Good Monday 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:
- European carbon market could be oversupplied out to at least 2020
- US airlines shift strategy in challenging the EU ETS
- Nordic Ministers add to international climate change solutions with Svalbard Declaration
- Important upcoming climate votes in Brazil, Mexico and South Korea
Nordic Environment Ministers add to international efforts to address climate change with Svalbard Declaration on Short-lived Climate Forcers
Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Åland – added to country-driven international efforts to address climate change when their Environment Ministers adopted the Svalbard Declaration on Short-lived Climate Forcers (SLCFs) late last week. The effort to reduce emissions of short life-span gases, including black carbon, which have a large impact on both climate and health is similar to an effort launched by the US, Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico and Sweden.
US announces 120M increase in aid to African Sahel to deal with extreme drought
Our partners focused on development and relief (ActionAid, Oxfam, the Red Cross & Red Crescent, and others) have warned for months that millions of people in Africa’s Sahel region are threatened by extreme drought, linked to changing climate. As the situation continues to worsen, the United States just announced that it is joining with other donor countries to offer increased aid. The US will add $120 million in humanitarian assistance to the $200 million its already pledged to the Sahel by this year.
EU fails to resolve dispute over UN climate fund seats
European Union ambassadors failed to resolve a dispute over the allocation of seats on the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF) board on Friday, possibly undermining the bloc’s credibility in international climate talks. Reuters has more on the story.
World landmarks dimmed for Earth Hour
Hundreds of world landmarks from Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to the Great Wall of China went dark Saturday, part of a global effort to highlight climate change. Earth Hour, which took place last Saturday, completed a record journey across more than 6,525 cities, towns and municipalities in 150 countries and territories – the biggest participation growth for the largest voluntary action for the environment since 2009.
What our partners are focused on now
Extreme weather and climate change: How much are you willing to gamble?
We’re seeing some ‘climate denier’ pushback on the IPCC’s recent launch of a special report on extreme weather (Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, SREX for short). The report itself – examining the links between climate change, extreme weather events and the vulnerability of human and natural systems – is filled with sound science and doesn’t contain much for ‘climate-deniers’ to reasonably take issue with. Instead, they’ve latched onto materials produced by us to help our partners promote the recent IPCC findings. GCCA Executive Director, Kelly Rigg, has more in a recent blog post.
Warnings of imminent malfunction of the European ETUS due to allowance oversupply.
Our partners at WWF and Sandbag have picked up on new Emissions Trading Scheme data released by the European Commission today; warning that “…continued oversupply of emission allowances [is] leading to underperformance of what many label to be the “flagship” policy instrument for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.” Most analysts now agree that without intervention, the European carbon market will be oversupplied out to at least 2020, depressing the carbon price, and reducing the market incentives for low-carbon investment throughout the decade.
Airlines shift strategy in challenging the EU ETS
According to WWF and other environmental groups, US airlines dropped a legal appeal challenging their industry’s inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and are instead pushing the US government to bring a formal challenge (called an Article 84 challenge) within the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The announcement came after a visit to the US by EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who reiterated the EU’s openness to alternative solutions as long as it protects the climate. The ICAO secretary general has signaled that an Article 84 challenge would slow the organization’s momentum toward a new agreement.
‘Deniergate’ fallout continues as GM pulls support from Heartland Institute
Citing its corporate stance that climate change is real, General Motors announced Wednesday that its General Motors Foundation would no longer fund the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank that has attacked human-caused global warming as “junk science.” The move follows efforts by our partners to pressure GM and other corporate funders of Heartland after leaked documents showed the organization’s plans to undermine public understanding of climate change. In early March, Forecast The Facts presented GM with the results of a petition drive in which a reported 20,000 signers asked GM to stop funding Heartland, more than 10,000 of which were current or former owners of GM vehicles. The LA times has more on the story
Resources and opportunities
350 announced their next global day of action to help connect the dots.
Connect the Dots is a project of 350.org and our partner organizations, to shine a spotlight on the connections between extreme weather and climate change. The project kicks off with Climate Impacts Day on 5/5/12, when thousands of communities around the world join in taking action to Connect the Dots and call for urgent action to stop the climate crisis. 350.org will use those connections to issue a wake-up call for communities, the media, and politicians around the world.
WFUNA webinar: Get Rio: Defining the Green Economy. @9am EST, 3 April
Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication was defined as one of the two overarching themes of the conference. But what exactly is a green economy? Can a green economy be the path to universal human well-being? Learn more at this April 3rd Webinar. Click here for registration and speaker information.
WHO, IFMSA & Health Canada Webinar: communicating Climate Change and Health. @ 18:00 GMT, 4 April
For those of you interested in the connections between climate and health, the WHO lined up some heavyweight speakers (including WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan) to discuss how the public health community can best communicate the climate and health message, reflect on how those messages are being discussed in media and their use in the UN climate processes. The webinar will take place April 4th, at 18:00 GMT. Click here to see the full speaker line-up and get dial-in details.
World Resources Institute webinar: Dr. Nobuo Tanaka on Energy Security of Asia in the 21st Century. @ 5pm EST, 10 April
The Environmental Defense Fund, the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy and World Resources Institute are hosting their next Climate Change Solutions webinar. This month, Dr. Nobuo Tanaka will discus the challenges and opportunities related to energy security in Japan and Asia, sharing perspective on how these energy issues relate to climate policy for Japan and the region. Dr. Tanaka recently served as the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Click here to learn more and register.
Win a Date with History
If 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.
Important upcoming votes in Brazil, Mexico and South Korea
While we’ve tried to send you ‘save the date’ messages about these in the past, key climate-relevant votes in Brazil, Mexico and South Korea have been delayed for weeks and are expected to come soon. Brazil is facing a vote on devastating changes to the country’s forest code. Agricultural interests entrenched in the government are pushing hard to make the vote happen; while Dilma, feeling heat from environmentalists and wary of passing anything environmentally destructive before Rio+20, is fully engaged in negotiations. Mexico’s Congress is set to vote on a groundbreaking climate bill that passed Mexico’s Senate late last year. And there are also lots of eyes on South Korea, where a vote on the establishment of a national carbon market is stalled by domestic politics. We’re keeping close watch on all of these, but no one seems to know exactly when these votes will come. Stay tuned.
Other upcoming moments on our calendar:
- 11-12th April – Realising inclusive and green growth: UN Rio+20 Business & Industry Consultation with Government and Civil Society at The Hague
- 18-20th April – Informal meeting of EU Energy and Environment Ministers in Horsens, Denmark – we hope to pressure international environment ministers while they are gathered together, strategizing and negotiating EU policy for the coming months.
- 22nd April – Global Earth Day
- 23rd April – 4th May – Second round of ‘informal-informal’ negotiations on the zero draft of outcome document in New York
- 5th May – 350.org to host global ‘Climate Impacts Day’ – activists will show the impacts of global climate change, and the global interest in fighting it.
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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