contraction and convergence.
A new report finds the world could produce 95 per cent of the electricity it needs from renewable sources by 2050.
The OECD has urged governments to end fossil fuels subsidies, arguing this could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent.
EU Mulls 12 Years More State Aid For Coal: Draft
The European Union is considering 12 more years of state aid for coal, a draft European Commission document showed, even as the Group of 20 prepared to discuss phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. The current EU subsidy regime expires this year, and European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has said he intends to put forth a new plan in about two weeks. A draft seen by Reuters reveals a gradual phase-out of state aid for coal mining between the start of 2011 and the end of 2022 and cites concerns about employment.
Fossil fuel subsidies are a sticky problem
The world’s addiction to oil and other fossil fuels is enabled by the subsidies many governments provide to make them so cheap. Some details have already started to leak out, and the scale of subsidization worldwide is massive. The IEA came out with its own announcement that public spending on consumption subsidies – payments made to make coal, oil and gas more affordable to consumers – was $556-billion (U.S.) in 2008, a $215-billion increase from 2007.  The IEA estimates that phasing out the subsidies in the next 10 years could cut global energy demand by 6 per cent, and reduce carbon emissions equal to 30 per cent of the reduction needed to keep global temperatures from rising by 2 degrees.
Climate change poses economic threat
By Wangari Maathai  – The current upheaval caused by the economic recession pales in comparison to the potential impacts of climate change, which, if unabated, threatens to bring more disasters, famine, disease, resource scarcity, human displacement and migrations and economic instability than ever before. Too often such conflicts are labelled as inter-ethnic or religious, ignoring the fact that climate change, environmental degradation and the pursuit of fossil fuels is the root cause of so much conflict in the world today. Droughts in Kenya, wildfires in California and melting glaciers in our mountains are further indications that we are on the tipping point of a catastrophe scientists have long been predicting. No country or community is immune from climate change, but the greatest tragedy is that those who are most affected and who are least able to adapt and mitigate against climate change, are least responsible. While leaders of the world’s richest countries bear the greatest responsibility for rising global temperatures, it is those already living on the edge of poverty who will feel the impacts most acutely.
Read more at–climate-change-poses-economic-threat.
We really can live without tar sands, but don’t tell the oil patch
The scariest thing for the oil industry right now is not the front page pictures of dying, oil-covered birds in the Gulf of Mexico, or pictures of dead, oil covered ducks in the Alberta tar sands. The most frightening spectre for them is a surging renewable energy industry united with environmentalists to destroy the myth of oil’s necessity. Yet that is precisely what happened last week, when Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council released their ‘Energy [R]evolution’ blueprint for cutting carbon emissions while achieving economic growth. The simple solution is to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy and energy efficiency. The study was developed in conjunction with specialists from the German Aerospace Centre and more than 30 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry around the world. It demonstrated that in a world taking serious action on climate change, there is no need for unconventional oil from the tar sands.