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GWP-C and CCCCC Partner with Caribbean Water Sector Stakeholders to Develop Green Climate Fund Projects

May 27th – 29th, 2019 | St. George’s, Grenada. The Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) in partnership with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), is convening a regional project development workshop at St. George’s University in Grenada from May 27th – 29th, 2019. The workshop is titled “An Approach to Develop a Regional Water Sector Programme for Building Resilience to Climate Change.”

The focus of the 3-day workshop, is to strengthen the capacity of Caribbean Water Utilities and Government Ministries with responsibility for Water Resources Management, in developing climate resilient water proposals, with the objective of preparing a Regional Water Sector Programme for the submission to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). More than twenty (20) representatives from ten (10) Caribbean countries will participate in the regional workshop. These countries include: Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonewealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and The Bahamas.

The workshop will provide participants with knowledge on the GCF and funding opportunities, as well as introduce them to the GCF concept note and funding proposal template. Additionally, stakeholders will be able to identify priority activities and actions for the water sector and utilities in the Caribbean. This would feed into identifying next steps to further develop the Regional Programme for approval by the GCF.

The importance of the workshop cannot be overstated, as Caribbean Small Island Developing States are some of the most vulnerable islands to the impacts of Climate Change in the world, with water scarcity ranking as the most critical resource under threat. Addressing this existential threat, requires urgent action to mitigate its long-term impacts and accessing funding to do so is urgently needed.

GWP-C’s mission is to support Caribbean countries in the sustainable management of their water resources. While the CCCCC, as a regional entity accredited by the GCF, has the mandate to coordinate the Caribbean’s response to climate change. This collaboration between GWP-C and CCCCC, therefore presents a combination of knowledge and experience to foster building climate resilience in the Caribbean water sector. The ultimate objective being to make the Caribbean Water Secure.

For more information on the Regional Workshop please contact:
Gabrielle Lee Look
Communications Officer
Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C)
E-mail: gleelook@gwp-caribbean.org
Website: http://www.gwp-caribbean.org

Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Japan in Belize visits the CCCCC

Belmopan, Belize; May 21, 2019 – Today, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) welcomed Mr Hiroyoki Kubota, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Japan in Belize, to its offices in Belmopan. 

The meeting commenced with a small team from the CCCCC led by the Executive Director, Dr Kenrick Leslie, providing an overview of the Centre’s mandates and its work to support the people of the Caribbean in addressing the impacts of climate variability and change.

In response to questions from Mr Kubota, Dr Leslie gave a synopsis of the Centre’s projects, programmes and initiatives outlining its cross-sector approach on all aspects of sustainable development and climate change adaptation and mitigation activities.

Dr Leslie expressed the Centre’s interest in working with the government of Japan as he noted, much of the Centre’s success is achieved through strong collaborations with regional and international partner institutions and organisations.

GCF Visits CCCCC during Strategic Mission to Belize

BELMOPAN: May 20, 2019: A team from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) visited the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) May 6-8 and May 14-15, 2019 while on a mission to Belize to strengthen its engagement with its partners. 

During the visit, the GCF team comprising of Mr Keith Alger, Entity Relations Specialist; Dr Patrick Van Laake, Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist at GCF; and Mrs Neranda Maurice-George, Regional GCF Advisor for the Caribbean; held meetings with CCCCC’s executive director Dr Kenrick Leslie and senior officers from the Centre, to discuss and evaluate the progress and challenges of the Belize Readiness and other projects.

On Monday, May 6, the GCF Team accompanied by Dr Leslie, a team of officers from the Centre and Ambassador Yvonne Hyde, who serves as Belize’s National Designated Authority (NDA), visited the Arundo donax project site and the Belize Sugar Industry in Orange Walk, proposed site for a GCF Simplified Approval Process (SAP) project currently in the pipeline. While at the sugar Factory they witnessed the combustion of Arundo donax (wild cane) fibres at the Belize Cogeneration Energy Company (Belcogen). 

