Category: Okategoriserade

In final week of COP27, progress rests on ‘loss and damage’

As ever, the annual climate summit of the Conference of the Parties (COP) has centered on a few and highly conflictual issues. Most notably, loss and damage, and the financing of such, is for the first time included in the formal negotiations and highly advocated by low-income countries. Moving onto the final week of COP27, observers report that negotiations are moving ahead too slowly and too little, and that several knots need to be untied.

This year’s COP meeting in Sharm-El Sheikh in Egypt started per usual with heads of states convening for the World Leaders Summit. Joe Biden, encouraged by the midterm election results which soothed worries of US climate policy drawbacks, announced a new plan to cut methane emissions and supported the “Early Warnings for All Action Plan” drafted by the World Meteorological Organization. The plan aims at establishing warning signals for extreme weather and climate-related events, especially for the most vulnerable countries. French President Emmanuel Macron strongly emphasized the need for climate justice considerations in his speech and that “loss and damage” righteously should be discussed during the coming two weeks.

Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, President of this year’s host country Egypt, has named this the “Implementation Summit”. He urged all parties to center their efforts towards implementing the rules agreed upon last year in COP26 in Glasgow.

Leading up to the summit, discussions were expected to concern financing and the previously precluded concept of “loss and damage”, as well as clean energy developments and climate adaptation. As expected, both formal negotiations and informal discussions have centered around these issues. 

Money talks

Financing has been a cornerstone and stumbling block in the climate negotiations since the Paris Agreement in 2015. The failure to deliver the annual $100 billion by 2020, agreed upon in Copenhagen 2009, has come into light as poorer countries are increasingly devastated by extreme climate catastrophes. Such as the one in Pakistan earlier this year, leaving over 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid. The World Bank headed by president Malpass – who have been accused of climate denialism by former Vice President Al Gore – has come under increasing fire for insufficient climate financing as well as continued financial support to fossil fuel projects. 

A partial success concerning climate finance from the first week was the tentative support for the “Bridgetown Agenda”, proposed by Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley. The agenda seeks to reform the international financial system to ensure financial flows to low-income countries. It received support from French President Emmanuel Macron, with Germany and the UK tentatively supporting the idea. The Bretton Woods financial system managed by the World Bank and IMF is, according to Mottley, insufficiently structured to allow poorer countries to adapt to increasing climate-induced extreme weather events. With poorer countries being charged with substantially higher interest rates than the rich, Mottley argued that poorer countries should receive concessional lending, but also that discussions must include oil and gas companies, which in recent months have seen unprecedented windfall profits. “How do companies make $200 billion in profits in the last three months and do not expect to contribute $0.10 on every $1 of profit to a loss and damage fund?” she said. Success of the Bridgetown Agenda does, however, rely heavily on the support of the G7 countries who historically been reluctant to adopt concessional lending and debt cancellation policies.

US Climate Envoy John Kerry announced a plan to marshal investments in renewables in developing countries through a framework for carbon credits. The plan, dubbed the “Energy Transition Accelerator”, would allow private companies to gain carbon credits by investing in projects in developing countries. The initiative has not landed well amongst developing countries. Critics argue that another voluntary carbon market will neither instigate necessary deep emission reductions in richer countries nor ensure any additional funding – that would happen anyway – to clean energy developments.  

