Climate-Policy

Getting murkier: Falling short of the $100bn a year target was already an issue, but the US’ tweaks could make it even more contentious | Image credit: Shutterstock.com

Poland’s energy ministry opposes more ambitious EU 2030 emissions target, defends fossil fuel use

Poland’s energy ministry has explicitly opposed an increase in the EU 2030 emissions target, saying it would harm the country’s economy. It has also maintained its preference against “drastic restrictions” on fossil fuel use, and is advocating a role for clean coal and low-carbon natural gas.

However the presidency for next month’s COP24 climate summit in Poland has specifically clarified that it did not support the ministry’s position. In 2017 Poland obtained about 78% of its power by burning coal.

Will climate cash for developing world meet the UN 2020 goal?

A UN report says that wealthier donor countries are over $20bn short of their 2020 target to help poorer nations fight climate change. Rich nations delivered about $55bn in climate aid in 2016, or more than $70bn if private capital is included, falling short of the $100bn per year that rich countries have been promising poorer countries since 2009. The $100bn pledge by the wealthier nations was one of the main reasons why developing countries could agree to limit warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, but now it has become a contentious issue.

Experts also point out that the US struck a blow at the Paris Agreement days before climate conference at Katowice, Poland. In a UN report on climate finance, it has reportedly forced the erasure of all explicit references to the responsibility of developed countries for providing funds and resources to the developing countries for tackling climate change.

BASIC urges rich countries to scale up climate finance goals

Ahead of the UN climate conference, the BASIC (Brazil, S Africa, India, China) conference in India called upon rich countries to scale up financial support and finalise a new collective finance goal in time for the global stock-take in 2023, which would inform parties of future action through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The programme is expected to be adopted at the UN conference, COP24, in Katowice, Poland next month.

Days before 2018 UN climate talks, Brazil abandons plans to host 2019 climate talks

Days before this year’s climate talks in Katowice, Poland, Brazil has backed out from the commitment to host crucial UN climate talks in 2019. Just two months ago it had won the bid to host the COP25. Now, its one-month old new government of climate-sceptic, far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, has rejected the offer to stage the event citing “budget restrictions,” reports said. Brazil, has been an important player in climate talks and its abrupt exit is a major blow to global efforts to reduce global warming.

China says it will strive to do better to cut emissions

China has said it will strive to do better on cutting its greenhouse gas emissions – and reiterated its seriousness to tackle climate change. China is the world’s largest source of CO2 emissions, but has pledged to halt its rise in emissions by “around 2030” by promoting more energy efficiency and clean energy.

Its CO2 emissions had declined successively from 2014-2016 before spiking again in 2017 – prompting fears that its targets had been too conservative to begin with.

Marshall Islands holds first virtual climate summit, submits first binding climate plan to UNFCCC

The Marshall Islands led the way as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) by holding the world’s first online climate summit. The 48 climate-vulnerable member nations of the CVF also issued the Jumemmej Declaration, which urges the world to raise its climate ambition by 2020 (at COP24) and facilitate robust international finance to safeguard the most vulnerable from climate impacts.

The Marshall Islands interestingly also became the first country to submit its new, binding national climate targets to the UNFCCC and urged the rest of the countries to follow suit by 2020.

Vanuatu may become first Pacific island nation to sue Big Oil over climate change

The Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu may become the first Pacific island nation to sue Big Oil over their role in driving climate change – and demand that the oil majors pay for the losses and damage it stands to suffer from worsening extreme weather events. Vanuatu lost 64% of its GDP to 2015’s Cyclone Pam, and several of its 82 volcanic islands may submerge under rising sea levels.

The oil majors have already been sued by the Philippines, California’s crab fishermen and the state of New York over expanding their fossil fuel businesses – despite having known of its consequences for climate change. New York’s lawsuit has however been dismissed.

European Commission urged to detail EU’s pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050

The European Commision has been urged to lay out a “credible and detailed” pathway for the EU’s transition to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 – before the EU executive releases its eight pathways on November 28 for the bloc to follow a Paris Agreement-compliant growth trajectory up to 2050.

The request has been signed by 10 member nations – including the Netherlands – and was pushed forward despite strong opposition from Poland, which is heavily reliant on coal-fired power.

The Netherlands government, however, has meanwhile re-appealed against a court’s order for it to slash the country’s emissions by 25% over 1990 levels by 2020 – saying that the ruling impinges on the government’s freedom to decide on how to reduce emissions. It has so far only managed to reduce emissions by 13%.

Brazil’s new president appoints climate denier as foreign minister

Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has named anti-globalist diplomat Ernesto Araújo as his new foreign minister.  Araújo has in the past accused the Left of using the environmental cause ‘to serve their political project of total domination’. Araújo has also praised US president Donald Trump, and currently runs Brazil’s US and Canada department.

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