Belcogen plant is experimenting with Arundo donax under a GCF funded project preparation facility to investigate to viability of the wild cane as an alternative source of energy.

The Arundo donax Renewable Energy Project in Belize was the Caribbean’s first project preparation facility (PPF) for which the GCF provided US$694,000 in grant funding to investigate the use of the wild cane as an alternative source of fuel.

During the visit to Orange Walk, the team also met with sugarcane growers’ associations and visited the Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) variety research lab, the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI) and several farms. They heard ‘first-hand’ the climate change effects impacting sugarcane farmers and their families, as well as, observed ongoing efforts to address the impacts.  

The GCF Team met with officers at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in Belmopan, Belize on May 7, 2019.

At a meeting at the CCCCC’s Belmopan offices on Tuesday, May 7, Dr Leslie expressed gratitude for the guidance provided by the GCF’s support team during the Centre’s accreditation process in 2015 and during the project development and approval processes. He noted the timeliness of the GCF Mission to Belize and voiced his satisfaction with what he saw at the various sites visited during the field trip, and the importance of the projects to help communities mitigate and adapt to climate change. He thanked the GCF for their continued support for project development, approval and implementation processes.

In addressing the Centre’s executive and senior officers, Dr Alger outlined the plan of engagement, noting that while in Belize, his team would provide an update on the revised GCF rules and processes. He provided information on the Fund’s role and its direction under the new GCF Executive Director, Mr Yannick Glemarec. 

While in Belize the GCF reviewed and provided feedback on the Centre’s pipeline projects and other projects submitted for approval; explored areas for further collaboration and provided guidance on proposed collaborations between the CCCCC and its existing partners, while also setting the framework for and the agreement on a way forward in programming and the Centre’s readiness and re-accreditation.

Since February 2018, the CCCCC has received more than US$38.54 million in GCF grant funding for the implementation of Climate Change and readiness projects in several countries. These include the implementation of the WSRN S-Barbados Project, a project preparation grant for the Arundo donax Renewable Energy Project, and Country Readiness grants for Belize, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

On Friday, May 10, 2019, the Centre launched the first single-country investment by the GCF in the Caribbean, Water Sector Resilience Nexus for Sustainability in Barbados (WSRN S-Barbados) project.  

The CCCCC is a GCF direct-access Accredited Entity (AE) based in Belize and is the arm of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) that has the responsibility for leading climate change actions in the Caribbean. As an Accredited Entity, the Centre is positioned to assist government departments and agencies as well as private sector agencies in the Caribbean to access GCF funding for climate adaptation and mitigation project grants of up to US$50 Million per project. The Centre is also prepared to partner with other regional institutions to increase the region’s access to GCF and other donor funding.

The GCF is a global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenges of climate change through a network of National Designated Authorities and Accredited Entities.

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CCCCC To Launch US$45-M Water Improvement Project In Barbados

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The project is made possible through the support of the Centre’s many partners and with funding from the GCF and the GoB

BELMOPAN: May 8, 2019: A five-year multi-million dollar water improvement project that is expected to ease the chronic water woes of more than 190,000 Barbadians will be launched on Friday, May 10, 2019, at the Bowmanston Pumping Station, in St. John, Barbados. 

The Water Sector Resilience Nexus for Sustainability in Barbados (WSRN S-Barbados) is a $45.2-million investment project that is being implemented by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Government of Barbados and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA). Funding includes US$27.6 million in grants from the GCF and counterpart funding of US$17.6 from the Barbadian government.

The WSRN S-Barbados project is the GCF’s first single-country investment in the Caribbean. When complete, it should improve access to potable water, increase the Barbados water sector’s resilience to extreme climatic events; reduce water disruptions, introduce adaptation and mitigation initiatives through a revolving fund; improve resilience to climate change while building capacity and increasing public-private-partnerships and innovation for climate resilience in the sector. 