Rich countries criticized for preventing loss and damage mechanism

The most contentious – but previously precluded from formal COP negotiations – issue is the financing of loss and damage arising from climate change calamities. Although discussions within the UNFCCC have been ongoing since COP19 with the establishment of the “Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage”, strengthened at COP25 with the Santiago Network and with the Glasgow Dialogue at COP26, progress has been slow. Securing hands-on financing is not expected in Egypt, but emphasis is directed towards settling on the mechanisms of such funding. One week into the negotiations, however, a few countries have pledged to provide loss and damage money. Scotland broke the ice, followed by Denmark, Germany, Belgium Austria and New Zealand. More countries are expected to follow suit and pledge to the loss and damage fund in the second week of the summit, but sums are still far from adequate. Concerning the loss and damage mechanism, progress is even slower. Rich countries, especially the G7, have been accused of distracting from establishing a mechanism by proposing the alternative Global Shield insurance scheme, aimed at establishing a protection scheme to account for climate catastrophes. This has not landed well amongst poorer countries. It is perceived as a way of circumventing the loud calls for a loss and damage mechanism. The Global Shield insurance scheme does not include slow onset events brought about by climate change and includes only a fraction of countries in need of loss and damage money.

Demonstrations and fossil fuel delegates

A worry leading up to the summit in Egypt has concerned the role of civil society groups and activists. The Egyptian regime, with a record of human rights abuses and mass imprisonment of civil society actors, have come under critical scrutiny and commentators have warned of regressive restrictions. The currently imprisoned Egyptian human rights advocate Alaa Abd el-Fattah has become a figurehead of demonstrations and campaigns. Although attempts to raise human rights issues have been made and demonstrations have taken place, civil society organizations have been largely smothered.

If civil society action has been much curtailed during the first week, the oil and gas industry has not. With over 600 oil and gas representatives participating at the meeting, according to official registration lists, they outnumber all delegations from African countries. 

What to expect from the final week of negotiations

Moving onto the second week, informal discussions will center around a few topics that traditionally fall outside the scope of the COP summits, beginning with water scarcity and gender issues on Monday. On Tuesday, attention will be directed towards the role of civil society. Discussions on Wednesday will raise to the fore biodiversity issues, paving way for the UN Biodiversity (COP15) starting on 7 December in Canada, ending with “solutions day” on Thursday where prospects for novel solutions such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and hydrogen centers on stage. 

Turning to the formal negotiations, government ministers have replaced government leaders in the pursuit of untying the knots from the first week. The most pressing issue being the loss and damage funding, and whether the funding mechanism or the insurance scheme proposed by the G7 countries will prevail. How these negotiations end will much likely define whether COP27 will be seen as a step forward or not, especially concerning the contested issue of accountability.

A conference draft of formal agreements is expected on Wednesday, but a final draft is not expected until the end of the week. As last year’s COP focused on keeping the 1.5C target alive, a year later, that ambition looks even bleaker. In the run-up to the negotiations several reports concluded that the target is slipping away. That it is politically unfeasible to keep the 1.5C target alive and that there is “no longer any credible pathway” to achieving it. The last-minute calamities and weakened commitments in Glasgow made Alok Sharma, President of COP27, tearfully claim that the 1.5C target was, albeit barely, kept alive. Egypt’s COP27 President Sameh Shoukry will face a similar task. 

The Zennström Professors

The internationally recognised Zennström Professors in Climate Change Leadership work with academics, students, civil society and public and private partners to understand the scale of the transition needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and begin to develop routes towards these transitions. To date we have had four Zennström Professors.

STEFANIA BARCA – ZENNSTRÖM VISITING PROFESSOR 2021 – 2022

We are delighted to welcome Stefania Barca as our next Zennström Professor in Climate Change Leadership. Stefania is a scholar in Environmental Humanities, with a strong commitment to environmental and climate justice.

Stefania Barca
Zennström Professor in Climate Change Leadersship
Foto Mikael Wallerstedt

During her time in Uppsala she will be building on the legacies left by the previous professors, as well as facilitating new initiatives around the Covid-19, climate and care nexus. In particular Stefania looks forward to actively contributing to the convergence of labour, feminist, youth and climate justice organisations towards a politics of Just Transition.

