Archive for December, 2007

[uncovered: random transit convo #1]

Random Transit Convo #1
December 10, 2007
By Jihan Gearon

Here at the COP/MOP you can meet lots of interesting people and have lots of interesting conversations just riding the shuttle between the BICC (Bali International Convention Center) and the Grand Hyatt, where the side events are being held. Today I sat next to a man from Uganda. Our conversation started the way all conversations start here – “where are you from?”

When he found out I was from the U.S. he asked, “why isn’t climate change a major issue in your presidential debate?” I told him I thought it was because all of our presidential candidates would rather focus on the need for U.S. energy independence. That means they have in interest in continuing the use of fossil fuels. I think there are probably more reasons than that, but that’s the first one that popped into my mind. Then I started asking him questions.

Question: What are you wanting to come out of the COP/MOP?
Answer: Stopping the use of fossil fuels and using more renewable energy.

Question: What do you think of nuclear power?
Answer: Yes.

Question: What do you think of carbon trading?
Answer: It’s okay, but not enough. It doesn’t stop the use of fossil fuels, especially from the main polluters and that’s what we need.

Question: How is climate change affecting where you’re from?
Answer: Floods. We are having more floods when we used to have none, even during the dry season. When I was young we didn’t have anything like it, but now we do. Just a little while ago there was a flood that came our of nowhere and many people died. About 60 people died and a lot of homes were destroyed.

More or less. By then, our bus ride was over and we parted ways. I wish I had interviewed him with the camera. It’s always good for me to hear from people who have a good knowledge of where they’re from and can attest to how they’re local environment is changing. And it’s also good for me to hear that they understand what real solutions we need – less fossil fuel use from the rich countries.

jihan+ben

[uncovered: nia unplgged]

[editor’s note: some postings were never sent, some lost and some well here they are now…]

12. 11.07

Where my People at?

By Nia Robinson, EJCC Director

At least once a day I scan the crowd of the convention center. Sprinklings and clusters of brown faces in an overwhelming sea of whiteness.  There is a feeling of aloneness. I am surrounded by this and can’t but wonder why there aren’t more people of African descent here at the COP.  Surely African governments have sent their delegations, but where is an African grassroots presence?  Not only form Africa but from the global Diaspora as well.  From Africa to Brazil to the Caribbean to the US, black folks are suffering and feeling the effects of climate change but here at the COP there no space made for black people to come together and show solidarity with each other.

How do we as members of the African Diaspora work across not only state and country lines, but continental lines as well?  A Pan-African Caucus if you will. We must, like the Indigenous Peoples caucus stand together to combat this issue from New Orleans to Bahia to the Sudan.  I don’t know how to go about this, but I am committed to figuring this out.

nia

A Bali Breakthrough? Only 36 hrs remaining

from Tony C. Anderson, Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA) Senior

BALI, Indonesia, Dec. 13 “[T]here is a wrecking crew lead by but the Bush administration and its minions…” said Jennifer L. Morgan of Third Generation Environmentalism during the Climate Action Networks’ press conference today.

Her comment echoes the sentiment of many attending the UN Bail Climate Change Conference (officially known as the 13th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 3rd Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol), which is now being held Bali, Indonesia.

“The wrecking crew is working hard to derail negotiations…Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Canada are all falling in line” adds Morgan.

Inserting hostile language into legislation delays progress by requiring a vote of the full governing body, the Conference of the Party, this serves as the tactic of choice to derail advancement. For example, just two days ago, a working group adopted its final decision on reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD), ten minutes to midnight; consensus was blocked by the United States, which in the end, stood alone. The issue– the US delegation refused to compromise on three words — “land use within.”

Papua New Guinea proposed removing the “[land use within]” words in each paragraph, which was supported by New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador and Panama. The US, however, refused to give in and ultimately, consensus was blocked. The draft decision will be sent to the COP with paragraphs 11 and 12 still bracketed, indicating lack of consensus.

“We still have some work to do today and tomorrow. We are hopeful …that we can find a way to bridge remaining differences and reach a consensus on a Bali Roadmap,” says Dr. Paula J. Dobrianshy, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs and head of the U.S. delegation to Bali negotiations.

