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Think Global, Act Local Government

December 2, 2009

ICLEI (the international Local Government Association for Environment) is hosting a whole lotta events at Copenhagen, and have done a bunch of briefing papers. Probably very good, but I’m recommending them on reputation alone, not having read the blighters (yet).

1. Glossary
2. Climate Change
3. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
4. Kyoto Protocol – Introduction
5. Kyoto Protocol – Mechanism for implementation
6. Conference of the Parties – how can LG actively participate?
7. The road to Copenhagen – international climate negotiations 2007-2009
8. Local Government Climate Roadmap 2007-2009
9. Why cities and local governments are key actors – fields of local action
10. World Mayors and Local Governments Climate Protection Agreement
11. Key Issues for Local Government on Climate Change: download
12. City Climate Catalogue
13. Negotiation update: After Bangkok UN Climate Talks (October 2009): COP15: Chances for Changing our Climate?
14. COP 15: what can we expect at global level?


Offsetting the Copenhagen footprint

December 2, 2009

This from a UNFCCC press release:
Offsetting the carbon footprint for Copenhagen

An estimated 15,000 people representing Governments, NGOs, IGOs, along with over 2,000 journalists will travel to Copenhagen from all over the world for the conference. The main objective of the organizers is to minimize greenhouse gas emissions as far as possible. Whatever cannot be avoided is to be offset. In addition, every delegate can make a difference by, for example, choosing the most sustainable form of international and local transport.

Greenhouse gas emissions fall into two parts: international travel, which forms by far the largest part; and secondly, local emissions of the host country covering such things as energy consumed and waste generated at the conference venue, hotel accommodation and local transportation. An initial estimate of overall emissions put the figure at 40,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The Danish Government has identified sustainability as one of its top priorities for the Conference, and has publicized a number of steps:

* The Conference organizers at the Bella Center are to achieve a 20% reduction in CO2 leading up to COP 15 by implementing a range of energy saving measures
* Hotel owners have been encouraged to expand the number of environmentally friendly, certified hotel rooms
* Delegates are encouraged to use the public transport system to reach the Bella Center, drink tap water to avoid bottle waste, and minimize paper waste
* There will be no gifts or conference bags for delegates. Instead, money saved has been invested in 11 scholarships for students from around the world, who will attend a fully financed two-year MA education in Denmark.

To ensure the conference will be climate neutral, the Danish Government, in partnership with the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, has decided to replace outdated brick kilns in Dhaka. The heavily polluting, existing kilns will be replaced by 20 new energy efficient ones, which the Danish Energy Agency calculates will cut more than 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and improve air quality in one of the world’s most polluted cities. The Danish government has set aside 0.7 million euros as part of this year’s state budget for this purpose. Details can be found here.

Well, that’s alright then.

Angry Mermaid

December 2, 2009

We have a mermaid with a snorkel, WDM etc have an Angry Mermaid with a placard. And incongruous shells to protect her modesty.

Welcome to the Angry Mermaid Award

Cast your vote in the Angry Mermaid Award and help decide which company or lobby group is doing the most to sabotage effective action on climate change.

Voting is open until Sunday 13 December 2009.

Crucial UN climate talks take place in Copenhagen this December. While people, organisations and social movements around the world are calling for strong action to prevent climate change and ensure climate justice, big business has been lobbying to block effective action to tackle the problem, while also seeking to benefit from it. Lobbying is defined as attempting to influence the decision-making process.

The Angry Mermaid Award has been set up to recognise the perverse role of corporate lobbyists, and highlight those business groups and companies that have made the greatest effort to sabotage the climate talks, and other climate measures, while promoting, often profitable, false solutions.

Named after the iconic Copenhagen mermaid who is angry about the destruction being caused by climate change, the Angry Mermaid Award winner will be decided by a public poll. Read the story of the Angry Mermaid.

Online voting has opened on Monday 16 November 2009.

Cast your vote and help decide which company or lobby group has done the most to block effective action to tackle climate change.

Voting closes on Sunday 13 December 2009 and the winner of the Angry Mermaid Award will be announced in Copenhagen on Tuesday 15 December 2009.

