|The Historic Warsaw Walkout|
“WARSAW FAILED TO DELIVER”
A COMMUNIQUE BY THE
CLIMATE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT NETWORK OF NIGERIA (CSDEVNET) ON THE JUST CONCLUDED CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE IN WARSAW POLAND
The Warsaw Climate Change Conference took place from 11-23 November 2013 in Poland. It included the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 9). The conference also included meetings of three subsidiary bodies: the 39th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 39) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 39), and the third part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2).
Marking the second time that UN climate change negotiations have taken place in Poland, the conference drew over 8,300 participants, including government officials, representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations, and the media.
Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDEVNET) led a delegation of civil society organisatons from Nigeria, which formed part of the larger African coalition of civil society organisations at the COP led by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
CSDEVNET believes that there is no sense from the outcome of Warsaw that climate justice is any closer than before the COP was inaugurated. The delays in countries disclosing how they will address reducing greenhouse gas emissions continue. It would seem that we are moving almost inevitably to a 4C degree warmer world. Having been billed as a climate finance COP, Warsaw failed to deliver.
The need for both finance and disbursal mechanisms that genuinely reflect and respond to the needs of countries and people that need to adapt and become more climate resilient become even more important. In the absence of agreement on a mid-term target and a clear pathway, poor and vulnerable countries are unable to understand how the developed countries are going to deliver the promised target of US$100 billion annually by 2020. Looking at decisions related to long term finance, developing countries can see a few gains, but there were reassuring words and little else.
The Network confirms the fact that countries have been exposed at the climate negotiations, in Warsaw, as beholden to vested interests, such as the dirty fossil fuel lobby, after they once again missed an opportunity to put the world on a pathway to securing a comprehensive climate action plan in 2015. At the time when climate impacts are hitting communities around the world, we have seen the true nature of international climate politics: economic interests keen to maintain the status quo have been the hand pulling the puppet strings of governments in these negotiations. The comatose nature of these negotiations sends a clear signal that increased civil disobedience against new coal plants and oilrigs is needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Neither the industrialized countries nor the big developing nations were willing to move forward in offering concrete measures to reduce their emissions, or even agree on a concrete date for doing so. Apart from a pittance for the adaptation fund, the rich countries did not pledge any money to supporting developing countries in their efforts to tackle climate change and to build up climate friendly economies.
The Network considers it an act of hesitance in taking historical responsibility on the part of the governments of Poland, US, China, India and EU who pretended to act against global warming and catastrophic climate change while agreeing on baby steps at COP19. The results of this climate conference in Warsaw shows that PACJA did the right thing in leading other NGOs in the historic Warsaw walkout.
We observe that the Warsaw meeting saw some developed countries inject an ominous air into the talks, leading to the evaporation of trust as Japan rolled back its climate commitments and Australia tabled legislation to repeal its price on carbon during the first week of the talks. Then, BASIC countries pushed back on efforts to lock all countries into taking climate action as part of the 2015 Paris plan because they feel they have not been supported to take such action in the past, specifically, in regard to the absence of funding from developed countries like the EU and the US.
The Network welcomes the establishment of an international mechanism to provide expertise to help developing nations cope with loss and damage caused by climate impacts, though the mandate and scope of the mechanism will need to be strengthened to meet the needs of the vulnerable. In agreeing to establish a loss and damage mechanism, countries have accepted the reality that the world is already dealing with the extensive damage caused by climate impacts, and requires a formal process to assess and deal with it, but they seem unwilling to take concrete actions to reduce the severity of these impacts.
The Network believes that Warsaw failed to deliver on finance as the adaptation fund achieved its $100 million fundraising goal with promise of more money flowing to countries that can stringently prove they are reducing emissions from deforestation. But, no clear deadline was set to make the first payments into the Green Climate Fund and the road towards the $100 billion a year by 2020 commitment is murky, with no timelines, pathways, and sources outlined. Thus leaving developing countries without a predictable flow of funds to take climate action. Furthermore, Warsaw did not provide a clear plan to fairly divide the global effort of responding to climate change and a timeline of when that will happen, which is needed as countries progress towards the 2015 deal.