Yesterday, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary outlined three targets, the Bali Roadmap, that would lay the foundation of a post 2012 agreement.
– Formal launch of negotiations on a post 2012 climate change agreement
– Agreement on the main agenda items for these negotiations, and
– Establishing a timeline to finish these negotiations.

With the final 36 hours commencing many Parties to the Conference, the official delegates to the UN Climate Change conference (COP-13) stand on edge as the window for progress slowly closes.

There is hope, but will we actually see a Bali Breakthrough?

Ellen weighs in…

[editor’s note: Due to some minor technical difficulties I wasn’t able to get & post Ellen’s blogs until today… slightly unfortunate delay, but well worth the wait to read her insights into the UNFCCC experience. Thanks El, for taking the time to share!]

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12-07-07: EJCC’s Arrival in Bali: Initial Thoughts and Expectations (from Ellen Choy, currently in Bali)

Flying from Atlanta, Georgia, Flagstaff, Arizona and Oakland, California – thousands of miles and 3 plane meals later – we, the representatives of EJCC, official delagates to the UNFCCC, have officially begun our time and work here in Bali! As soon as we touched down at Bali’s international air terminal in in Denpasar we were slapped in the face with Indonesia’s 85-degree, 90% humidity wet season climate – a rude awakening to the physical acclimation we would be enduring in the next ten days. Nevertheless, coming from plunging winter temperatures back at home, I think we are all smiling at the anticipation of living a short, tropical December. In our car ride to the hotel we experienced left-sided steering and more motorcycles than we could imagine filling the streets, which provided us the other element to our welcoming into Bali. Quickly reminding us of the reason we had come to Indonesia, UNFCCC paraphernalia is decorating all major streets and passageways within a 20-minute radius of the conference. From large bright orange UNFCCC banners hanging from every other tree to gigantic billboards displaying messages on climate change (my favorite: a “Climate Change…Protect the Vulnerable” billboard sponsored by the Indonesian government), it is clear that this conference has caused the world, for two-weeks, to turn its attention to this small, but beautiful island. And yes, EJCC is here, ready and excited to jump in head-first.
Arriving during the interim weekend of the two-week conference, luckily we will have a few days to experience both the culture and the climate shock, as well as get our bearings on what’s been going on before we throw ourselves into the conference trenches. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us, and a lot of both personal and collective expectations to fill. We will be four of only a handful of people of color coming from the US. We will also be one of very few US-based climate justice organizations. In a very North American, white-dominated pool of participants, it is clear that EJCC will be a vital voice in any discussions and debates we enter. We will be going in with our sound knowledge base of climate change issues, domestic and international, as well as our fearless agendas to openly report back on what we observe through our climate justice lenses and to be a strong presence as climate justice advocates. The magnitude of this conference is being reflected in the massive media coverage it is receiving globally, so we are not shy about the work that is ahead of us. If anything, this is to be a learning experience, as climate justice is the issue of our generation and this conference is the manifestation of some of the most important international decisions that will be made in our lifetime. While most back in the States are pulling out the scarves and firewood, we’re layering ourselves with mosquito repellent and sweat-drenched shirts – what seems a small sacrifice for the profound effect our presence here at the UNFCCC can potentially have.