Addict, me? I could stop anytime…

November 28, 2009

No, not blogging, offsetting…

This from Greenbang,

Carbon offsets have led to a ‘lost decade’ of fossil fuel addiction

Carbon offset schemes not only haven’t helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions to any degree, they might actually be encouraging companies to keep polluting and worsening the future climate situation.

That’s the warning from Steffen Böhm and Siddhartha Dabhi, two researchers from the University of Essex who have compiled a new book, “Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets.

Launched in advance of next month’s scheduled climate talks in Copenhagen, the book features contributions from more than 30 experts in the business of carbon.

Which is what the responsible travel dotcom guy, Mark Lynas and everyone else with two neurons to rub together has been saying for quite a while. Whydya think Marks and Sparks explicitly said offsetting was always going to be weapon of last resort in their decarbonising? This is just a reputational risk time-bomb a tick-tockin’ away…

We are a very self-indulgent species. Homo ‘sapiens’ indeed.

Diagnosis: Suicide

November 27, 2009

I never saw a single whole episode of that dire-looking Dick Van Dyke TV show “Diagnosis Murder“, but it’s got to be a cheerier prospect than reading the Copenhagen Diagnosis:Climate Science Report

It is more than three years since the drafting of text was completed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). In the meantime, many hundreds of papers have been published on a suite of topics related to human-induced climate change.

The purpose of this report is to synthesize the most policy-relevant climate science published since the close-off of material for the last IPCC report. The rationale is two-fold.

First, this report serves as an interim evaluation of the evolving science midway through an IPCC cycle – IPCC AR5 is not due for completion until 2013.

Second, and most important, the report serves as a handbook of science updates that supplements the IPCC AR4 in time for Copenhagen in December 2009, and any national or international climate change policy negotiations that follow.

This report covers the range of topics evaluated by Working Group I of the IPCC, namely the Physical Science Basis. This includes:

* an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions and their atmospheric concentrations, as well as the global carbon cycle;
* coverage of the atmosphere, the land-surface, the oceans, and all of the major components of the cryosphere (land-ice, glaciers, ice shelves, sea-ice and permafrost);
* paleoclimate, extreme events, sea level, future projections, abrupt change and tipping points;
* separate boxes devoted to explaining some of the common misconceptions surrounding climate change science.

The report has been purposefully written with a target readership of policy-makers, stakeholders, the media and the broader public. Each section begins with a set of key points that summarises the main findings. The science contained in the report is based on the most credible and significant peer-reviewed literature available at the time of publication. The authors primarily comprise previous IPCC lead authors familiar with the rigor and completeness required for a scientific assessment of this nature.

Hope? Yes, but not for us…

November 27, 2009

Seeing this below reminds me of that Kafka quote, when asked if there was hope. “Yes, but not for us.”

Hopes for Copenhagen
A Norton Rose Group Survey

A survey analysing the perceived consequences to business from the UNFCCC (COP 15) negotiations in Copenhagen.
An unsuccessful outcome at Copenhagen will have a detrimental impact on business

Over three quarters of business respondents involved in aspects of environmental, sustainability and climate change issues believe if Copenhagen fails it will have a detrimental impact on their business
Success or failure

· 79% think an unsuccessful outcome at Copenhagen will have a detrimental impact on business

· 70% believe the US government’s position on negotiations is the most significant barrier to an agreement being successfully negotiated at Copenhagen

· 72% believe the negotiations will be a ‘compromised success’
To read the full report, please follow the link below

Hopes for Copenhagen

Norton Rose Group Survey

Norton Rose Group Climate Change Team in Copenhagen

Our international climate change team will attend the negotiations in Copenhagen, and send daily updates on developments to their blog
Norton Rose Group global climate change team – Copenhagen blog.
The team are also on Twitter at

Islands in the storm

November 27, 2009

The BBC reports thus:

Commonwealth leaders are meeting in Trinidad with climate change high on the agenda in the last major summit before the Copenhagen climate talks.

For the first time, a number of other world leaders have been invited to take part in the biennial meeting.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Danish PM Lars Rasmussen are attending to give weight to any statement on climate change….

About half of the Commonwealth’s members are island states*, many of them threatened by rising sea levels.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who is hosting the three-day meeting, said he hoped the summit could boost momentum for an agreement on carbon emissions at Copenhagen, amid “concerns about the way the negotiations were going”.

* Statistics subject to change over the coming decades, [Ed]