Wednesday, February 22, 2012

OECS Investigates Funding for Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Energy


16 February 2012: An Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) workshop examined climate financing opportunities for Caribbean small island developing States (SIDS) to enable them to respond to the challenges of climate change and variability. The workshop was organized in collaboration with, and with the financial support of, the World Bank Institute (WBI).

The workshop, which took place from 15-16 February 2012, in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, explored the range of climate finance instruments available for adaptation and sustainable energy, including case studies on their use, and sought to identify knowledge gaps and areas in which further capacity building efforts in OECS countries will be required. Participants discussed how to integrate carbon revenues in project financing, and strategies for mobilizing financial and investment flows to address climate change.

Workshop participants also discussed the current state of the global climate negotiations and the SIDS position therein, as well as adaptation challenges of particular concern to OECS countries, namely watershed management and sustainable land management. Member States of OECS include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. [IISD RS Sources] More


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

AOSIS Chair Identifies Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation as Main Challenges

12 February 2012: In a welcome statement marking her start as Chair of the Bureau of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Ambassador Marlene Moses of Nauru identified the Alliance’s main challenge over the next few years as working with the international community to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation. Moses, Nauru’s Permanent Representative to the UN, became the AOSIS Chair in January 2012, succeeding Ambassador Dessima Williams of Grenada. 
Highlighting the current and forecasted impacts of climate change on island communities, Moses noted that the international community’s response to climate change has been less than what is required, both to protect island people and all of the world’s inhabitants. She said AOSIS, therefore, is investigating ways to increase the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions ambition and to partner with committed countries to find the additional reductions that science shows is needed.
With regard to climate change mitigation, the challenge is to work with the international community to stabilize GHG emissions at a level that ensures the survival of all nations. With regard to adaptation, it is to provide the resources vulnerable communities need to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, and develop sustainable futures. [Statement by AOSIS Chair]

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Island nations want climate change in world court

 UNITED NATIONS: Small island nations, whose very existence is threatened by the rising sea levels brought about by global warming, are seeking to take the issue of climate change before the International Court of Justice.

Johnson Toribiong, president of Palau, said Friday his country and other island nations had formed an expert advisory committee to bring the issue before the U.N. General Assembly. That would allow the world court in the Hague to determine the legal ramifications of climate change under international law.
”If 20 years of climate change negotiations have taught us anything, it’s that every state sees climate change differently. For some, it is mainly an economic issue … for others it’s about geopolitics and their past or future place in the global economy, but for us it’s about survival,” Toribiong said.
”Pacific countries are in the red zone, a swell of ocean where waters have risen two or three times higher than anywhere else in the world. That differential might explain why we speak about climate change so urgently and we look to everyone in every corner of the United Nations to find a solution,” he added.
Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Colombia University and a member the advisory committee, said the idea is to have a court determination compelling developed nations to control emissions of the greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming in the absence of an international treaty. More

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Interview with John Ashton, UK's Special Representative for climate change

 “It was the voice of the Caribbean that changed the world at Durban,” says John Ashton, the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change. 
The Caribbean, perhaps more than any region in the world, faces an existential threat from global climate change. It is that threat which has spurred the region to band together and provide a voice to larger countries, urging them to confront the realities of what is a clear and present danger. Accordingly, climate change was a major subject of discussion at the recent UK-Caribbean Forum in Grenada, a country that has been putting climate issues at the forefront. To learn more, Caribbean Journal talked to Ashton about Caribbean-UK climate talks, regional integration and what Caribbean intervention meant at Durban.

What were the major points of discussion on climate at the forum?

Well I came here in this visit sort of on the back of my experiences in Durban at the end of last year. And I think there’s a very important experience from Durban that deserves to be much better understood around the world. In the last night, the final few hours of Durban, this whole 20 years of global climate diplomacy was on knife-edge – if it had gone the other way, we would not able to pick up the pieces. You can have a Copenhagen experience but you can’t have it twice – it would have turned into a zombie process. 

What was it that made the critical difference? It was the voice of the Caribbean, and particularly [Grenadian Foreign Minister] Karl Hood’s intervention. But Karl Hood’s intervention was kind of on the shoulders of a really sustained effort on the part of some Caribbean leaders, like former President Jagdeo of Guyana, of people and institutions like the Climate Change Coordinating Centre in Belize – for example, and all of that effort came to a kind of crescendo that night. Because what needed to happen that night was for there to be an overwhelming emotional momentum in favour of a high-ambition outcome. And in the end, in that kind of circumstance, it was only the voices of the vulnerable countries – the people who were going to be existentially damaged by climate change soon – we’re all going to be existentially damaged by climate change if we don’t get a grip on it – but it will happen in a sequence. And you needed to hear from those countries that really are on the front line of it, and the Caribbean participants, and particularly Grenada, in their capacity as chairman of AOSIS, were right at the front of that. And just remembering back, it was this intervention that then triggered a number of others interventions that created that overwhelming momentum in the room. More