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12-10-07: Lieberman-Warner Talks in Bali: A Rude Awakening
Our first day at the conference was a little overwhelming, despite the two hours it took standing in Blainese heat and humidity to finally get ourselves registered and walking through the doors of the Bali International Convention Centre. The level of activity was more than expected, but we clumsily got our bearings and headed into the side events and caucus meetings our firt-day agenda channeled us to.
Most of what my post-registration day consisted of was attending a special Lieberman-Warner side event, presenting the bill and a panel of speakers who were directly involved in the bill’s crafting. Tony and I attended, entering a small room filled to the brim with observers and note-takers, amongst which we soon learned were scattered multiple US congressional staff representatives as well as other high-profile delegates, many from the European Union. The spotlight was shared by Chelsea Maxwell and David McIntosh, chief climate aides to Senator Lieberman and Senator Warner, respectively. As both Tony and I’s very first experience participating in the conference, this event provided a rude awakening to the struggle we, as climate justice advocates, will be facing in the coming week. As the only debate open to NGO participation on the leading climate legislation in the US, there was a complete lack of conversations around equity or justice. We saw it critical to engage ourselves in the discussion, but it was clear that the politics and special interests in the room fostered an environment where a CJ voice was almost unwelcome.
90% of the talks that happened in the room were flooded with highly technical jargon around deforestation and offsets (a central issue at this year’s COP/MOP), and how Lieberman-Warner is acting (or not) to incorporate international offsets into its cap and trade scheme. There was a complete lack of address of community impacts in those conversations – not surprisingly reminiscent of the bill itself. Even a direct question we were able to slip in to Ms. Maxwell on what is happening to better address vulnerable communities was responded with a quick shoulder brush and a “come talk to me in DC” push aside. Slightly discouraged, but provoked and fired up for the rest of the week, our first experiences at the conference provided us the day’s lesson for our work here: while the conference center is flooded with signs, banners, brochures and t-shirts promoting climate justice messages, actually injecting those concerns in discussions and debates occurring will demand us to yell loud and continue to push to represent a voice so often muffled by the dominating interests here at the UNFCCC.

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12-11-07: Making Moves in the Youth Caucus
Today was a big day for the youth caucus, as they completed the final statement they will be reading to the high-level plenary on Friday as their official statement as the youth representatives. And Tony and I were able to fully, and loudly, participate. Having now been widely exposed to the activity here at the conference, it is clear that these statements will be some of the most important opportunities, if not the most important, to influence anything politically and legislatively substantial happening behind closed doors. The youth caucus’s statement will act as a demand for action amongst the government delegates to push for stringent policies on climate change. Therefore, given the invitation to participate in the small working group drafting the statement, both Tony and I quickly jumped to make this the focus of our work today.
It was clear that our input was needed. The youth caucus consists of over 200 delegates from many countries, largely dominated by delegations from Canada, the US and Australia (surprise, surprise). Furthermore, only a handful of those delegates are people of color, narrowing the actual representation of communities of color from both the North and South overall to maybe 10% of the total youth caucus. I almost felt uncomfortable noticing the intrigued response from the room when Tony and I entered as youth specifically representing communities of color in the US. But the sense of community in the room as the youth caucus was sufficiently unifying, and other representatives, such as groups from Japan and Indonesia, were refreshingly not shy to show face and at least participate. Also driving active discussions to make moves as a unified youth front was the commonly sensed frustration with the COP/MOP as a highly-process-focused conversation, where specific issues and voices, such as the youth, are not being heard. Instead, narrow talks around post-Kyoto and North-South politics are dominating discussions. This triggered the concensus that this year, more than ever,the youth, as well as other special caucuses will need to present strong, cohesive fronts.
Tony and I sat down with 5 to 15 (busy schedules caused people to jump in and out) youth delegates to refine and revise the drafted statement to be read Friday at the high-level plenary. We really stuck our noses in the process, to fight for inclusion of climate justice language, as well as simply fortifying the policy demands the youth will be presenting in the statement. It is clear that we cannot back down at any point during this conference or more generally in any work we do in similar spaces in which our communities can be affected by conversations that are happening here. Even in specialized forums, such as a youth caucus, where a lack of justice principles is evident, we are called upon by our place on the EJCC delegation and as representatives of our communities to push for an inclusion of a strong CJ perspective. My expectation is that it will be no small task to continue to fight for what we are here to stand for, but that there still exists significant potential for us to be heard. In fact, because of our presence today in the youth caucus, we have been invited to present a climate justice testimony in tomorrow’s international youth press conference.

ellen

Ellen Choy,

EJCC Program Associate

ellen@ejcc.org

Action in Bali: WORLD BANK HANDS OFF…

WORLD BANK HANDS OFF FORESTS December 10, 2007

BALI (INDONESIA), Dec. 10, 2007 Environmental groups at the United
Nations climate talks in Bali today urged governments to reject a new
World Bank initiative promoting the inclusion of forests in carbon
markets.

The World Bank initiative, known as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
(FCPF) is set to be launched on Tuesday 11th December in Bali as part of
the discussions on Reducing Emissions through Deforestation in Developing
countriesÂ’ (REDD).