“The Centre is proud to be working with the government and people of Barbados on such an important project,” Dr Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the CCCCC said, noting:

“The measures to be undertaken under this project is expected to increase adaptation and mitigation measures in households and communities; improve the country’s food security by increasing the farmers’ access to water; reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the awareness of ordinary Barbadians to the effects of climate variability affecting the country and the wider Caribbean.”

Under the project, photovoltaic (PV) power generation systems are to be installed at the Belle, the Bowmanston and Hampton Pumping Stations to reduce the dependency of the facilities on diesel-generated electricity. Leaks are to be minimised through mains replacement and real-time monitoring. To ensure that any disruptions in the water supply would not immediately result in the loss of potable water to vulnerable sections of the population, water storage tanks and rainwater harvesting systems are to be set up in strategic locations across the island.

Mains replacement and real-time leak monitoring

The Project also includes a Revolving Adaptation Fund Facility (RAFF) to assist households, farmers and small businesses by supporting a number of climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the water sector.

The Fund aims to support the installation of water irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems as well as water saving devices in households, public buildings, hotels and in agriculture operations. The RAFF will continue to build sustainability, advance adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the island’s water sector after the project ends.

General Manager of the BWA Mr. Keithroy Halliday noted: “WSRN S-Barbados project will reduce the BWA’s carbon footprint, create a more reliable water supply and increase capacity building in the Authority. It will have a positive impact by creating resilience to severe weather events, promoting public awareness on climate change effects threatening the water supply system and highlighting ways to mitigate against it as well as improving the sustainability of the water supply system.  These initiatives collectively, are expected to assist the Government of Barbados in meeting its target of carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Project partners include the United States Agency for International Development Climate Change Adaptation Project (USAID-CCAP), the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of South Florida (USF), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).  

The CCCCC has received more than US$38.54 million in GCF grants for the implementation of Climate Change and readiness projects in several countries. These include the implementation of the WSRN S-Barbados Project, a project preparation grant for the Arundo donax Renewable Energy Project in Belize, and Country Readiness grants for Belize, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
 
The CCCCC is a GCF direct-access Accredited Entity based in Belize and is the arm of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) that has responsibility for leading climate change actions in the Caribbean. As an Accredited Entity (AE), the CCCCC is positioned to assist government departments and agencies as well as private sector agencies in the Caribbean to access GCF funding for climate adaptation and mitigation project grants of up to US$50 Million per project. The Centre is also prepared to partner with other regional institutions to increase the region’s access to GCF and other donor funding.

The GCF is a global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenges of climate change through a network of National Designated Authorities (NDAs) and Accredited Entities.

Caribbean at Annual Meeting of the AMS

Dr Leonard Nurse, Chairman of the Board and Mr Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) attended the 99th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in their personal capacities. Other participants from the Caribbean at the meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona, USA from 6 to 10 January 2019 included Dr David Farrell, Principal of the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), Mr Glendell de Souza, Deputy Coordinating Director of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) and representatives of the national Meteorological Services of the Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana and Suriname.

There were several presentations by scientists from the CIMH. Shawn Boyce presented on “Impact-Based Forecasting and Assessment in the Caribbean”.  Lawrence Pologne delivered a presentation on “The Potential, Viability and Co-benefits of Developing Wind Energy to Mitigate Climate Change in the Caribbean” based on his University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill doctoral thesis. Branden Spooner, an Intern at CIMH, presented on “Using Virtual Reality Technology as a Tool in Disaster Risk Reduction”.

There were several presentations of interest to the region. Kristie Ebi delivered on “Building Resilience of Health Systems in Pacific Island Least Developed Countries”. She also worked with Cory Morin of the University of Washington who delivered a presentation on, “Use of Seasonal Climate Forecasts to Develop an Early-Warning System for Dengue Fever Risk in Central America and the Caribbean”. They expressed an interest with collaborating with the CCCCC in developing this warning system.

