Negotiators start digging into the real issues, moving beyond ‘mechanical streamlining’
Carbon Tracker and African Progress Panel reports signal more nails in the coal industry’s coffin
- Campaigners kick-off a weekend of actions as world leaders gather in Southern Germany for G7
Negotiations began in Bonn on Friday… wait, isn’t it day five? After a steadfast focus on ‘mechanical streamlining’ for most of the week, substantive issues on the architecture of the Paris deal are starting to feature in meetings between negotiators. Finance, technology transfer, and the timeframes that could feed into cycles for reviewing and increasing action was on the agenda. Negotiators also started to discuss which parts of the text should form the agreement itself, and which parts might be agreed separately through accompanying processes.
Scaling-up climate action in the near-term also took center stage Friday. “We know the requirements. Climate scientists have made it absolutely clear – we need to have action now and not just in the post-2020 period,” said ActionAid’s Assad Rahman, speaking a press conference today. “The cost of inaction is being counted in real people, in human lives, in increasing climate impacts. And of course, ever-increasing costs of action.” Negotiators dug into ideas for what Paris could deliver to boost pre-2020 action. They heard from technical experts on energy efficiency in the urban environment. And a number of countries subjected their current pre-2020 climate action plans to interrogation by their peers.
While government officials scurried from room to room, the Carbon Tracker Initiative rolled out their latest report. The analysis adds an even brighter shine to the writing is on the wall: coal is in decline. Their research shows that the EU’s five-biggest utilities collectively lost €100 billion, or 37% of their stock market value, between 2008 and 2013. The analysis found that heavily coal-reliant utilities fared worst. Enel, performing best out of the five, generated the most renewable energy as a percentage of total generation, while Germany’s RWE, that performed worst, was more focused on coal generation.
The unstoppable rise of renewables is increasingly hard to ignore. While energy giants continue to panic-push misleading PR campaigns in an attempt sell coal as a solution to energy poverty, a new report by Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel shows how the continent can spearhead the clean energy transition. It calls on African governments and their international partners to raise the level of ambition for the crucial climate summit in Paris in December, and for reform of the current climate financing system. It also calls on G20 countries to set a timetable for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, with a ban on exploration and production subsidies by 2018.
Shifting from dirty to clean energy is making economic sense and has become a no-brainer, a fact reflected by the growing divestment movement that is claiming scalps faster than the industry can hook “new smokers” in the developing world. Just today the Norwegian parliament voted for its $900 billion sovereign wealth fund – the world’s largest – to dump billions of dollars in coal investments, following a unanimous parliamentary committee recommendation. The committee called for the fund to divest its holdings in companies that generate more than 30 per cent of their output or revenues from coal-related activities. The government suggested that this would lead to 50-75 companies being excluded while new analysis from NGO’s Urgewald, Greenpeace and Framtiden shows how it could blacklist 122 companies, with the combined value of the holdings to be sold at $8.7bn.
All of this feeds the backdrop to this weekend’s G7 heads of state meeting. Pressure is mounting on them to stop their investments in dirty infrastructure overseas and to decarbonise their economies, sending a strong signal that fossil fuels are on the way out.
News, links & useful grist that caught our eye
Thousands of people protested against coal expansion in the Philippines, coinciding with a WWF rally in Germany, calling for G7 leaders to be strong on climate and go 100% renewable. Avaaz enlisted the support of actor Mark Ruffalo to help push their petition for Angela Merkel and G7 leaders to ditch fossil fuels and go 100% clean. Oxfam launched a beautiful video and dispatched their own ‘Heads of State’ to focused remind leaders that coal = climate change = hunger.
The labor movement was out in force all week, as part of a global week of actions campaigningfor decent work and climate justice in Germany, Spain, Brazil, Bangladesh, Australia and beyond.
Alternatiba kicked off the weekend by embarking on their 5000 km bike ride that will travel through 187 different territories campaigning for climate action before reaching Paris in September. On avance!
A new petition out of the Philippines is seeking public support asking the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the big carbon polluters for human rights violations that have or will result from the impact of climate change.
As mobilizations for climate action continue through the weekend, be sure to check out this regularly-updated photo stream to get a feel for the energy and action.
Climate Trackers around the world are flooding the media with stories about some of the climate issues most important to them. From climate change refugees in India torenewable energy hope in the Bahamas, inspiring young people are making their voices heard in a global#call4climate action. Look out for more blogs and news stories by Trackers in Bonn here.
Find the Climate Action Network International’s Saturday edition of the ECO Newsletter here.
IISD’s reporting service has high-resolution pictures from day five inside the World Conference Center, and more to come throughout the next two weeks. They also have a detailed overview of Friday’s negotiations.
In addition to our Daily Tck (which is also available in Spanish), we’ll keep you abreast of developments in the wider world of climate activism and action at tcktcktck.org and publish related communications briefs at treealerts.org.