The initiative, which would allow tropical forests to be included in
carbon offsetting schemes, fails to combat climate change, the groups
said, because it allows industrialised countries and companies to buy
their way out of emissions’ reductions.

Between 18-20 percent of annual global carbon emissions are caused by
deforestation, and Indonesia is the world’s third largest greenhouse gas
emitter as a result of deforestation.

The World Bank has a particularly appalling track record in relation to
funding forests and carbon projects, not least because it provides
substantial funding to oil, gas and mining projects; and as a broker, has
a vested interest in promoting carbon trading.

Its planned Forest Carbon Partnership Facility would have serious negative
social and environmental impacts, the groups said.

Torry Kuswardhono, Energy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Indonesia
(WALHI): said:

“Carbon offsetting is extremely unfair. Forests provide livelihoods for
over one billion Indigenous and other forests peoples. Wealthy companies
and countries are able to buy the right to continue to pollute, while poor
communities in developing countries can find themselves locked into
unfavourable, long-term commercial contracts over forest management”.

Sandy Gauntlett, Pacific focal point of the Global Forest Coalition and
chairman of the Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition said:

“Indigenous Peoples and local communities will bear the real costs of
forest-related climate mitigation projects based on carbon finance because
they will increase the pressure on their lands and territories and
undermine land rights claims. With this proposal, the World Bank is
violating the principle of Prior Informed Consent, which is enshrined in
the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Peoples
should not just be consulted on this facility. Without their full and
prior informed consent this facility should be disbanded.”

World Rainforest Movement spokesperson Ana Filipini said :

“Carbon finance mechanisms in developing countries result in forests being
transferred or sold off to large corporations who hope to acquire
profitable Â’carbon creditsÂ’ associated with those forests at some point in
the future. The current proposals are set to reward logging and palm oil
corporations and countries with high deforestation rates whilst
undermining Indigenous Peoples’ and other forest-dependent communities’
rights, in particular those of women.”

Some of the genuine and urgent measures needed to address the
deforestation problem include:

1) Giving the highest priority to halting the development, production and
trade of agrofuels, and suspend all targets and other incentives,
including subsidies, carbon offsets and public and private finance related
to the development and production of agrofuels.

2) Keeping tropical forests out of carbon finance mechanisms, which are
unpredictable, inequitable and discourage the reduction of emissions at
source. This includes keeping forests out of the Clean Development
Mechanism and all carbon trading initiatives; and rejecting the World
BankÂ’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).

3) Redirect the very substantial amounts of public funds, tax exemptions
and other forms of subsidies currently provided to the fossil fuel and
agrofuels industries, into avoided deforestation assistance funds, the
effective promotion of public transport and the development of solar,
wind, geothermal, wave and energy efficiency industries.

4) Strengthen weak forest conservation policies and institutions,
encouraging bans or moratoria on industrial logging and forest
conversion, and addressing corruption and lack of enforcement.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

IN BALI:

Joseph Zacune, Friends of the Earth International climate coordinator,
Indonesian mobile number +62.813.3896995 (dec 1-14 only)

Sandy Gauntlett, Oceania focal point, Global Forest Coalition and
chairperson of the Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition, +62-
813-38938574 or email sandyoceania@yahoo.com

Torry Kuswardhono, Energy Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Indonesia
(WALHI): +62- 811383270 or email torry@walhi.or.id

Fay, media officer, WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) , Indonesian
mobile number +62 815 8070717

EJCC Media Team photos taken during action yesterday:

bankoff01bankoff02bankoff03bankoff04

[photos by Jihan Gearon]

Happy Birthday, Kyoto!

 

by Tony C. Anderson (from Bali)

 

 

Today, as a side event at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia (COP-13) Greenpeace’s Solar Generation with the assistance of the Japanese delegation took a brief moment to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Kyoto Protocol. The multiple layered chocolate cake was a welcomed sidebar to the hectic and often frenzied workday of the giant climate conference.

Ten years ago today, 11 December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to address climate disruption, was developed in Kyoto, Japan during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-3) as the world’s first international agreement that set binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse- gas emissions by industrialized countries. After going into effect on 16 February 2005 approximately 141 countries ratified the treaty leaving Australia and the United States as the only developed nations not to join the world’s major climate mitigating scheme.