Stefania will begin her time in Uppsala with with a series of events with academics, practitioners and activists, exploring emergent themes stemming from such creative and participatory conversations. Her professorship will culminate in a conference on Just Transition in spring 2022, the first of this kind in Europe.

contact: stefania.barca@geo.uu.se


KERI FACER – ZENNSTRÖM VISITING PROFESSOR 2019–2020

Dr. Keri Facer, Professor of Educational and Social Futures

Keri Facer is Professor of Educational and Social Futures at the University of Bristol, School of Education. She works on rethinking the relationship between formal educational institutions and wider society and is particularly concerned with the sorts of knowledge that may be needed to address contemporary environmental, economic, social, and technological changes.

Since 2013, Keri has been Leadership Fellow for the RCUK Connected Communities Programme. This research programme is creating new relationships between communities and universities, drawing on arts and humanities perspectives and methods to enable new forms of knowledge production to address urgent contemporary issues.

Keri’s aim is to work across the whole of Uppsala University to explore how universities can build partnerships with local, national, and international communities, how we can develop powerful knowledge, and how we can educate students to enable the massive transitions we need to live well with climate change.

Contact: keri.facer@geo.uu.se


KEVIN ANDERSON – ZENNSTRÖM VISITING PROFESSOR 2016–2018

Dr. Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change

Kevin Anderson is one of the leading climate scientists in the U.K. He is Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester and Deputy Director at the renowned Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

Kevin is a well-known and established researcher within climate change science who engages frequently with policy-makers, the private sector, civil society as well as the media. He has pioneered research on carbon budgets and pathways to acceptable mitigation levels. His work on the technical, social and economic interactions involved in the transformation of energy systems and the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, addresses questions at the core of this professorship’s theme.

Kevin is a prominent thinker, writer and communicator who built on and expanded the work of the first visiting professor in Climate Change Leadership, Doreen Stabinsky.

Contact: kevin.anderson@ccl.uu.se


DOREEN STABINSKY – ZENNSTRÖM VISITING PROFESSOR 2015–2016

Dr. Doreen Stabinsky, Professor of Global Environmental Politics

Doreen Stabinsky is Professor of Global Environmental Politics at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. Her research, teaching, and writing concern the impacts of climate change, particularly on agriculture and global food security. She also serves as advisor to various governments and international environmental organisations, and has a large international network of collaborators.

Doreen stresses the central role that education must play in addressing the growing challenges of climate change and is known for her ability to strengthen young people’s capacity to contribute to a better world. The fact that the focus of the professorship itself was inspired by, and emerged from a student-led course on Climate Change Leadership at CEMUS, made Doreen a fitting first holder of the Zennström Visiting Professorship.

Contact: doreen.stabinsky@ccl.uu.se


Zennström Climate Change Leadership

The Zennström Climate Change Leadership visiting professorship acts as a catalyst for public debate, research and education to directly address some of the most challenging questions that climate change poses to humanity. Since 2015 four Zennström Professors in Climate Change Leadership have been working with academics, students, civil society and public and private partners to both understand the scale of the civilisational transition needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change and to begin to develop routes towards that transition and prepare for adaptation.

Our current projects largely fall within four areas built upon the research themes of the Chairs of the Zennström professorship. These include:

Our First Three Professors: Keri Facer, Doreen Stabinsky, and Kevin Anderson
Stefania Barca, the fourth Zennström professor in Climate Change Leadersship, Foto Mikael Wallerstedt

Climate change leadership is a dynamic field, crossing disciplinary and societal boundaries, with the aim to catalyse innovative and bold approaches to meet the complex challenges of climate change. This dynamism and energy is derived from the increasing demand for knowledge and practices to meet challenges across all sectors of society, from the local to international level. Climate change leadership is characterised by knowledge co-production between academia and society at large, to ensure effective and just institutional and socio-technological transformations.

The overall goal of the initiative is to actively shape an inter- and transdisciplinary intellectual environment that combines education, research and outreach in innovative ways and applies knowledge into equitable climate action. The climate change leadership environment engages with new forms of vibrant, trans- disciplinary and exploratory forums with world-leading climate scientists, key climate negotiators, business and civil society leaders, policy-makers, social entrepreneurs and, not least, students and young leaders.