The CIMH, and the national Meteorological Services of Belize and Jamaica were used in Catherine Vaughan’s, “Evaluation of Regional Climate Services: Learning from Seasonal Scale Examples across the Americas”. She is working out of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Colombia University.

Belize may find the presentation by Jorge Tamayo of the State Meteorological Agency, Spain, on “New Projects on Iberoamerican Meteorological Cooperation” of special interest. One project is on the development of a lightening detection network for Central America. They are also collaborating with the Regional Committee of Hydrological Services (CRRH) and the Central American Integration System (SICA) on a meeting in 2019 on the delivery of climate services.

In an interesting session on Communicating Climate Change, Mike Nelson of KMGH-TV in Denver Colorado, presented on “Communicating Climate Change – Be the Expert in the Living Room”, and Hank Jenkins-Smith of the University of Oklahoma delivered a presentation on “Stability and Instability in Individual Beliefs about Climate Change”. Jenkins-Smith noted that based on polling trends, conservatives were more likely to change their beliefs on climate change while liberals were more likely to retain their opinions on climate change.

In a session on Climate Extremes in the Tropical Americas: Past, Present and Future, Derek Thompson of Louisiana State University (LSU) presented on “Spatiotemporal Patterns and Recurrence Intervals of Tropical Cyclone Strikes for the Caribbean Islands from 1901 to 2017”, and Prashant Sardeshmukh, CIRES presented on “Can We Trust Model Projections of Changes in Climate Extremes over the Tropical Americas?”. He noted that dynamics played a more important role than atmospheric temperature in explaining extreme weather events. Current climate models were not capturing this aspect accurately and more work was required in this area. Kristine DeLong of LSU presented her work on “Last Interglacial Sea Surface Temperature Variability in the Tropical Atlantic Warm Pool: A Comparison of Model and Coral-Based Reconstructions”, which focused mainly on paleoclimatic reconstructions based on coral samples in the Caribbean. She noted the importance of collaboration with Caribbean institutions.

The 100th AMS Meeting will be held in Boson, Massachusetts from 12 to 16 January 2020. Caribbean meteorologists, hydrologists and climate change experts are encouraged to attend these meetings to be appraised of the most recent research on these subjects.

CARICOM Champions Science at COP 24 – Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator

The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) were among a large group of countries at COP 24 insisting that the global response to climate change be driven by science.

During 2018 the CARICOM Member States tried to include the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C as an agenda item at COP 24. However, they were unable to do so. At COP 24 they used two approaches to highlight the importance of the Special Report to the process. In the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) under the agenda item on Research and Systematic Observations (RSO), they proposed a paragraph welcoming the Special Report. Led by Ms Cheryl Jeffers of St Kitts and Nevis, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the group also tried to insert paragraphs highlighting key messages from the 2018 State of the Climate presented by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the work of a Task Force of Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Although these were supported by most of the countries present, including the African Group, the Least Developed Countries Group (LDCs), the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC) and the European Union (EU), it was opposed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the United States. As a result, when the SBSTA session ended, there were no agreed conclusions on this issue and discussions will resume at the next session in May 2019.

Undeterred, CARICOM continued to press the case the following week and were able to get reference to the IPCC Special Report in the main COP decision. It invited countries to consider the information contained in the report when they addressed relevant issues. In addition, SBSTA will discuss the contents of the report in May. IPCC assessments and reports will also be used to inform the global stocktake to be undertaken in 2023 to assess the implementation of the Paris Agreement and inform subsequent countries nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

In the decision adopting the Paris Agreement in 2015, the IPCC was requested to prepare this special report. Leonard Nurse, UWI (Barbados); Felicia Whyte, Kimberly Stephenson, Tannecia Stephenson and Michael Taylor, UWI (Jamaica); and Adelle Thomas of the University of the Bahamas contributed to the preparation of the report. During 2018 as the report was circulated for comments, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre with support from Climate Analytics and Charles and Associates organized regional workshops with CARICOM national IPCC and UNFCCC Focal Points to review the report and provide comments on its contents.

The IPCC will produce two additional special reports in 2019, and CARICOM scientists will once again play an important role in their preparation. Adrian Spence, International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (Jamaica); Kenel Delusca, Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies of Haiti; and Noureddin Benkeblia and Donovan Campbell, UWI (Jamaica) will be contributing authors to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. For the IPCC Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere on a Changing Climate, Michael Sutherland, UWI (Trinidad and Tobago) has been selected to assist in preparing the report.

COP 24 Adopts Paris Agreement Rulebook – Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator

After two weeks of intense negotiations that went 28 hours into overtime, COP 24 adopted a 133-page “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement. These rules which are contained in a series of Decisions contain the modalities and procedures on how the various articles of the Paris Agreement are to be implemented.

The COP welcomed the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to which the Parties in the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) had failed to agree the previous week. This report was used to inform the Talanoa Dialogue, which encouraged Parties to consider the outcomes of the Dialogue to inform the preparation of the NDCs and pre-2020 ambition.

Guidelines were adopted for the preparation of NDCs including common timeframes commencing in 2030. The NDCs will be posted on a Registry to be developed and maintained by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which will also include a section for Adaptation Communications. Parties agreed that the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol would serve the Paris Agreement and that it would receive the proceeds of the market mechanism established under the Paris Agreement. However, Parties could not agree on this article of the Agreement which covers cooperative approaches, and the market and non-market mechanisms. The SBSTA would continue debating these issues at this next session for a decision to be adopted at the next COP which will be held in Chile next year.

Parties agreed to commence consideration of the new goal for climate finance in 2020 utilizing the 2020 goal of USD100 billion as the starting point. In addition, as of 2020, developed countries will provide indicative information every two years on the climate financial to be provided to developing countries including the channels, instruments, targeted regions and countries, and sectors.

The modalities, procedures and guidelines of the Transparency Framework were adopted through which Parties will report on how they are implementing the provisions of the Paris Agreement. These will undergo a technical expert peer review process. The Parties also adopted the modalities and procedures which the Compliance Committee will use to assist Parties which are unable to meet their NDCs. The procedures to undertake the global stocktake (GST) in 2023 and every five years thereafter were also agreed.

The result of COP 24 is that the Parties to the Paris Agreement now have most of the tools to begin the implementation of the Agreement.

cop24

Photo courtesy: Britany Meighan

That was awkward — at world’s biggest climate conference, U.S. promotes fossil fuels

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/c5c5fb58-3b98-4d43-817e-a560e6971218

More than a dozen protestors interrupted a U.S. pro-fossil fuel event on the sidelines of the U.N. climate change talks on Dec.10. in Poland. (Reuters)

By Griff Witte andBrady Dennis

December 10; KATOWICE, Poland — President Trump’s top White House adviser on energy and climate stood before the crowd of some 200 people on Monday and tried to burnish the image of coal, the fossil fuel that powered the industrial revolution — and is now a major culprit behind the climate crisis world leaders are meeting here to address.

“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability,” said Wells Griffith, Trump’s adviser.

Mocking laughter echoed through the conference room. A woman yelled, “These false solutions are a joke!” And dozens of people erupted into chants of protest.

The protest was a piece of theater, and so too was the United States’ public embrace of coal and other dirty fuels at an event otherwise dedicated to saving the world from the catastrophic effects of climate change. The standoff punctuated the awkward position the American delegation finds itself in as career bureaucrats seek to advance the Trump administration’s agenda in an international arena aimed at cutting back on fossil fuels.

“There are two layers of U.S. action in Poland,” said Paul Bledsoe, an energy fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute and former Clinton White House climate adviser.

One is the public support of fossil fuels, which Bledsoe said is “primarily aimed at the president’s domestic political base, doubling down on his strategy of energizing them by thumbing his nose at international norms.”

The quieter half is the work of career State Department officials who continue to offer constructive contributions to the Paris climate agreement that President Trump loves to loathe.

Which facet of the American presence proves more influential in Poland could have a big impact on whether this year’s climate summit, now in its second week, ends in success or failure.

Because greenhouse gases do not pay attention to national borders, a global front on climate action is crucial. The summit provides the only venue for countries to coordinate their push to curb ongoing global warming.

“This week is going to be telling,” said Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics at the World Resources Institute.

Monday’s presentation came after a weekend in which the U.S. delegation undercut the talks by joining with major oil producers Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in blocking full endorsement of a critical U.N. climate report. The report, by some of the world’s leading scientists, found that the world has barely a decade to cut carbon emissions by nearly half to avoid catastrophic warming.

But the United States balked at a proposal to formally “welcome” the finding, setting off a dispute that, while semantic in nature, carried ominous portents that the United States could become an obstacle to progress in Katowice.

“The worrying issue is the signal that it sends,” Mountford said.

An environmental activist protests fossil fuel production Monday in front of the venue hosting the U.N. climate change summit in Katowice, Poland. (Grzegorz Celejewski/Agencja Gazeta/Reuters)

A State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the ongoing sensitivity of the talks, said negotiators “faithfully serve the administration and do their best to defend U.S. economic and other interests.”

The planned U.S. exit from the Paris accord in 2020 has left a lingering question here about which countries will commit to ramping up their ambition in the years ahead and who can serve as a unifying force if the world is serious about making the changes necessary to address climate change.

The United States’ mercurial role in Poland is far different from 2014, when President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping — whose countries account for about 45 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — struck a deal to limit those emissions in a high-profile announcement in Beijing.

Or 2015, when Obama and other top U.S. officials worked phones and backrooms, encouraging other world leaders in Paris to sign on to a deal aimed at creating a global effort to combat climate change.

Three years later, the idea of the United States as a leader at the international climate talks has evaporated. At a recent Group of 20 summit in Argentina, 19 of the 20 world leaders in attendance reiterated their commitment to climate action — only the United States stood apart. Trump has repeatedly dismissed a federal report about how climate change is already battering the states.

Behind the scenes, U.S. negotiators have soldiered on, pushing for long-held views that span several administrations, such as urging transparency in how countries report their emissions and standardizing the rules that govern the climate accord.

Those are policies “we’ve been pushing for decades. It’s not a new thing,” said Jonathan Pershing, who served during the Obama administration as the State Department’s special envoy for climate change and lead U.S. negotiator to the U.N. climate talks.

Pershing praised the career officials the administration has in Poland, calling them savvy and experienced. Likewise, other delegations have also said that U.S. officials have continued to play a key role, even if it has diminished from past years.

“The U.S. delegation is comprised of seasoned climate change negotiators. On most issues, they have maintained the positions of the previous administration. In some instances, they have remained constructively quiet. They reach out to other delegations informally to build bridges and propose solutions,” said Carlos Fuller, a negotiator for a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“This is regrettable, as some of the best climate change scientists in the world are American. A lot of the data feeding the science comes from U.S. institutions and platforms. However, the White House policy statements have forced their negotiators to take this stance,” Fuller said.

The conference in Katowice brings together delegates from nearly 200 countries to try to kick-start a process that has shown worrying signs of stalling out. The goals are to raise global ambitions in the quest to cut carbon emissions, to establish a rule book for measuring progress and to put serious financial backing behind the developed world’s support for emissions reduction among developing nations.

Much of the negotiating work is highly technical, with the big-picture framework of the Paris talks replaced by the nitty-gritty of establishing standards and protocols. It is work tailor-made for diplomats and bureaucrats, and ill suited to politicians.

Monday’s protest was part of a demonstration by activists determined to disrupt the U.S. government’s only planned public contribution to the debate at this year’s global climate conference, the most important review of progress — or lack thereof — since the meeting in Paris.

After dozens of activists had shouted, “Keep it in the ground!” and “Shame on you!” for roughly 10 minutes, they marched together from the room. In the calm that followed, administration officials continued with their pitch for carbon-capture technologies to clean up coal, hydraulic fracturing to unearth gas and a new generation of nuclear energy plants.

Scientists say that a rapid migration away from fossil fuels toward cleaner energy is essential in the quest to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. But Griffith, the White House adviser, said that an exclusive focus on wind and solar is misguided at a time when the global energy supply is still dominated by carbon. He and his colleagues touted the economic benefits of shale gas and insisted that coal can be made much less polluting given the right technology.

“Alarmism,” Griffith said, “should not silence realism.”

But with many of the alarming pronouncements coming from scientists, Griffith was pressed on whether the U.S. approach really reflected the gravity of the moment.

One audience member asked whether the U.S. government accepted the urgency embedded in the United Nations’ recent report: “Do you believe that we have 12 years to save the planet and civilization as we know it?”

Griffith declined to say.

Youth and indigenous groups protest during a U.S.-hosted event Monday at the U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland. (Frank Jordans/AP)

Credit: Washington Post

Regional Statement on the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Impacts of Global Warming of 1.5 °C Above Pre_Industrial Levels (1.5 °C Special Report) Last Updated

Photo Credit: CARICOM Secretariat

We, the Ministers responsible for addressing climate change in the Caribbean Community:

  1. Recalling the escalated climate change impacts that the region has experienced in recent years with warming of 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels, including the devastating impacts from hurricanes and tropical storms and other weather-related extreme events, and the adverse effects these impacts have had on particularly vulnerable countries and communities;
  1. Also recalling the long-standing calls from small island and low lying coastal developing states (SIDS) for limiting the increase in average global temperatures to below 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change;
  1. Mindful of decision 1/CP.21 that invited the IPCC to provide a Special Report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission pathways;
  1. Welcome the adoption of the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change and the challenges it poses to sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, which was approved in Incheon, Republic of Korea, on 6 October 2018;
  1. Note with grave concern the findings of the IPCC 1.5 °C Special Report that climate-related risks for natural and human systems including health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are significantly higher for global warming of 1.5 °C than at the present warming levels of 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels. Particularly worrisome for SIDS is the finding that 70 – 90 % of tropical coral reefs will be lost at 1.5 oC of warming and 99 % of them at 2 oC of warming;
  1. Also note with alarm the Report’s findings that global warming is likely to reach 1.5 °C between 2030 and 2052 if the global average temperature continues to increase at the current rate;
  1. Further note that there are limits to adaptation and adaptive capacity for some human and natural systems at global warming of 1.5 °C, with associated losses that could be potentially significant and costly for countries in the region;
  1. Highlight the 1.5 °C Special Report’s findings that holding warming to 1.5 oC throughout the 21st Century is technically and economically feasible and is likely to have considerable sustainable development benefits;
  1. Further highlight the report’s findings that urgent action on emissions reduction is required, bolstered by real commitment to ambitious action from Governments and non-state actors;
  1. Emphasize the report’s findings that international cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions to strengthen their action for the implementation of 1.5 °C-consistent climate responses;
  1. Reiterate accordingly the 1.5 °C Special Report’s findings that the collective mitigation efforts by countries, as expressed in their National Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, are currently inadequate and would result in temperature increases of over 3.0 °C by 2100;
  1. Affirm the importance of forests as a natural and cost effective contribution to global mitigation efforts and renew our call on all parties to recommit to enhanced ambitious action to halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation, to advance the REDD+ Framework and to optimize the contribution of forests in achieving the 1.5-degree goal;
  1. Call therefore upon the international community, starting at the upcoming 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018, to rapidly increase mitigation ambition and action with a view to achieving a decline in net carbon dioxide emissions by at least 45 % from 2010 levels by 2030, and net zero by 2050;
  1. Stress the importance of having a strong and ambitious outcome to the Talanoa Dialogue at COP 24, inclusive of a COP decision and an accompanying declaration by Ministers urging countries to bring forward substantially more ambitious mitigation efforts in their NDCs to be communicated by 2020, and encouraging countries to come forward with ambitious long-term low GHG emission development strategies by 2050 that are consistent with pathways for limiting warming to below 1.5 oand in keeping with the recognised principle of basing an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the best available scientific knowledge;
  1. Emphasize the significance of the 1.5 °C Special Report’s assessment of the work on residual risks, limits to adaptation and loss and damage, and note that these are already being experienced by SIDS in the Caribbean and other regions;
  1. Also emphasize the need to address loss and damage in SIDS and other vulnerable countries as an integral but distinct pillar of the Paris Agreement and strongly urge all countries, both developing and developed, to participate actively and meaningfully to this end;
  1. Call for the provision of adequate support to initiatives under the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, including support to enable SIDS to submit proposals to address loss and damage to the Green Climate Fund (GCF);
  1. Also call on the international community to act with utmost urgency to rapidly shift financial flows to facilitate and effect pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C;
  1. Urge developed countries on the occasion of the 2018 High-level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance at COP 24 to demonstrate progress towards the mobilization of USD 100 billion per annum by 2020 and to further demonstrate their commitment to efforts to increase that climate finance goal through to 2025;
  1. Stress the importance of achieving a balance in the provision of resources for mitigation and adaptation actions, in particular targeting the needs of SIDS for public and grant-based resources for adaptation and for addressing loss and damage from the dangerous impacts of climate change;
  1. Welcome the launch of the first formal replenishment process of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and look forward to the timely conclusion of an inclusive process and the development of a comprehensive resource mobilization strategy informed by the latest science, while taking into account the urgent needs of SIDS;
  1. Call upon Parties to ensure that market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement now go beyond offsetting to deliver an overall mitigation of global GHG emissions;
  1. Also welcome the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s convening of a UN Climate Summit in September 2019, and commit to engage constructively and participate at the highest possible level to ensure its success;
  1. Thank the IPCC for the 1.5 °C Special Report and look forward to the upcoming Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, the Special Report on Climate and Land, and the Sixth Assessment Report;
  1. Reaffirm our full support to the Republic of Poland in its capacity as the Presidency of COP 24 and encourage efforts by the COP 24 Presidency for a strong political and meaningful outcome at COP 24 aimed at continuing to build the momentum in addressing global climate change and, in particular, bringing into focus international attention on the special circumstances of SIDS.

Credit: CARICOM SECRETARIAT

ACP/EU Working Lunch Convened at COP 24

Photo Credit: Carlos Fuller

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer represented the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre at a working lunch of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Island (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) today in Katowice, Poland, the venue of COP 24.  In his opening statement Commissioner Antonio Arias Canete noted that the European Community was the largest donor to climate finance and would continue to do so referencing their latest pledges to the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund. They were committed to meeting their obligations under the Paris Agreement and would begin working on their long-term strategy towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General Dr Douglas Slater expressed the Caribbean’s appreciation to the support provided by the EU to the region in the areas of development, disaster relief and climate change. He thanked the EU for its solidarity with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in welcoming the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and for a strong outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue including a COP decision calling on Parties to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020. These sentiments were also expressed by Minister Stiell of Grenada who also highlighted the need for the inclusion in the outcome of Loss and Damage and Finance in response to the IPCC Report. The Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations echoed these sentiments and called for increased support to the region for technology transfer and capacity building.

The representative of Poland informed the meeting that the COP Presidency had now taken over the drafting of the language for the outcomes of the COP. Ministerial consultations had ended. A new clean text would be issued later today and would be debated in a Vienna style setting.

In his closing remarks, Commissioner Canete emphasized that climate change would be the cornerstone of the new ACP/EU partnership programme. He noted that the combined membership of ACP and EU States was more than half of the UN seats. Working together the group could produce great results.

The region was represented by Belize, Jamaica, and the Commission of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

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