Most recently, the newly elected government of Australia ratified Kyoto, leaving America as the sole nation not to do so. According to the international treaty, the emissions reduction target for the U.S. was only a mere 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Today, the COP-13 International Youth Delegation (a group of 200 or so young people from around the world here in Bail) supports reducing US emissions reduction by 80% by 2050. With less than 5% of the world’s population, the US produces approximately 25 % of the world’s global warming pollutants.

So the question remains, has the US grown ANY in the past 10 years? What, specifically, will the US do in the next 4 years and beyond to mitigate it’s share of contributions to global climate change? [The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.]

 

Will the moral imperative be made plain that we must do more? I guess we’ll just have to see…

 

(…and here’s the birthday video I just made- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsRJaNuiVBw )

 

 

[“mmmhh, cake and justice.”—editor’s note]

1st (nation) words from Jihan in Bali.

[FYI: To save time, energy and $ we’ve streamlined the process for the EJCC crew to get their words out on the net- they will be sending their words to me to distribute on this and other blogs. Me, being Oriana, whom YOU can also contact if you have questions, suggestion or information for the EJCC crew on the ground in Bali. [ejccmedia@gmail.com or 510.459.4639 cellphone] ]

It Ain’t Easy Being Indian

Jihan Gearon

December 10, 2007

Today was my first day at the UNFCCC- that’s the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, for those of you who don’t know. Also known as COP13/MOP3. That’s the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties/Third Meeting of the Parties for those of you who haven’t asked somebody. Lotsa words isn’t it? You don’t know the half of it.

I started my day by attending the Indigenous Peoples caucus where the group was busy creating text that we would hopefully be able to pass on to a member of the contact group for today’s focus, who would hopefully add it to their comments, that would hopefully make it’s way through the back and forths of the parties (countries), and hopefully end up in the final text of the Chairman. In short, we spent a lot of time trying to make the UNFCCC process and outcomes better for Indigenous Peoples by making as few changes as possible to an existing document, all the while fully aware that it is very unlikely that our suggestions will be adopted or even listened to.

I am by no means saying that the hard work put in by the Indigenous Peoples caucus or any of the Indigenous People attending the COP is stupid or useless. I have great respect for them because I understand our cultures are tied to our surroundings and in order for our cultures to survive (for us to survive), our environments have to survive. Therefore, I know that these Indigenous People are here at the UN for the right reasons and their input will give the right outcomes.

What I am saying is that Indigenous People need a much bigger and better seat at the table. Our communities and livelihoods are the first affected by climate change. We are also the most affected by the unsustainable solutions being proposed to solve climate change – nuclear power, clean coal, carbon sequestration, reforestation, carbon trading, etc, etc, etc. Yet, instead of having real input in the UNFCCC process, we have to spend our time picking through words. And while we’re busy doing that, those people who want to sacrifice us to put some dollars in their pockets, make the decisions.

This past September 13th, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which protects the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their lands, territories and environment. Yet through the faulty process and false climate change solutions of the UNFCCC, it’s these fundamental human rights that are being violated.

The Indigenous Peoples here in Bali are asking the UN to live up to their words, to listen to us, and to stop with the false solutions that devastate our lands, threaten our ways of life, and deny our human rights.

Damn. Even in the paradise that is Bali, thousands of miles and dozens of hours away from home, in the midst of world leaders, I’m reminded it ain’t easy being Indian.

Stay tuned for updates, interviews, pictures, and videos of the Indigenous presence at COP13/MOP3 in Bali, Indonesia.
Jihan is Navajo and African American from Fort Defiance, Arizona on the eastern side of the Navajo Nation. She is a Stanford graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Earth Systems and a focus in Energy Science and Technology. She currently works as the Native Energy Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network and works out of Flagstaff, Arizona. In this role, Jihan works to build the capacity of and connect Indigenous communities throughout the U.S. and Canada who are impacted by oil and gas development and climate change. Previous to her employment with IEN, Jihan was a Program Associate with the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC). She was also a member of the inaugural class of the EJCC’s Climate Justice Corps.

jihanspeaks