REFLECTIONS FROM COP24 IN KATOWICE, POLAND (PART 11): CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT AT COP24, AN OVERVIEW

01By Colleen Cloonan Swain: Women’s Leadership Development and Advocacy Associate Mercy International Association: Mercy Global Action at the UN: While coinciding with the UN migration conferences in Morocco, displacement due to climate change was to be addressed at COP 24 in many forms. There continues to be widespread recognition internationally about how climate change has been and will affect the number of people migrating both internally within a country and to different countries. This year’s COP stressed the issue of “just transition” for workers as they move away from fossil fuels towards other forms of employment and decent work; this creates internal displacement as countries move towards more sustainable means of energy. The Silesia Declaration on “just transition” was signed by 50 countries and noted in the final COP text.

Furthermore, “At the Paris talks in 2015, countries agreed to establish a taskforce to 02provide recommendations on averting, minimising and addressing climate-related displacement…The recommendations of this task force were submitted and discussed in September at a meeting of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM), the formal mechanism at the UNFCCC for addressing the loss and damage caused by climate change. They were then endorsed at this year’s COP as an annex to the WIM’s final text, which “invites” countries to consider the recommendations.” It is our hope that loss and damage continues to be addressed and reviewed with more urgency.

Many UN Agencies and countries of Asia-Pacific stressed the theme of climate displacement through hosting events entitled “Climate Induced Human Mobility: Taking Stock of 3 years discussions under the UNFCCC”, “Voices from the climate frontlines: Protecting the most vulnerable and furthest behind” and “Living in the Face of Climate Change: From the Pacific Islands to the World”.

For more information on climate displacement see UNHCR’s “Key Concepts on Climate Change and Disaster Displacement or Sierra Club’s “Women on the Move in A Changing Climate.

Some events may be found via https://unfccc-cop24.streamworld.de/ondemand

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REFLECTIONS FROM COP24 IN KATOWICE, POLAND (PART 1)

01By Colleen Cloonan Swain: Women’s Leadership Development and Advocacy Associate Mercy International Association: Mercy Global Action at the UN: This past December, I was honored to attend the 24th Session of the Conference of Parities of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as COP 24. One of the main agenda items for this year’s conference was the finalization of the “Katowice Rulebook” which defines how climate action in the Paris Agreement is to be implemented and accounted for decades to come. Going into the conference, I knew these were ambitious goals but they were achievable with international cooperation and commitment.

 What were the Outcomes?

 Setbacks

 

  • Within the final text of the “Katowice Rulebook” there is no mention of human 02rights, despite the recognition of human rights within the preamble of the Paris Agreement. Negotiators were not willing to mix social policies and climate policies despite the two influencing one another.
  • Finance, the next contentious theme of COP 24, resulted in permissive texts giving wealthier Member States more flexibility with their contributions and reporting. Agreements were made to conduct negotiations on climate finance every two years after 2020.
  • Despite widespread support and recognition of the 1.5° IPCC report, four Member States (Russia, Saudi Arabia, United States, and Kuwait) were not willing to heed the urgency and need for increased ambition to stay below this temperature limit. As a result, the final text does not “welcome” the report but welcomed its “’timely completion” and “invited” countries to make use of the report in subsequent discussions at the UNFCCC’ (See CarbonBrief).
  • Although talk emphasized increased ambitions towards reducing carbon emissions, some Member States fell into the trap of placing profits over the people themselves. One strong testimony against this was from 15-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden who stated “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.” Watch her full speech here..

 

03Despite setbacks there were some positives at COP 24 as well.

For one, Member States agreed to the launch of a facilitative working group that will scale up consideration of the experiences of local communities and indigenous peoples with climate change and efforts to respond to it. Additionally, decisions will also be made at COP 25 in Chile regarding the Escazu Agreement, Latin America and the Caribbean’s first regional environmental treaty, which aims to protect the rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. These are important steps in the right direction as human rights and environmental defenders continue to risk their lives across the world.

