I went to a side event called Rethinking Climate Change Governance, organized by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), in which some academics and diplomats shared their toughs about the international climate regime. The academics raised some very interesting questions as how subnational governments and civil society can be integrated into the negotiations? how can we ensure the adequate financial flows for mitigation and adaptation? should negotiations be liberated from sustainable development discussions to focus only in climate change? should we use existing financial institutions? or even what the UNFCCC is trying to govern? Even all these academic-like questions are important and very valuable to think about the process and its effectiveness, they didn’t go to the foundations of the UNFCCC.

When the turn to speak was for…

Given that the momentum for mitigation 1b(iii), or REDD, appears to be dwindling, attention falls on adaptation to table the first draft decision for AWG-LCA. The earliest to start negotiations based on proposed text, much progress has been achieved after a guerilla warfare, which tackled different issues at different times, before the debate was focused on the establishment of an adaptation committee, as a permanent body to facilitate the implementation of adaptation actions by countries. As it stands currently, positions of negotiating partners have been drawn closer, and the spirit of compromise and flexibility will likely lead to an agreement on the text regarding the establishment of the adaptation committee and its functions.

However, what use will a stand-alone decision on an Adaptation Committee achieve? Without consensus and related…

Wanting Zhang

Fast start finance (FSF) is no doubt a popular topic in Cancun at COP16. During the first week of negotiations, the EU, Marshall Islands, US and UK all held side events to present their actions and positions on this issue. FSF was initiated in the Copenhagen Accord, where the developed countries collectively committed to provide new and additional financial support to developing countries amounting to USD 30 billion for the period between 2010 and 2012. The Accord explicitly states that funding for adaptation should be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing states (SIDS), and Africa.

According to the reports issued by countries, the fulfillment of the commitment put forth by developed countries has been promising…

My name is Erin Schutte and I am a junior at Yale College, representing Seychelles at COP16.

Locals from Cancun are used to foreign tourists visiting their native land and I’ve wondered what it would be like to live in such a spring break hotspot for young vacationers. But for over a year now, Cancun has been preparing for foreigners with a different mission – 10,000+ delegates and NGO participants who spend November 29-December 10 hopping from bus to bus, asking for directions to a particular meeting room rather than to the nearest beach. Hundreds of local staff are employed for these two weeks to make the conference run as smoothly as possible. I may not represent every participant’s opinion, but I think that at COP16 it’s hard not…

To be clear, the United States faces significant challenges in the international climate change negotiations currently proceeding in Cancun.  With a lame duck congress that is not exactly rational when it comes to climate science and a populace that oft chooses to stick its head in the sand with unprecedented vigor, negotiating with the majority of nations that are much more progressive on the issue is not easy.  Add to this the large amount of emotional and ethical language from NGOs and vulnerable nations as well as the standing commitments of other developed countries, and the negotiators must walk a fine line.  However, the PR campaign and amount of misleading information from U.S. delegation has been disappointing and disheartening.

One example:  In the Copenhagen Accord drafted last year, the…

Building on Matt’s earlier post, the complement of texts just got more with a second version of the AWG-LCA chair’s text, more intimately referred to as Margaret’s text(http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/awglca13/eng/crp02.pdf), also meant to spur the progress of negotiations, and narrow space between disparate positions.

Having a text is better than not having one. Having a text when your partners do not is the best. However, the situation is just confusing when everyone prepares a text to firm their position, an exercise of self-clarification, reinforcement and ironing-out differences within the group.

It is worthwhile however to note, procedure-wise, texts that are produced without a mandate by parties on consensus can be rejected on a whim.

On a separate note, readings and negotiations on adaptation has started yesterday, based…

Week one has seen plenty of hard work on behalf of the negotiators, but there is still a lot of space between many countries’ positions on a wide variety of issues. Most of the meetings I’ve covered for my delegation so far have still been struggling to decide what text to use as the basis of negotiations. The issue has been complicated because a second text has been presented by the co-facilitators in addition to an existing text commonly known as the “13 August Text” (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/14). At present, there is not yet an agreement on which paper to use as the basis of negotiations, so we are not yet closing in on any decision language nearly half way through the conference.

There have also been increasing grumbles on the…

Google has worked with Surui Chief Almir to use its Earth Engine to help the Amazonia tribe to measure its forest carbon.

By Angel Hsu, PhD candidate, YCEI Fellow

While climate negotiators were busy discussing the role of forests in the Cancun climate negotiations, Google was launching its Earth Engine –  a practical tool to help countries obtain information about their forests, which are critical carbon sinks, easily and freely.

I originally wrote about the advantages of a tool like Earth Engine back in March. To briefly recap, the benefits of Google making remote sensing and satellite imagery accessible to the ‘everyman’ as I see it are: 1) the demystification of remote sensing…

Today is the 5th day of negotiation day. However, no significant progress has been made. The biggest news during these days is that Japan said they would never accept 2nd Kyoto period, which almost clanged the death knell of the protocol.
In the drafting group of shared vision for LCA (Long-term Cooperative Action), there is strong reluctance among Annex I countries to work on anything other than Margaret text, which also refers to the chair text. This text, which aims to facilitate the negotiation, actually causes severe controversy among countries because it rejects or weakens the position of developing countries in many key areas. On the other side, developing countries insist the Tianjian negotiation text is the only negotiation basis they would accept. Without even agreeing on a common negotiation…