Saturday, December 24, 2011

PM seeks support of Latin American for small developing states Read more:

PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has called on the Latin American States to give special attention to small developing states in fighting vulnerabilities such as socio-economic challenges.

Addressing the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC) in Caracas, Venezuela on the weekend, the prime minister said the socio-economic challenges that confront the small developing states include the impact of natural disasters and climate change; high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases; high levels of indebtedness and the categorization of some countries as upper middle income which affects access to concessional forms of loan financing and debt relief.

"The time has come to expand our horizons towards regional integration respecting the principles of solidarity, flexibility, pluralism, diversity and complementarity of actions, taking into account the importance of ensuring favourable treatment for the small vulnerable economies and island developing states. We must seek to do that now as a region... to foster our own solutions and to promote integrated regional development," the Jamaican prime minister said.

He said the CALC Summit was "another significant step to consolidate our own regional space and to construct the political, economic, social and cultural integration of Latin America and the Caribbean through the vehicle of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States".


Thursday, December 22, 2011

ECLAC Study Looks at Energy-Climate Change Interface for Central America Through 2100

December 2011: A recently-released sectoral study by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on energy and climate change in Central America looks at the probable impact of climate change on the evolution of its energy sector during two periods, the present through 2020, and 2021-2100.  The study concludes that the main cost of climate change on Central America's energy sector may be a decrease in hydropower production, the region's main indigenous energy source, due to the decline and increased variability of rainfall patterns.

The ECLAC study points out that assessing climate change impacts requires long time horizons, whereas most energy development scenarios for developing countries, including those of Central America, tend to look only 15 or 20 years into the future. This study looked at probable impacts based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios and built long-term energy development scenarios for Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama that include inputs from ECLAC's Economics of Climate Change in Central America (ECCCA) project, which calculated the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would result and evaluated several mitigation strategies.

The study estimates that over 2010-2100, regional average per-capita energy consumption will either double, triple or quintuple under the three economic scenarios used, with Belize, Costa Rica and Panama likely to have per capita consumption rates 2-3 times higher than those of the other four countries. The study suggests increased dependence on external energy supplies, particularly from 2040 onward. It predicts that consumption of traditional biomass for household use will fall drastically, while increasing urbanization will increase dependence on electricity and petroleum derivatives, principally in passenger and cargo land transport. While the study suggests substantial expansion of the region's 22,000 megawatts (MW) hydropower potential in the early decades of the 21st century, this trend likely will taper off in the second half of the century as a result of precipitation changes, particularly in the five nations in the northern portion of the isthmus.

The report makes several recommendations, including greater emphasis, strengthening and institutionalization of energy efficiency and renewable energy development programs, with periodic evaluations and adjustments, and greater focus on transport and climate change options, such as policies to decrease transport demand and favor transport modes that consume less energy and are less contaminating. [ECLAC abstract (Spanish)] [Publication: Estudio sectorial regional sobre energía y cambio climático en Centroamérica (Spanish)] More

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Climate Change Diplomacy and Small Island Developing States Climate Change Diplomacy and Small Island Developing States News Articles (3) Publications (69)

While multilateral environmental agreements like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognize the enormous global challenges posed by climatic changes, these agreements often fall short on pragmatic financial and other mechanisms to assist the most vulnerable countries in addressing these challenges.

Contemporary climate change diplomacy mirrors this phenomenon, as science and global politics interact and converge to confront the vulnerabilities of small island developing States (SIDS) where sustainable livelihoods are threatened by climate change-induced food, water, health and other insecurities.

Science (climate scientists) and politics (diplomats and Foreign Ministry officials) may not always speak the same language, but climate change diplomacy (inter-governmental negotiations on climate change issues) inevitably brings them together into a “marriage of convenience”. In order to address the special needs of vulnerable countries like SIDS, there is consensus between science and politics that the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” offers the best paradigm and institutional framework to understand and confront the asymmetries in the international system. 

