Category Archives: COP17

Grey Skies in Warsaw: the UNFCCC Climate Change Negotiations Enter Their Second Week

By Timmons Roberts and Claire Langley 


The winter skies were a dim grey as the second and final week began at the United Nations climate change negotiations in Warsaw, Poland.  Sadly, the hopes for an ambitious global effort to address the grave risks of a destabilized climate look similarly dim. 

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A new EU/Latin America and the Caribbean coalition for climate change

By Guy Edwards and Timmons Roberts 


A new coalition between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) could be just the ticket to rejuvenate the UN climate change negotiations as they enter their third decade next week in Warsaw. This bi-regional partnership can serve as a vehicle to build momentum towards a fair, robust and ambitious agreement. All EU and LAC countries have expressed their will to adopt a new agreement by 2015, and surveys have repeatedly shown that their citizens are very concerned about climate impacts.

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Ecological Debt and Climate Justice After Durban: Time for Some Practical Politics

By Timmons Roberts*


Photo Cred: Orin Langelle/GJEP

Written December 21, 2011, posted March 21, 2012

In the utilitarian lecture-hall of the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, some of the world’s top scholars and activists on the “ecological debt” spoke to a half-full hall.   Impassioned speeches outlined the big idea: that rather than owing a huge economic debt to private and World Bank lenders and governments of the wealthier nations, the world’s poorer nations are actually owed an “ecological debt” due to the plundering of their natural resources by colonists and neo-colonizing corporations alike.

Who owes by this reckoning?  The global North.  The bill?  By one scholarly estimate: US$1.8 trillion.  Others argue that it is impossible to calculate the value of complex ecological systems, but the first level estimation is that the financial debt of poor nations is tiny in comparison and should be forgiven.

The microphone is passed around the audience in the risers, and finally finds its way to the hands of a Durban labor union leader.

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Shaping the Durban Platform: Latin America and the Caribbean in a future High Ambition Deal

By José Alberto Garibaldi, Monica Araya, and Guy Edwards

After the longest session on record, governments at the COP17 in Durban in December 2011 agreed to negotiate by 2015 a climate deal to enter into force in 2020. The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action defied predictions that the meeting in South Africa would lead to a collapse of the UN climate talks. Many parties from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have worked many years to make possible the political compromise achieved in the final hours and included in the Durban Platform. Today, the challenge is to make this platform ambitious enough to avoid dangerous climate change.

In this new CDKN and Energeia Policy Brief we discuss the outcomes of the COP17, the contribution Latin America and the Caribbean made and the implications of the Durban Platform for the region. The Brief finishes by offering a set of recommendations:

1. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries supporting high ambition at the international climate negotiations need to continue to shape a more ambitious climate narrative by acting together, domestically and internationally, and strengthening existing work with experts on bold action both within and outside the COPs.

2. Informal exchanges inside and outside of the UNFCCC process to jointly define key milestones for the Durban Platform and identify areas of convergence and divergence must take place within LAC countries and with Africa and Asia between now and 2015.

3. Both at home and abroad, the LAC region needs to improve how it communicates its successes on low carbon, climate resilient strategies to keep building confidence and generating a stronger impact at the international climate negotiations.

4. LAC countries need to continue to explore how best to advance national conversations linking climate change issues such as mitigation and resilience plans to national interests and potential losses in food security, infrastructure and trade.

To read the Policy Brief click here.

Latin American governments and civil society combine forces at COP17

By Guy Edwards

The COP17 was a watershed moment for Latin American civil society participation in the UNFCCC negotiations. Civil society organizations (CSOs) actively engaged with governments at the talks and, in turn, governments made efforts to reach out to civil society. This increased level of exchange can be observed on two levels.

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Occupy COP17

By Adam Kotin and Cecilia Pineda


As negotiators determine the fate of the Kyoto Protocol on the last day of COP17, youth from all over the world, NGO members, and a few distinguished negotiators stormed the hallways of the International Convention Centre demanding climate justice.

Protesters began the march toward the opening plenary for the 7th meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) singing a mix of the South African miner’s song “Shosholoza” and chants for climate justice. Borrowing the human microphone from the U.S. Occupy Wall Street movement, they voiced their demands for the negotiators to come up with an ambitious, legally-binding treaty to reduce emissions. Continue reading

Is anyone listening to the new leaders on climate?

By Cecilia Pineda

In the months prior to the COP15 in Copenhagen, President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed convened the first meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and urged leaders to make active carbon neutral pledges to arm their convictions that their survival depends on all countries pursuing low-carbon economies.

Nasheed believed that a bloc of carbon-neutral developing countries could move the outcome of Copenhagen.

To Nasheed’s disappointment, not all of the countries jumped on the carbon-neutral bandwagon and it is unlikely whether these countries could have prevented the train-wreck of Copenhagen which sacrificed 189 voices for the sake of 5. Nonetheless, out of the ashes of the COP15 we have begun to see the rise of new leaders and alliances, which rally under the progressive banner and promote low-carbon growth at home and abroad. Continue reading