Keri Facer: Reconnecting the civic university with the climate agenda

Blog post by Zennström Professor Keri Facer on the Higher Education Policy Institute addressing the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission’s recent report on how universities can successfully serve in the 21st century. Climate change was a glaring omission in this report, as Keri writes.

Read post here: https://www.hepi.ac.uk/2020/03/04/reconnecting-the-civic-university-with-the-climate-agenda-thinking-globally-acting-locally/

Apply to join the student COP25 delegation

STUDENT APPLICATION TO JOIN UU DELEGATION AT THE 25th CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES IN SANTIAGO, CHILE

 2-13 DECEMBER 2019

Deadline: 18 October, 2019 (at 6 PM)

Send your application to: susanna.barrineau@cemus.uu.se

The 2019 UN Climate Change Conference will take place 2-13 December in Santiago, Chile. Uppsala University has status as observer organization and will be sending a delegation to the conference. We are now calling upon engaged and motivated students in Uppsala to apply to join the delegation as Uppsala University’s representatives at the negotiations. This delegation is a part of Uppsala University’s ongoing involvement in the UN level climate negotiations, building on the Zennström Climate Change Leadership professorship and Uppsala University’s long tradition of student-leadership and active student participation.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to take part in a process that is of paramount importance and build on the work of previous delegations’ involvement in these UN negotiations. This will also be a chance to engage the Uppsala University community in the conference outcomes and experiences.

Apply by providing a CV and a brief personal statement (no more than 1 page) that addresses the following questions: 

  • What are your intellectual and academic interests at the moment? 
  • Are you involved in any activities/initiatives that have a connection to climate change issues?
  • Why do you want to go to climate change conference in Santiago? 
  • How does participating in the conference fit in with your studies, and/or research / professional interests? 
  • How would you propose to collaboratively prepare, connect, and also feed-back with others at Uppsala University and in Uppsala that are interested in climate change and the negotiations, but not able not able to join the delegation? 
  • Indicate which week you would like to join the COP, or if you would like to attend both weeks.

In order to be considered to join the delegation as a student, you will need to be enrolled at Uppsala University. In forming our delegation, we are looking to create a highly motivated, interdisciplinary team of students. Note that a selection to join the delegation does not entail funding for travel, food or housing. If you are selected and accept, you will need to commit to: 

  • actively participating in at least one of the two weeks of the conference (2-6 December and/or 9-13 December); 
  • being involved in organizing and contributing to events in Uppsala before, during, and after the event.

For questions and further information, contact: 

Sanna Barrineau: susanna.barrineau@cemus.uu.se

Coordinator at the Climate Change Leadership InitiativeCentre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS) at Uppsala University and SLU 

Carbon budgets in Umeå

This week, Martin and Aaron travelled to Umeå to present several lectures on carbon budgets and meet with local government representatives and civil society groups.

Earlier this year, Fridays for Future Umeå approached the Climate Change Leadership Node requesting a carbon budget for their municipality. Until then, it had only been municipalities, regions and county boards that had commissioned a carbon budget from CCL.

Within 10 days the civil society grouped had fundraised enough money for the carbon budget which was delivered earlier this year.

On Monday Martin and Aaron lectured at various locations in the city. This culminated in a public lecture in the evening at Umeå University which was attended by over 200 members of the public.

Our most important recommendation from the presentations and associated carbon budgets is that governing bodies consider the cumulative effect of carbon dioxide emissions, pursue science-based targets and set goals accordingly.

Bonn SB50, June 2019

“Science is not negotiable, another world is possible”

By Sanna Barrineau

25 June, 2019. It’s 37 degrees celsius in Bonn, Germany at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and it’s the second week of one of the largest climate change conferences in the world during an unprecedented European heatwave.  Representatives of the UNFCCC blithely encourage conference participants to abandon their suits and ties so as to avoid the old-school style of keeling over due to heat exhaustion. Interventions by youth and climate justice groups offer dark contrasts to this relaxed humour in the form of die-ins, songs, and impassioned speeches. From my vantage point of observer, the phrase climate justice emerged in every room, yet was noticeably, albeit unsurprisingly, absent in the outcomes of the negotiations. 