There were also many inspiring showcases of ecosystem-based approaches and systems to aid waste reduction and promote sustainable consumption and production in many country pavilions, as well as knowledge from local communities shared (See useful resources on page 4). Lastly, the voices of civil society and youth were both strong and motivational in both the ministerial plenary sessions and events. The large presence of both civil society and youth focused discussions on ‘people over profit/polluters’ and the urgency to increase climate ambition (see picture above).

Beyond COP24

 Read more:

CarbonBrief Clear on Climatehttps://bit.ly/2rE6t83

Climate Action Network International: http://www.climatenetwork.org/

UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: KATOWICE CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE (COP 24)

6At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, on 21 December 2015, world leaders who are Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached a landmark agreement to accelerate actions and commit needed resources for a sustainable low carbon future. Progress towards achieving these goals has been very slow coming. Experts are now warning that we are running out of time to save our planet from the destructive impacts of climate change. The effects of climate change are upon us. Extreme weather events such as floods, hurricanes, heat waves, earthquakes, etc., are being recorded at an alarming rate in different parts of the world that even climate change skeptics are now beginning to believe that all is not well.

From December 2 – 15, world leaders, experts, activists, and other stakeholders will 7gather again in Katowice, Poland, for the Katowice Climate Change Conference (COP 24), to deliberate on a collective action plan to realize those critical commitments made by all the countries of the world in Paris, in 2015.

Read more:

‘COP 24’ UN Climate Change Conference: What’s at Stake and What you Need to Know: https://bit.ly/2FLdhuk

UNFCCC Katowice Climate Change Conference: https://unfccc.int/

 

UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE CONFERENCE (COP23): CALL TO HOLD TO PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT PATH

4 Two years into the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, (COP23) was held in Bonn, Germany, from December 6 to 17. Against the background of the  horrific natural disasters around the world in recent months, there was a unified call by participants at the Conference to “hold to the path of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.” The effects of climate change are undeniably being felt by billions of people around the world, especially those already living in the most impoverished, vulnerable parts of the globe. For people living in Small Island Countries, the impacts of climate change are daily realities as they watch their homes gradually submerge in water.

In his opening remarks at the COP23, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres5 described climate change “as the defining threat of our time.” It is therefore, our duty — to each other and to future generations — is to raise the ambition to combat it.”

The conference ended on Friday, November 17, with participants expressing a renewed sense of urgency and the need for greater ambition to tackle climate change.

Read more;

United Nations Climate Change Conference: http://bit.ly/2yr0tFB

Draft Outcome Document: http://bit.ly/2yY1RvC

 

 

GOOD NEWS FOR THE PEOPLE AND PLANET: PARIS AGREEMENT ENTERS INTO FORCE

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The threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was reached on October 6, 2016. To date, 76 of the 197 Parties have ratified the agreements of the Convention. The current status for the Agreement stands at 191 Signatories and 81 Parties. With the required 55% of total global emissions reached, the Paris Agreement will now enter into effect on November 4, 2016.

This motion will mark the beginning of a long journey and the collective commitment of the international community towards saving our planet. Click here to see the countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement. Read more: http://bit.ly/245GrVi

CLIMATE CHANGE: A CONTINUING CHALLENGE

  • “The principle of subsidiarity is a two-sided coin that calls for decisions to be made by the  Flower rock
    smallest unit possible, but the largest unit necessary. This sometimes requires governments to intervene when smaller units are unable or unwilling to make just decisions, especially in the case of abusing the environment.” Meghan Clark, Professor at St. John’s University
  • On June 12, the 6-month anniversary of the Paris Agreement, faith communities around the world will come together to escalate the call for action on climate change. Join them: sacredearth2016.org/ (English and Spanish)
  • Watch “Amazonia: Dorothy Stang’s Struggle”: bitly/1rKvAEi (available in 16 languages)
  • Read about forced migration of small island nations due to climate change: “Countries of the world need to start thinking seriously about how many people they’re going to take in,” says Michael Gerrard. “The current horrific situation in Europe is a fraction of what’s going to be caused by climate change.” law.columbia.edu/magazine/613512/the-rising-tide
  • Our beautiful earth is a gift to be protected. Watch the stunning video “Creation Calls”: com/magnificent.html

Sustainable Development Goal 13: Protect Our Home