Good Monday morning and welcome to this edition of the Fresh Air Brief, a weekly overview of trending climate news, and upcoming meetings, events and issues that our tcktcktck partners & peers are tracking. Fresh right now:
* Poland vetoes E.U. efforts to raise ambition
* UNFCCC country submissions foreshadow a hard year ahead for climate talks
* Fukushima nuclear disaster’s anniversary brings calls for safe energy
Poland vetoes E.U. efforts to raise ambition
Reuters has the latest on the E.U. Environment Ministerial which took place on Friday. Coal-reliant Poland, did not agree to any inclusion of milestones for future carbon reductions in the EU text debated during the ministerial meeting, pitting itself against the rest of the 27-member bloc. While Poland’s veto kept the group from reaching a consensus view, efforts to raise ambition in the E.U. will continue.
Controversial Brazilian Forest Code vote postponed until March 13th
MongaBay is keeping close tabs on controversial revisions to the Brazilian Forest Code, which were scheduled for a vote on March 7th and are now scheduled for March 13th. The proposed changes could undo Brazil’s recent success in combating Amazon deforestation. More on how are partners are taking action, below.
Obama pushes to end perverse subsidies
Our partners at Oil Change International were no doubt glad to see U.S. President Barack Obama use his weekly address to the American people as an opportunity to call for an end to U.S. oil and gas subsidies, which amount to $4B USD annually. Obama framed the move as part of a broader push to replace US reliance on oil with “solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels and more.” The US government also included a call to remove fossil fuel subsidies globally in its most recent submission to the UNFCCC.
Efforts to speed tar sands pipeline approval rejected again
350.org, NRDC, the Sierra Club and other partners across North America are celebrating a lobbying push by President Obama and Senate Democratic leaders that led to a narrow defeat of legislation to speed up construction of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline which would give Canadian tarsands greater access to global markets via refineries in the U.S. Treehugger has more on the story.
China blocking European jet orders over E.U. scheme
China is making good on threats to retaliate against European companies over airlines’ inclusion in the European emissions trading scheme. According to Airbus, China is blocking orders for at least $12 billion worth of Airbus jets to protest the scheme. The Associated Press has more.
Mexico suffering through worst drought in 71 years
As of one of the warmest winters on record gives way to fears of mass insect infestations in Canada and the U.S., extreme drought is affecting some 2.5 million people across two-thirds of Mexico’s states. According to the National Confederation of Peasants, food production is down by 40 percent across the country as a result. Christian Science Monitor has more.
Entire nation of Kiribati to be relocated over rising sea level threat
In what could be the world’s first climate-induced migration of modern times, Anote Tong, the Kiribati president, said he was in talks with Fiji’s military government to buy up to 5,000 acres of freehold land on which his countrymen could be housed. The Telegraph has more.
What our partners are focused on now
Fighting deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest – taking action on the Brazilian Forest Code
With a vote on controversial changes to Brazil’s Forest Code postponed until March 13th, tcktcktck’s Brazilian partners are using the extra time to build pressure on President Dilma Rousseff to veto the bill if it’s passed. WWF was among our partners organizing rallies calling on Dilma to take a stand. Greenpeace is promoting an online petition to the same effect.
Fukushima nuclear disaster’s anniversary brings calls for safe energy
At 14:46 local time on 11 March 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake struck off Japan’s north-east coast. Devastating destruction and suffering resulted from the earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown. Sunday marked one year after the start of the catastrophe, people in Japan and elsewhere in the world remember the dead, and raise their voices to protest against dirty and dangerous energy solutions while demanding safe and clean alternatives.
Many of our partners signed on to an open letter to world leaders calling for investments in safe, renewable energy in order to end to the threat of nuclear power and put protecting people ahead of protecting companies. More policy-oriented organizations are collaborating under the banner e-shift at a national level. Organizations are working to prevent future disasters by promoting safe and clean energy alternatives.
UNFCCC country submissions are in, foreshadowing a hard year ahead for climate talks
Lisa Friedman, reporting for Climate Wire, has an excellent breakdown of recent country submissions to the UNFCCC before 2012’s climate talks get underway. One of the most eye-popping comes from India, who has consistently raised the issue of ‘equity’ since it was removed from the outcomes of the Durban climate talks last December. India appears to be closing the door on reducing it’s own greenhouse gas emissions until after 2020, at which point it would only do so in exchange for Western dollars; laying the onus of responsibility for solutions on developed countries.
The US submission proposes “…that the U.N. climate regime come up with ways to support a new U.S.-led initiative aimed at curbing emissions of black soot, methane, hydrofluorocarbons and other so-called short-lived climate pollutants; removing subsidies for fossil fuels, something the Obama administration has long called for; and “addressing aviation and maritime emissions” under the respective agencies that regulate them.”
Submissions from the European Union, the Alliance of Small Island States and the group of least developed countries “quoted extensively from a recent U.N. Environment Programme study that exposed a 5-gigaton gap between the emissions countries had pledged to curb and what it will take to avert catastrophic global warming.”
Japan’s submission focuses on ways to reduce emissions by 2050 instead of by 2020. “Saudi Arabia, like India, insisted that the burden of doing more to cut emissions falls squarely on the shoulders of industrialized countries — which, within the world of U.N. climate talks, does not include Saudi Arabia, despite its wealth and vast oil resources; and Qatar, which is hosting the next major climate conference but which has historically played a quiet role in the talks, did not offer a submission.”
A large number of our partners will be present when UNFCCC negotiations re-open in Bonn this coming May.
Resources and opportunities
the Rio+20 Blogger Prize
Tcktcktck launched the Rio+20 Blogger Prize to help find a climate-smart blogger or videographer to be part of our on-the-ground team in Rio; and help us share stories and keep climate change and renewable energy on the agendas of world leaders. This is a rare chance for you to join our team and be part of the action (with expenses covered).
Win a Date with History
If you had two minutes to tell the world’s leaders what kind of future you want, what would you say? Tcktcktck is looking for young people between the ages 13-30 who are willing to share their bold vision for the Earth. The Date with History winner will have a chance to speak at the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit.
Freelance opportunities for climate writers at IISD-r and Climate One
IISD Reporting Services is currently recruiting for several new freelance writers for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and our other conference reporting services.
San Francisco-based Climate One is looking for climate savvy writers as well.
Other upcoming moments on our calendar:
- 13 Mar – Scheduled vote on Brazil’s controversial Forest Code changes
- 12-17 Mar – World Water Forum in Marseilles to discuss climate change issues
- 21-22nd March – ATAG Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva
- 27-28th March – Creating Climate Wealth Conference in Washington, DC
Connect you with our partners in the trenches
As always, if you’re looking to dig into any of these issues and want to connect with our partners in the trenches, Fresh Air is here to help. Email me and I’ll help make it happen.
That’s all for this week’s Fresh Air Brief. We’re eager to learn how to make this as useful as possible, so all feedback is welcome. We’re also eager to accept suggestions for leads, content and opportunities you’d like to promote. Get in touch.
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Til next time.
By Joshua Wiese
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About the AuthorJoshua Wiese is a project director at the Global Campaign for Climate Action. He runs the Adopt a Negotiator project and publishes our weekly Fresh Air Brief
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