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On the eve of the next global climate change conference to be held in Poland in December, and following the release of a special report by the International Panel on Climate Change that highlights the urgent need for action by governments, industries and individuals to contain global warming, Panos Caribbean is launching a new regional campaign to support the Caribbean and other vulnerable countries in the fight against climate change.
The face of the campaign is a new, powerful painting by Saint Lucian – American artist Jonathan Gladding. It pictures a young girl with her body almost entirely submerged by sea-level rise, and with her fingers sending the desperate message that she needs #1point5tostayalive.
Saint Lucian poet and playwright Kendel Hippolyte, who played a lead role in the campaign to secure the historic Paris Agreement in 2015, has called on Caribbean artists to add their voice to the call for decisive global action against climate change.
Click on the image above to obtain and download large-resolution.
“We cannot look at our children and grandchildren and say we did nothing or we did not know what to do. Whatever artistic gift we have – and whatever rewards it brings or we hope it will bring – will not mean a thing if all we hand over to our descendants is a planet that is their funeral pyre even while they are alive,” says Hippolyte.
Hippolyte has also revealed that he is working on a new theme song, entitled “1.5 Is Still Alive”, in collaboration with musician and humanitarian Taj Weekes. As was done in 2015 with the theme song of the campaign leading to the Paris conference, this project will bring together a number of well-known Caribbean singers.
“In a campaign such as this,” says Panos Caribbean’s coordinator Yves Renard, “artists play a pivotal role, because their voices are known and credible, and because they are able to convey messages in ways that resonate with the culture, feelings and concerns of people and communities. We encourage all organisations,” Renard said, “to reproduce Jonathan Gladding’s beautiful painting and use it to convey the urgency of action.”
The Paris Agreement signed at the historic climate conference in 2015 called on all countries “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase … to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial average”. Climate change experts now confirm that global warming is on track to break the 1.5°C mark by around 2040.
PICTURED, LEFT: SAINT LUCIAN – AMERICAN ARTIST JONATHAN GLADDING
Experts agree that an increase of average global temperature above 1.5°C will have disastrous impacts on the Caribbean and other vulnerable regions of the world, but they also believe that it is possible to contain global warming, that we have the technology to reduce our impact on the climate. “It is still possible to contain the rise of global temperature, but that will not happen unless governments and businesses in the largest emitting countries are prepared to take radical measures and unless everybody, from the schoolchild to the government official, from the technician to the parent, from the wise elder to the young dreamer, contributes their pebble or their stone towards building a bulwark against climate change.”
This regional awareness campaign is supported by the Caribbean Development Bank and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat, the OECS Commission and other regional entities.
CREDIT: PANOS Caribbean
Caribbean Climate released a widely reviewed post called COP 19 – Five things the Caribbean anticipates in the lead up to the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC and the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Several decisions were taken at the event in Warsaw, Poland that are of particular relevance and importance to the Caribbean.
The region successfully lobbied for the establishment of a Loss and Damage Mechanism. The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage consists of an Executive Committee, which will develop the modalities to assist developing countries that suffer loss and damage from extreme events and slow onset events precipitated by climate change. While it does not explicitly mention a compensation mechanism as demanded by vulnerable countries, it does not prohibit the Executive Committee from discussing it. The Mechanism has been established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework even though the position of the Caribbean is that loss and damage goes beyond what can be accomplished through adaptation.
Agreement reached to reduce emissions from the forest sector in developing countries. Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States of America pledged US$280 million to support these actions. This will be of particular relevance to CARICOM countries such as Belize, Guyana and Suriname.
The Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) reached its target of mobilizing US$100 million to fund the six projects in its pipeline. These include a project in Belize, which had been submitted by PACT, one of only two National Implementing Entities (NIE) in the Caribbean accredited to the Adaptation Fund. The other NIE is in Jamaica, which has also received funding for its project.
The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) is now fully operational. This follows the COP's adoption of CTCN's modalities and procedures. Starting December 8, 2013, Caribbean countries can submit their technology requests to the CTCN, which is hosted by UNEP's Danish office.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been operationalized. Developed countries have been asked to channel a significant portion of their US$100 billion per annum pledge for climate change though the GCF. The Board of the GCF has been tasked with ensuring that there is an equitable balance of funding for both adaptation and mitigation. All developing countries are eligible for funding from the GCF.
Parties to the Convention agreed to continue to work towards establishing a new legally binding climate change agreement by 2015. This would be achieved through the convening of a high-level Ministerial dialogue in June next year to increase the mitigation pledges by developed countries and the summit to be convened by the Secretary General of the UN in September 2014. A draft negotiating text should be available at COP 20 next year to enable Parties to finalize the agreement in Paris at COP 21 in December 2015.
We welcome these developments and will continue to advance the region’s interest.
The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC and the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will take place next week (November 11-22). The conference will be held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland.
Five possible outcomes that will benefit the Caribbean:
COP 19 is billed by many as the "Finance COP". A Ministerial high level segment will address issues on long term financing for developing countries. A pathway detailing how donor countries will honour the US$100 billion a year by 2020 pledge made at the 2009 U.N summit in Copenhagen, accompanied by interim targets and a private sector engagement plan would benefit the region.
Currently, there’s no specific date for donor pledges to begin, but developing countries have already contributed a majority of emissions reductions even without promised support from developed countries.
Operationalization of REDD+ activities. The region's heavily forested countries, particularly Belize and Guyana, are facing increased deforestation and would benefit from comprehensive programmes aimed at addressing this problem.
Raise mitigation ambition. The development of a road map to use the Ministerial summit scheduled for next year to increase the level of mitigation ambition, specifically cutting emissions substantially to limit global warming to 2°C.
Establish Loss and Damage Mechanism. A decision to establish such a mechanism would allow for the provision of compensation to countries that have suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable damage and loss due to climate change.
Draft the new CCA. A significant shift from general discussions to the drafting stage for the new climate change agreement (CCA), the successor to Kyoto, would advance the likelihood that the negotiating text can be produced by the end of 2014 and ultimately allow for copious perusal and discussion.
Under Decision 1/COP.17, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was given the ambitious mandate: first, to deliver by 2015 a new international climate change agreement that brings all Parties together in taking action on climate change, and second, to undertake essential work on enhancing pre-2020 mitigation ambition. Success depends on all Parties and the Co-Chairs of the ADP working together to make the best use of the time available, guided by a clear plan of work.
**Bookmark this page for regular updates from the 5Cs’s delegation at COP 17.