If one was determined to create the most just, fair, equal, and true-to-science global climate change regulation in history, one would be hard put to find a place with more qualified people in the room, brimming with passion and intent. While parties are busy negotiating behind closed doors, scientists and civil society groups create a rich series of side events, informative and supportive spaces for participants. The overall effectiveness of these is lessened by the absence of parties, leaving the session leaders to preach to the choir but also to proffer narratives of ‘green growth’ that are met by frustration by the ‘systems change, not climate change’ advocates and representatives of LDCs suffering the negligence of this mantra.

UNFCCC conference center, Bonn

Here are some observations from a humble observer:

  • Intergenerational justice: Referring to the parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, Dr Julie Brigham-Grette stated that, “We are in uncharted territory”. 120 years is all it takes to do what we have done with our emissions. Strong scientific inputs on intergenerational justice in climate policy, but still talk about “green growth” from the Nordic consortium (including Finland who has declared that it will reach net-zero emissions by 2035). Results of this kind of climate leadership have clear consequences for future generations.
  • Sailing to COP25: A consortium of folks will be sailing to COP25 in Chile to avoid the emissions associated with flying. They were recruiting co-sailors for the journey. 
  • Climate Apartheid: A report published by UN special rapporteur stated that we’re creating a ‘Climate apartheid’. “Developing countries will bear an estimated 75% of the costs of the climate crisis… despite the poorest half of the world’s population causing just 10% of carbon dioxide emissions.” 
  • Sweden’s Ambition: Although Sweden showed ambition in relation to their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), reliance on future negative emission technologies are far from certain in their mitigation roadmap. Territorial emissions are decreasing, but is it decoupling or delusion?
  • Gender and Climate Change: Ideas and examples abound for implementing gender-responsive NDCs. In preparation for COP25, WEDO  is developing a report on what processes have been happening trying to link gender and NDCs and climate policies. See also their Gender Climate Tracker App. Key thoughts from this session: Effects of climate change are felt differently across class and gender. Gender-sensitive climate policy is key to decreasing social inequalities. 
  • Migration and Displacement: Climate-induced migration highlights how the poor are especially vulnerable to climate change. Teresa Anderson, ActionAid International, explains that there is massive displacement taking place as a result of climate change. Displacement is triggered by disasters but is dependent on economic and social factors, therefore most difficult for the poor who have fewer options than those with capital. See more on this topic: Climate Change Knows No Borders (publication). Climate change always adds an additional layer to the intersectional look at migration and so, approaching from a human rights based perspective should always guide our decisions and actions. The ultimate goal is to respond with solidarity.

My week in Bonn concluded with seeing hundreds of cyclists bearing the Fridays for Future flag making their way through the city. Another world is possible. 

Fridays for Future Demonstration, Bonn

Filibustering and Floundering – SB50 in Bonn

Guest post by Guy Finkill, CEMUS, Climate Change Leadership in Practice

Death by a thousand acronyms. That’s what it can often feel like when engaging with the subsidiary body negotiations at the UNFCCC at its headquarters in the leafy and embassy-ridden area of Bonn. In reality, the situation is much more dire – as an unprecedented heatwave stretches across Europe, the secretariat is forced into making bold and impactful decisions. Banishing big polluters from the negotiation space? No. Think again. They amend the official dress code so men are not forced to sweat themselves into a stupor on their way to the spacious air-conditioned conference halls where they negotiate their level of compassion for countries bearing the real brunt of the rapidly emerging extremes of climate change. 

