Saturday, December 12, 2015

Emma's Climate Change Round-up

Big thanks to Emma Lewis for sharing these reports -  we are in a climate change emergency!

23 IPCC and Leading Scientists Call for Greater Ambition and 1.5 Degree Pathway

A group of 23 leading scientists has called for greater reductions to avoid crossing dangerous thresholds in "cryosphere" – snow and ice – regions, stressing the need for a 1.5 degree pathway to constrain risk.  The statement is based on the findings of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Fifth Assessment, but takes into account important research published since that sharpens concerns about dynamics that might be triggered within the next few decades, especially in West Antarctica.  This includes the risk of 4-5 meters committed or "irreversible" sea-level rise that would unfold over many centuries, but could be impossible to halt once begun.

The scientists, 13 of them IPCC authors, others senior and cutting-edge researchers, note, "... This can set into motion very long-term changes that cannot be stopped or reversed, even if temperatures later decrease. Some changes, such as committed sea-level rise from the great polar ice sheets, cannot be reversed short of a new Ice Age."

These potentially irreversible risks include mountain glaciers, 80% of which can be expected to disappear at current pledges or INDCs; sea-level rise from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica; permafrost thaw and related carbon release, which may eat one-third to one-half of current carbon budgets at existing INDCs; Arctic summer sea ice loss; and serious polar ocean acidification, which is occurring even faster in these waters than in oceans at lower latitudes.

As a result of these risk-filled dynamics, as negotiations move into their final stages the scientists urge a focus on actions that will lead to temperatures preferably under 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial, for the best chance of limiting these risks.  To read the statement, see:

Pam Pearson
Director, International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI)
tel +46-70-5752257
fax +46-44-330357
North America:
tel +1-802-488-0991
fax +1-802-425-2357

Scaling Up Small Island Developing States' and
Least Developed Countries' Financial Capacity and Sustainability
Presented by: Governments of Palau, Tuvalu, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and Taiwan

Lamenting the practice of having to merge projects in order to access climate financing, Taukelina Finikaso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Palau, underscored that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are most vulnerable to climate change but do not have the capacity to access climate financing. He said implementing agencies "have their own agenda," and this means, in terms of funding, that very little is left to "trickle down to adaptation projects."

Stressing the need to invest in scientific research on climate change in order to better adapt, Kuo-Yen Wei, Minister of Environmental Protection Administration, Taiwan, noted climate change threats including sea-level rise, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss and an increase in the heat content of marine waters. He suggested that some climate finance be channeled into climate science and modelling, and announced a seed fund to help SIDS write proposals for climate finance.

Underlining the need for climate finance "now," Koebel Sakuma, Palau, stressed that what SIDS want is not additional funds but access to "a fair share" of what is available. He noted that for partnerships to be effective, transparency is required on both sides. He also underscored the need for the Paris agreement to contain a 1.5°C target, noting that anything higher would jeopardize the existence of low-lying countries.

Calling for immediate, direct access to climate financing, Charmaine Scotty, Minister of Education, Nauru, stressed the importance of building the capacity of SIDS and developing countries to "understand the system" in order to benefit from it. Expressing hope that the Paris agreement will be "beneficial to all," she suggested COP 21 adopt the slogan "do no harm to others and leave no one behind."

Melchior Mataki, Permanent Secretary for Environment, Solomon Islands, emphasized the need to clearly define climate finance, noting that in some countries, official development assistance (ODA) is being equated with climate finance. He noted that climate finance funds are new funds, and additional to ODA. He called attention to the bureaucracy of accessing climate finance, stressing the immediate need for financing as "the waves won't wait for finance." He supported calls for investing in region-specific climate science, noting that some of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports contain information that is not relevant for practitioners on the ground.

In the discussion, some participants noted, inter alia: the need for technical capacity in SIDS to access climate finance; the need for fast track direct access funding in order to get accreditation for national implementing status; and the Commonwealth climate finance skills hub, which builds capacity of those seeking to access climate finance.

Hank Liu

Plus a few articles...

Explained in 90 Seconds: Why 1.5 Degrees Matters

The Paris climate change agreement is going to be highly aspirational, that's what we need

Developing countries at Paris climate talks should stop fighting old battles, says OECD head

Caribbean continues negotiations for new climate change deal

Climate migrants could dwarf other refugee flows - experts

Scientists discuss the 1.5 limit to global temperature rise

CARICOM Ministers sign project with Italy to combat climate change

Loss and Damage Controversy Smoulders at climate talks - small islands push for compensation

Sargassum and Climate Change in the Caribbean

Opinion: Direct Access to International Climate Finance - a View from Latin America and the Caribbean


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