With many countries, cities, and states to hold elections next year, civil society will go forward from Warsaw to issue a clarion call for citizens around the world to demand climate action from their governments. Attention will first turn to the EU, which must, in March, agree a strong carbon pollution reduction target for 2030. Next year will see climate change rocket back to the top of the international political agenda. The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, has put world leaders on notice to bring bold pledges and action to his Climate Summit, in September.
In addition to countries failing to bring the necessary mandate for change to Warsaw, CSDEVNET observes with consternation, the dwindling chorus of voices heralding the end of the age of coal. Warsaw failed to remind the dirty energy lobby that most of the known coal reserves must not be burned as the Polish Government attempted to brand the fuel as climate friendly. We believe that fossil fuel reserves such as coal must remain untouched and governments should be put to task on putting a price on carbon. Countries need to go home and spend some time listening to their people, rather than the dirty energy lobby and come back to the negotiating table next year with a serious approach to solving this problem and securing a climate agreement in Paris, in 2015.
CSDEVNET frowns at the fact that Nigeria, just like other African countries, had 12 months to prepare for Warsaw yet chose to arrive at the conference very late, poorly prepared and motivated to engage other negotiators. Nigeria’s absence at the African Ministerial Council on Environment (AMCEN), which took place in Botswana October 2013 also accounted for the lack of vibrancy on the part of the Negotiators from Nigeria except for the country’s strong representation at the REDD+ initiative.
CSDEVNET believes tenaciously that the greatest challenges of our time are climate change and environmental degradation due to the actions of man throughout the last three centuries. The disruption of the climate is worsening faster than ever, and threatening the poorest populations of the planet and conditions for civilized life on Earth.
All the warning signs are here. Climate disruptions are multiplying, affecting the poorest populations of the global South, but also in the global North: droughts, desertification, season changes, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, wildfires, melting glaciers, etc.
Should we stand by and do nothing? Should we continue to watch the world burn?
The stakes are clear: we must radically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the dangerous threshold that leads to the point of no return for global warming and climate chaos. A massive, brutal, disruption, in such a short time-span for our climate is a challenge like humanity has never faced.
We believe that hope must not be lost as solutions exist, and are already been put into practice by thousands of organizations, of local communities, and individuals. Even better: these alternatives are building a more pleasant, closer, friendlier, and fairer society. Small-scale agriculture, re-shoring the economy, sustainable land planning, alternatives to the car-culture, energy sobriety, eco-housing, ethical finance, social and environmental conversion of manufacturing, ethical consumption, a new share of wealth and work, community support, waste reduction and recycling, preservation of common goods such as water, soil, forests, are leading the way. The fight against climate change is not a constraint: it’s a great opportunity to build a more human future.
Unfortunately, governments are not choosing this path. International climate negotiations are stalling, and are taking the wrong direction. Big corporations and economic lobbies are doing everything they can to avoid these alternatives, because they threaten their profit and power. Worse, they are forcing onto us their false, ineffective and dangerous solutions, such as nuclear power, biofuels, GMOs, compensation mechanisms, the financialisation of nature, geo- engineering, etc. These maintain a model where the global North and the richest populations of the planet continue to loot the Earth and nature, concentrate wealth and destroy the environment, particularly in the South.
CSDEVNET believes that a popular mobilization of the citizens and taking control of our future is necessary to counter-balance their destructive efforts. Our commitment to the environment is crucial to face the climate challenge. Climate stabilization will stem from unity, from our collective intelligence, from solidarity, from our thirst for social justice, from our capacity to get change moving here and now, and to initiate the transition without further delay.
The Network rues the missed Warsaw opportunity to put the world on a pathway towards a comprehensive climate action plan in 2015 that would keep the climate safe but we will continue to call out our leaders on the dramatic consequences of the absence of a global, ambitious, efficient, binding, and fair climate treaty. We will also be about calling populations to start the social, energy and environmental transition without delay, to avoid the point of no return before complete disruption of the climate. United and determined, we can win this battle, in the North and South, for us, and for generations to come, so that we can say, “we committed to the fight just in time!”
Climate and Sustainable Development Network be an effective platform for Nigerian Civil Society Organisations to share information and strategise jointly, advocate for environmental sustainability and implement development programmes, and coordinate engagement with the Nigerian government and other stakeholders on climate change and sustainable development issues. to