Morality falls victim to bureaucracy. Political will shudders in the face of a potential downturn in prosperity. In the multi-lateral assessment forum, the UK boast their 38% reduction in territorial emissions since 1990 while still achieving an upturn in economic growth (4). And growth and prosperity are good for everyone, right? Let’s take a moment to think about who this unquestionable prosperity is benefitting. Last time I checked, the UK was experiencing the highest levels of inequality since the 1960s (6) with 44% of the nation’s wealth in the hands of 10% of the population (7). The green growth narrative is top of the agenda here at SB50 with outlandish claims of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 being the hot topic. The fanciful mathematics and geoengineering pipedreams (3) that these claims are based upon have yet to truly enter the discussion, but that time will come. 

Saudi Arabia and Egypt play pass the obfuscating parcel as the AIM (Arrangements for Intergovernmental meetings) negotiations dance around the subject of Conflict of Interest within the negotiation arena. Delegations huddle together, before they make their official announcements in the form of bureaucratic riddles, shrouded in the legitimatisation of political diplomacy. The US, infamous for declaring their withdrawal from ratifying the Paris Agreement, are still lingering around; pushing for BINGO (Business and Industry NGOs) accredited representatives to have a higher degree of participation in the discussions – efficiently opening the door for the fossil fuel industry to the conference while washing their hands of responsibility with the blood of the small-island developing states. 

Chile, hosts of the upcoming COP25, are on the charm offensive in preparation for their presidency of the next round of negotiations; dishing out complimentary wine every evening to distinguished delegates. The chink of glasses brimming with Merlot appear to be sufficient to extinguish the concern of residents of Isla Riesco as the Chilean government battles its own environmental court to keep a devastating open-cast mine operational (8).

Environmental NGOs and youth groups rally together to call out the elephant in the room, tirelessly working towards increased transparency and kicking big polluters out of the negotiation space. Here are the closing remarks of Climate Justice Now (04:38-06:30), denouncing nation states for their continued subsidising of the fossil fuel industry (1) while employing market mechanisms and offsetting (2) to delay climate action and enforce the seemingly impermeable strategy of inertia. Progressive discussions in the side events hosted by these groups provide fresh hope and inspiration to a jaded observer – unfortunately these events are not mandatory for party delegates to attend, perhaps something for the UNFCCC to consider in future meetings of the subsidiary bodies.  And so, the 50th meeting of the subsidiary bodies draws to a close, a few modifications to official texts achieved but not much to write home about. ~8000 activists were involved in the occupation of Garzweiler lignite coal mine less than 70km away from the UNFCCC conference in between the two weeks of talks – demanding climate justice as state-funded police brutally repress their call to action. Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg called for us to panic at COP24 in Poland & the World Economic Forum in Davos as our house is on fire. Swathes of forest fires currently engulf areas outside of Berlin (5), our house IS on fire, perhaps we should take acti … ah wait it’s 17:30, I think the Chilean presidency stand are serving wine again. Good, I’m parched.

References

1. Coady, D., Parry, I., Sears, L. & Shang, B. 2017, “How Large Are Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies?”, World Development, vol. 91, pp. 11-27.

2. Dufrasne, 2018. Accessed online 29/06/19 Webpage

3. Fuss, S., Canadell, J.G., Peters, G.P., Tavoni, M., Andrew, R.M., Ciais, P., Jackson, R.B., Jones, C.D., Kraxner, F., Nakicenovic, N., Le Quéré, C., Raupach, M.R., Sharifi, A., Smith, P. & Yamagata, Y. 2014, “Betting on negative emissions”, Nature Climate Change, vol. 4, no. 10, pp. 850-853.

4. Hausfather, 2019. Accessed online 29/06/19 Webpage

5. Insurance Journal, 2019. Accessed online 29/06/19 Webpage

6. McGuiness & Harari, 2019. Accessed online 29/06/19 Webpage

7. Partington, 2018. Accessed online 29/09/19 Webpage

8. Wright, 2019. Accessed online 29/09/19 Webpage