Paradoxically, within this consensus lies deep-rooted disagreements as to the best ways to finance mitigation and adaptation programs in SIDS — including, among other issues, how to diffuse the emerging climate-friendly technologies as widely and as fairly as possible. To effectively address these issues, the peculiar developmental and technological challenges facing SIDS must be assessed in the context of the gaps, failures and limitations of present and past global environmental funding facilities such as the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. More

Sunday, December 4, 2011

AOSIS Rejects Delay Until 2020 – Demands Urgency for climate agreement

Durban, South Africa – The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) says it will not accept outcomes at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP17 that propose to delay any new binding agreement or more ambitious emissions reductions until 2020, as these cannot safeguard the livelihoods and guarantee the survival of our nations.

On the eve of the opening of the Durban Climate Conference, Ambassador Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations and Chair of AOSIS cautioned that
if Durban puts off a legally binding agreement and closes the door on raising mitigation ambition before 2020 many of our small island states will be severely threatened.

AOSIS is calling on the Durban conference to deliver agreement on a second five-year commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, a process to rapidly ramp up mitigation ambition, and a mandate to quickly conclude a new parallel legal agreement in 2012 to cover those not bound by the Kyoto Protocol,” she said.

“ After a year of record emissions growth and the hottest temperatures on record, the push by the world’s biggest carbon polluters to delay flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence in support of immediate action and represents a betrayal of the people most vulnerable to climate change and the world.

“To fulfill our moral and ethical obligation to protect our people, AOSIS will here in Durban reject any outcome that cannot ultimately safeguard our livelihoods and guarantee the survival of our nations. Why would we ever agree to a deal that has as its ultimate and inevitable consequence our own demise? If Durban puts off a legally binding agreement and closes the door on raising mitigation ambition before 2020 many of our small island states will be literally and figuratively doomed. More

Climate deal pushed by poorest nations

The world’s poorest countries have asked that talks on a new climate deal covering all nations begin immediately.

At the UN climate summit, the Least Developed Countries bloc and small island states tabled papers saying the deal should be finalised within a year. Many of them are vulnerable to climate impacts such as drought or inundation.

The move puts the blocs on a collision course not only with many rich nations, but also with developing world partners such as China, India and Brazil. These three developing world giants believe talks on a new mandate should not begin now because developed nations have yet to fulfil existing commitments.

But their smaller peers believe there is no time to lose.

“We put forward our mandate for a new legal agreement today to get things moving quickly in an effort to respond to the urgency of our challenge,” said Selwin Hart, lead negotiator for Barbados, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis). More

Thursday, December 1, 2011

UNFCCC Publishes Technical Paper on Water and Climate Change

UNFCCC Publishes Technical Paper on Water and Climate Change

UNFCCC22 November 2011: The UNFCCC Secretariat has published a technical paper (FCCC/TP/2011/5) on water and climate change impacts and adaptation strategies. The 34th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA 34) requested that the Secretariat prepare a technical paper on water and climate change impacts and adaptation strategies under the Nairobi work programme (NWP) before SBSTA 35.

This technical paper attempts to synthesize previous work on freshwater resources and climate change impacts and adaptation strategies and to identify ways forward. The paper aims to raise the level of understanding among parties with regard to the links between climate change and freshwater resources, in a manner that would ultimately support informed decisions on practical adaptation action and measures on water resources. It especially explores links between climate change and hydrology, including impacts of climate change on: ecosystems and biodiversity, agriculture and food security, urbanization, land use and forestry, water supply and sanitation, health, infrastructure, and energy security which, in addition to climate, are strongly influenced by human interventions and actions. The paper also discusses the challenge of identifying and implementing appropriate adaptation responses by considering new approaches to adaptation planning and decision making.

The paper draws several conclusions including: findings from global assessments of climate and hydrological change are not directly usable by decision makers at regional, national and subnational levels; and new guidance on developing appropriate climate scenarios is needed. This might include efforts to develop scenarios downscaled to the level of managing water resources, but might also focus on methods to develop narrative climate scenarios based on perceptions of key climate vulnerabilities; and as climate change adaptation is a complex multi-faceted challenge, better analytical tools are needed to integrate the various dimensions of the problem. [Publication: Water and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies]