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PRESS RELEASE – “1 point 5 to stay alive”, the Caribbean speaks to the world at global Climate Change Conference

PRESS RELEASE – Bonn, Germany. 13 November 2017.  “1 point 5 to stay alive”, the Caribbean speaks to the world at global Climate Change Conference

“1.5 is a matter of necessity,” said University of the West Indies’ Professor Michael Taylor, speaking at an event convened by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) as part of the Conference on Climate Change, COP23, taking place in Germany until the end of this week.

Prof. Taylor was at the time delivering the main results of a study funded by the CDB, a study that has brought together 45 Caribbean scientists from 11 regional institutions to examine and compare the implications of climate change for the region.

The facts speak for themselves. On average, the temperature on this planet has already increased by 1 degree Celsius over what it was before the world began to industrialise, and the impacts of that increase are there for all to see.

In the Caribbean, global warming has already resulted in more intense hurricanes with stronger winds and much more rain, but it is also responsible: for increases in both air and ocean temperature; for more very hot days and nights; for longer and more frequent periods of drought; for an increase in very heavy rainfall events; and for sea-level rise and coastal erosion.

Climate change is real, and things can only get worse, but the question is: how much worse? This is the question that was at the centre of the climate change negotiations in Paris two years ago, and this is why the Caribbean considered it a success that the Paris Agreement made a commitment to an increase of “not more than 2 degrees”, trying to achieve the target of 1.5 degrees.

“This 1.5 Caribbean project,” said Prof. Taylor, “is the region doing its own science, putting Caribbean science in the literature of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”

And the messages from that research are clear. With ‘business as usual’, temperatures will increase by at least 2.5 degrees by the end of the century, reaching 1.5 degrees in the late 2020s, and 2 degrees in the 2050s.

“At 2 degrees, we would have a significantly harsher climate. We would be moving into the realm of the unprecedented. It’s a matter of compromise,” said Prof. Taylor, “even a 1.5 degree temperature increase will be very problematic.”

The message that the Caribbean is giving at the UN Conference is therefore one of urgency, a message that was echoed by Saint Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, who spoke at the session and who is attending the Conference in his capacity as CARICOM Lead on Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

“The Caribbean and other small island developing states (SIDS) have been patiently waiting for the world to get its act together,” said PM Chastanet, “but we now need action; we don’t have the ability to wait any longer, we need investment to build our resilience. Financing is a major constraint, and we now need a dedicated source of funds to support resilience building, specifically for the SIDS”.

The need for accessible and appropriate financing was also stressed by Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and current Chairman of CARICOM, who declared that “we need funding for adaptation but, with the projected impact of a 1.5 increase, adaptation is not enough, thus our call for a more comprehensive regime on Loss and Damage.”

“Since the Climate Change Conference of 2009 in Copenhagen, when the message of 1 point 5 to stay alive was first sent out, the Caribbean has been advocating that a target of 1.5 degrees is both necessary and feasible,” said Dr Kenrick Leslie, the Executive Director of the CCCCC.

At the Bonn Conference this year, thanks to the work of Prof. Taylor and other Caribbean scientists, and to the tireless work of Caribbean delegates in these critical negotiations, this message is coming across even louder and stronger, backed by the highly credible scientific work of the region’s scientific community.

For more information, contact climate.justice@panoscaribbean.org and visit www.1point5.info and https://www.facebook.com/savethecaribbean/

Nicaragua signs the Paris Agreement while UN urges the world to upscale climate policies

A month after Nicaragua announced its intention to join the Paris Agreement, the country officially committed to the landmark climate accord, – one day after UNFCCC published a new report urging policymakers to upscale existing and new climate policies in order for the Paris goals to be met.

President Daniel Ortega had announced his plans to sign the Paris Agreement last month, during a meeting with a delegation of Senior Executives from the World Bank.

Nicaragua’s Nationally Determined Contributions haven’t been submitted yet, but the country is already considered a renewable energy paradise, as it currently produces more than 50 percent of its power needs from clean energy and aims to increase this to 90 percent by 2020.

Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s Vice President and First Lady commented that the Paris Agreement “is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters”.

Nicaragua constitutes a developing country, which is however threated disproportionally from the impacts of climate change like extreme weather events and it is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes.

In 2015, it refused to sign the Paris accord as it claimed the Agreement was too weak and it did not protect developing countries from climate change.

However, President Daniel Ortega decided that Nicaragua’s decision to join the Agreement will be done in support of these nations.

He had said: “We have to be in solidarity with this large number of countries that are the first victims, who are already the victims and are the ones who will continue to suffer the impact of these disasters and that are countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, of the Caribbean, which are in highly vulnerable areas”.

To date, 169 countries have ratified the agreement and 165 countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

On Monday, UNFCCC published its “Climate Action Now: Summary for Policymakers 2017” based on recommendations from the Technical Expert Meetings on climate change mitigation and adaptation held in May 2017 in Bonn, and as part of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action that is working to support INDCs and National Climate Action Plans.

The report shed light on the importance of coordination and coherence of all three global agendas related to climate change, i.e. the Paris Agreement, the UN SDGs, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

For example, climate change mitigation action can bring co-benefits for adaptation and sustainable development; renewables can increase access to electricity as well as reduce emissions and more efficient and sustainable agriculture and forestry can contribute to adaptation too.

In addition, it stressed the importance of data and information availability, as a lot of data about the impacts of climate change and the associated risks are not available for many countries.

The report also mentions the complexity of measuring and verifying emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use, stressing that this needs to be addressed soon.

You can read the full “Climate Action Now: Summary for Policymakers 2017” report here.

Credit: Climate Action Programme

CCCCC at Bonn Climate Change Talks

Delegates gather for the first day of the Bonn Climate Change Conference. Photo Credit: IISD

On May 10, 2017, Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) will share the reasons behind the Caribbean’s decision to support the campaign to keep global temperature rise at 1.5 degree, as an expert at the Research Dialogue in Bonn, Germany.

Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor, CCCCC

Dr Trotz was invited to the Climate Talks in response to the call for the scientific community to provide information about the differences between 1.5 and two-degrees change in future temperatures, and the effects on climate change. One of the objectives of the Paris Agreement -signed by 195 countries in 2016- is to limit global warming to limit it to 1.5 degrees instead of the two degrees that has been proposed. The Caribbean and other small island states are proposed the former, because many small island states are already experiencing climate change and at two degrees, many others would be inundated by rising seas.

Mr. Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer, CCCCC and Chair of the SBSTA. Photo Credit: IISD

Mr Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Centre is also attending the Talks as a member of the Belize delegation. He is currently the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advise (SBSTA) which is convening its 46th session.

The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) are also holding their sessions in Bonn. The focus of these Climate Change Talks is to further the implementation of the Paris Agreement by drafting the so-called “rulebook” to guide its implementation.

Application of the ‘rulebook’ will require decisions on the transparency reporting guidelines, accounting, cooperative approaches of both market and non-market natures, nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and their means of implementation which include the provision and reporting of finance provided and received, technology development and transfer and capacity building. The standing issues on the SBSTA and SBI agendas are also being considered which include issues related to adaptation, mitigation, agriculture, land use change and forestry and response measures.

The Centre also organized a side event on May 8 to showcase its collaboration as part of a consortium to provide advice on the development of the transparency framework under the Paris Agreement.

The Bonn Climate Change Talks commenced on Monday 8 May and will conclude on Thursday 18 May. The talks will set the stage for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) which will be convened in Bonn in November. COP 23 will be held under the Presidency of Fiji and will mark the first occasion in which a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) holds the Presidency of the COP.

Study: Climate change will lead to annual coral bleaching in the Caribbean

 

Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Photo Credit: Paul Marshall

A new study has predicted that if current trends continue and the world fails to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nearly all of the world’s coral reefs, including many in the Caribbean, will suffer severe bleaching — the gravest threat to one of the Earth’s most important ecosystems — on annual basis.

The finding is part of a study funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners, which reviewed new climate change projections to predict which corals will be affected first and at what rate.

The report is published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Researchers found that the reefs in Taiwan and the Turks and Caicos archipelago will be among the first to experience annual bleaching, followed by reefs off the coast of Bahrain, in Chile and in French Polynesia.

Calling the predictions “a treasure trove” for environmentalists, the head of the UN agency, Erik Solheim, said the projects allow conservationists and governments to prioritise reef protection.

“The projections show us where we still have time to act before it’s too late,” Solheim said.

On average, the reefs started undergoing annual bleaching from 2014, according to the study.

Without the required minimum of five years to regenerate, the annual occurrences will have a deadly effect on the corals and disrupt the ecosystems which they support, UNEP said.

However, it said that if governments act on emission reduction pledges made in the Paris Agreement, which calls on countries to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius, the corals would have another 11 years to adapt to the warming seas.

Between 2014 and 2016, UNEP said the world witnessed the longest global bleaching event recorded.

Among the casualties, it said, was the Great Barrier Reef, with 90 per cent of it bleached and 20 per cent of the reef’s coral killed.

Credit: Jamaica ObserverUnited Nations Environment Programme

22nd COP of the UNFCCC & the Entry into force of the Paris Agreement

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is scheduled to take place from 7-18 November 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco. COP22 will build on last year’s Conference of Parties in Paris (COP21) and begin preparations for entry into force of the Paris Agreement, focusing on action to achieve the commitments of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

See: Side Events & Exhibits | UN Climate Change Conference November 2016 (COP 22/CMP 12/CMA 1)
The Paris Agreement in a Nutshell from Track 0 on Vimeo.

This three minute video explains all you need to know about the 2015 Paris Agreement and how it will help to address climate change and promote the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Paris Agreement enters into force today, 4 November 2016, creating binding commitments. The video highlights the need for further ambition by governments and businesses.

Peruse articles related to the Paris Agreement and what it means for the Caribbean below:

Paris Agreement- Status of Ratification

Why is COP 21 Important for the Caribbean? 11 points our negotiators are championing

Credit: Track0 Vimeo Video; UNFCCC Secretariat

For more inforemation, please contact UNFCCC Secretariat   
Phone: +49-228 815-1000;Fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int  

Paris Agreement to enter into force as EU agrees ratification

The European Parliament has approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the European Union today.

With today’s European Parliament approval of the Paris Agreement ratification – in the presence of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the President of COP 21 Ségolène Royal – the last hurdle is cleared. The political process for the European Union to ratify the Agreement is concluded.

* President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union Speech on 14 September called for a swift ratification of the agreement.

He said: “Slow delivery on promises made is a phenomenon that more and more risks undermining the Union’s credibility. Take the Paris agreement. We Europeans are the world leaders on climate action. It was Europe that brokered the first-ever legally binding, global climate deal. It was Europe that built the coalition of ambition that made agreement in Paris possible. I call on all Member States and on this Parliament to do your part in the next weeks, not months. We should be faster.” Today this is happening.

President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today the European Union turned climate ambition into climate action. The Paris Agreement is the first of its kind and it would not have been possible were it not for the European Union.  Today we continued to show leadership and prove that, together, the European Union can deliver.”

The Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “The European parliament has heard the voice of its people. The European Union is already implementing its own commitments to the Paris Agreement but today’s swift ratification triggers its implementation in the rest of the world.”

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Our collective task is to turn our commitments into action on the ground. And here Europe is ahead of the curve. We have the policies and tools to meet our targets, steer the global clean energy transition and modernise our economy. The world is moving and Europe is in a driver’s seat, confident and proud of leading the work to tackle climate change”.

So far, 62 parties, accounting for almost 52 % of global emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 parties, representing at least 55% of global emissions have ratified. The EU ratification and deposit will cross the 55% emission threshold and therefore trigger the entry into force of the Paris Agreement.

The EU, which played a decisive role in building the coalition of ambition making the adoption of the Paris Agreement possible last December, is a global leader on climate action. The European Commission has already brought forward the legislative proposals to deliver on the EU’s commitment to reduce emissions in the European Union by at least 40% by 2030.

Next steps

With today’s approval by the European Parliament, the Council can formally adopt the Decision. In parallel the EU Member States will ratify the Paris Agreement individually, in accordance with their national parliamentary processes.

More information

Conclusions of the Extraordinary Environmental Council from 30 September 2016:
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/env/2016/09/30/

Statement by the Commission following the Ministers approval of the ratification:
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-16-3265_en.htm

Commission’s proposal for the EU ratification of the Paris Agreement from June 2016:
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2067_en.htm

Commission’s assessment of the implications of the Paris Agreement for the EU from March 2016:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-502_en.htm

Speech by President Juncker at the Leaders Event of the COP21 in Paris:
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-15-6211_en.htm

Commission’s reaction following the historic climate deal in Paris on 12 December 2015:
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6308_en.htm

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

Credit: European Commission Press Release Database

Guyana emerging as a ‘green state’

granger_un2.jpg

President David Granger of Guyana addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 71st session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

 

Underscoring the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, the president of Guyana highlighted that his country will continue to pursue a ‘green’ economy and will be a reliable and cooperative partner in international efforts to protect the earth’s environment.

“[Guyana] realizes that the establishment of a ‘green state’ is consistent with building climate resilience while mitigating the effects of climate change,” President David Granger said in his address on Tuesday morning.

“Guyana promises to work towards the [2030] Agenda’s goals (SDGs), particularly, by contributing to limiting increases in global temperatures; and to work towards a ‘green path’ of development that is in accord with the [Paris] Agreement’s nationally-determined commitments,” he added.

Making specific reference to the importance of Goal 13 that calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impact as well as the Paris Agreement’s obligation to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius, the president informed the General Assembly that Guyana is developing a comprehensive emissions reduction programme as part of its responsibility to contribute to global solutions to the threat of climate change.

“However,” he stated, “all our efforts – nationally, regionally and globally – the advancement of development in an environment of peace and stability are being challenged by the territorial ambitions of our neighbour, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” referring to an “external assault on Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The president also hailed the efforts of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his leadership of the organization and, especially, for his commitment to sustainable development that was illustrated in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the Paris Agreement.

In conclusion, he stressed the importance of a collective commitment by the international community to collaborate with small states, including Guyana, to pursue a low-carbon, low-emission path to sustainable development and to constraining the rise in global temperature.

Credit: Caribbean News Now!

World Meteorological Organization first UN agency to formalize relationship with GCF

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations’ authority on the state of the planet’s atmosphere and climate, has become the first UN specialized agency to formalize its relationship with the Green Climate Fund (GCF). By signing its accreditation master agreement with GCF, the WMO can now receive financial resources for climate action programmes and projects.

This development represents an important milestone for both GCF and the UN system, signaling the role of the Fund in supporting other international organizations advance low-emission and carbon-resilient programmes and projects through GCF in developing countries.

The WMO joins the rank of other Accredited Entities that have concluded their accreditation master agreements with GCF: Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA) of Morocco; Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC); Centre de Suivi Écologique (CSE) of Senegal; and Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia.

“The Green Climate Fund is pleased to have the World Meteorological Organization as the first UN organization to formalize its relationship with the Fund,” said Héla Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director of GCF. “As the lead coordinating body for global climate research, the WMO brings a high level of expertise and a unique perspective to strengthen the support GCF will provide to countries in implementing the Paris Agreement,” she said.

An accreditation master agreement is the central instrument in the relationship between GCF and an Accredited Entity. It sets out the basic terms and conditions as to how the accredited entity and GCF can work together for the use of GCF resources.

In addition to WMO, several other UN system organizations are in the process of finalizing their respective accreditation master agreement with the Fund.

The Geneva-based WMO is a specialized agency of the UN with 191 Member States, providing an intergovernmental framework for global cooperation on climate issues. It is also host to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the international body for the assessment of the science related to climate change that was set up in 1988 by WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Credit: Green Climate Fund

GWP Launches Global Support Programme for NDCs, Water, Climate, and Development

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Ms Christiana Figueres, Morocco’s Delegate Minister of Environment Ms Hakima El Haite, GWP Executive Secretary Mr Rudolph Cleveringa.

Global Water Partnership (GWP) has launched a global programme to assist countries to implement the adaptation component of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – the climate plans submitted to the UNFCCC ahead of the Paris Agreement.

The launch took place at this year’s UNFCCC climate conference in Bonn, SB44. The event was attended by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Ms Christiana Figueres and COP 22 host, Morocco’s Delegate Minister of Environment Ms Hakima El Haite, who both opened the session together with GWP Executive Secretary Mr Rudolph Cleveringa.

“NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and Adaptation is at the heart of the urgency”, said Ms Figueres. She reported that 85% of NDCs include adaptation.

Mr Cleveringa said that GWP will support countries to develop investment plans for water-related commitments in their NDCs, and he called for the urgent need to act on water, now.

“Water is the most cited ‘sector’ in NDCs. By the end of November 2015, 129 countries (including the EU), submitted their NDCS to the UNFCCC. 92% of them included water as a priority”, he said – adding that water also topped the list of the global top 10 risks to business and economic progress, according to the 2015 World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report.

Morocco’s Minister of Environment, Ms Hakima El Haite, welcomed GWP’s support to assist countries in implementing their adaptation commitments in NDCs.

‘Poor countries are not ready and need support to develop national adaptation plans. When we started to talk about adaptation, it was to make the voices of the most vulnerable heard’, said Minister El Haite.

Ms Figueres encouraged all countries to finish or at least start their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). The UNFCCC Chief also encouraged countries to consider adopting the 1.5 degrees in the Paris Agreement as the target for mitigation and 2 degrees as the target for countries to prepare adaptation plans.

“This is not an official position of the Parties, but can be a way forward to help countries prepare for adaptation”, she said.

Welcoming the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the SDG goal on water in 2015, the GWP Executive Secretary stressed that SDGs and NDCs provide an opportunity for countries to put water on national agendas.

The adaptation component of NDCs provides an opportunity for countries to outline current and future actions to improve water security. For many countries, water security is key for climate change adaptation and essential to economic development.

GWP recognizes the challenge that many countries face in adapting to climate risks. Many countries faced challenges in preparing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Many will face challenges in implementing their actions in NDCs. Mr Cleveringa reported five priorities for GWP’s global support programme on NDCs, Water, Climate and Development:

  1. Support to formulation of NDC road maps and implementation at the national and subsector level. This will be linked to existing and planned adaptation activities such as NAPs and other water-related strategies.
  2. Support to formulation of NDC investment plans. This includes estimating the finance and investment requirements, sources of finance, linking national budget planning processes to medium term expenditure frameworks, absorption, financial management capacity, and potential to mobilise private investments.
  3. Support to project preparation and development of funding proposals to implement NDC investment plans. Countries will be assisted to prepare proposals for submission to international climate funds such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and others.
  4. Capacity development for planning, implementation, and monitoring of NDC activities.
  5. Promote south-south cooperation and coordination at all levels in implementation of NDCs, NAPs, and SDGs.

Mr Mohamed Benyahia, COP 22 Head of Side Events and member of the COP 22 Steering Committee from Morocco government applauded the partnership between Morocco and GWP. ‘This is just a beginning, an important step for south-south cooperation as we progress towards Marrakesh in COP 22.’

Mr Alex Simalabwi, GWP’s lead on climate change, lauded the partnership with Morocco and announced that the support on NDCs builds on GWP’s flagship programme on water, climate, and development, and associated programmes on drought and flood management, jointly implemented with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Since 2012, GWP, through its climate programme, has assisted over 60 countries on four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Caribbean) to integrate water security and climate resilience into national development.

Credit: Global Water Partnership

CCCCC Represented at Bonn Climate Change Talks

Bonn Climate Change Conference Photo Credit: (UNFCCC)

Bonn Climate Change Conference
Photo Credit: (UNFCCC)

 

Mr Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer, is representing the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) at the meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Bonn, Germany from 16 to 26 May 2016.

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer (CCCCC)

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer (CCCCC)

 

Mr. Fuller was elected as the Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) held in Paris, France this past December. He will hold the post for one year. The other two subsidiary bodies which will be meeting in Bonn are the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA). On Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 Mr. Fuller met with the delegations representing the Least Developed Countries (LDC) to brief them on how he proposed to conduct the work of the SBSTA at the session. He will provide similar briefings to the other negotiating groups on Friday, Saturday and Sunday prior to the opening of the negotiating sessions on Monday.

 

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