Christiana Figueres’ Briefing for Observers

by Carol Nackenoff

Nov. 15, 2013

I attended a packed briefing of NGO observers by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres on Friday afternoon at COP-19.  NGO observers include RINGOs (organizations engaged in independent research and analysis, including academic institutions—so we were there as RINGOs), BINGOs (business and industry NGOs), ENGOs (environmental NGOs), IPOs (indigenous peoples’ organizations), LGMAs (local governments and municipal authorities) and TUNGOs (trade unions NGOs) and YOUNGOs (youth NGOs).  So NGO observers are a rather diverse group.  One of the TUNGO representatives was the moderator for the briefing.

Executive Secretary Figueres gave an approximately 15 minute overview of what she expected from the conference and a feeling for where she thought we were as we neared the end of week one.  She has a highly positive attitude, coupled with a great deal of realism.  The Executive Secretary believes that countries have come to Warsaw “ready to roll up their sleeves”—they came here and they got to work.  If I heard correctly, there have been 50 decisions made already and 167 are still under negotiation.  Figueres suggested we attend the stock-taking meeting Friday evening, where the COP-19 president Marcin Korolec would be asking all the subsidiary bodies working this week to report (my note: the president is always from the host nation; the  president of COP-19 is Minister of the Environment of Poland).

Secretary Figueres said there were three issues that needed to move forward in Warsaw:

1)    Finance – the work would continue with high-level dialogue in week 2 of COP-19.  The LDCs (less developed countries) want policy guidance on how advanced countries are going to fund the Paris agreement slated for 2015, implementation of which begins in 2020.  This issue is going to take work.

2)    Loss and damage – the negotiators were still having a hard time getting this issue off the ground.  It will not be resolved at the technical level (my note: the work the subsidiary bodies and negotiators are doing in week 1—here, chiefly the subsidiary body on implementation or SBI, the body whose work on loss and damage I was trying to follow; loss and damage has to do with the effects of climate change that are already being experienced and that will be experienced since they cannot all be prevented).  Secretary Figueres hopes the high-level negotiators may be able to resolve this issue next week.  The question is what does and does not go into the mechanism (my note: for example, how is loss determined? What constitutes a loss?  What kind of compensation arrangements will be included?  Will it be more like an insurance system or more like a charity arrangement?)

3)    Draft treaty to go into Lima 2014 with.  The Executive Secretary said they very much want a draft to go into the Lima meetings with.  Countries have to have full time to digest that legal text.  The Lima meetings would be used to work on the text, and there would be a few more months after the Lima conference to complete the work.  By May, 2015, the text has to be translated into all 60 official UN languages.

She also noted that the Sustainable Development Goals process (SDG) will be “in maximum effort” also during the Warsaw conference. (At a later point in the Q&A, Secretary Figueres described the SDG as a “visionary process.”

The floor was then opened to questions, and it seemed to be the practice in each observer meeting that I attended to collect three questions and then have a response.  In the first batch of questions, one delegate noted the encouraging meeting on urbanization held by ADP on Thursday; a Cities Day is about to be announced for 11/21, a day for ministerial/mayoral dialogue (my note: Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which is working toward a new agreement in Paris but which is also working “to enhance ambition through identifying and exploring options for a range of actions that can close the current ambition gap with a view to ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties.” Often, you can substitute the word “motivation” for “ambition”—that is, they are trying to light a fire under nations so that they will act on climate change.)  Figueres took up and underscored the point about new efforts to include cities & mayors.  She noted that, for the last several years, efforts to break down the wall between countries (official parties) and everybody else had been ongoing.  The walls are down, she said, but what are the ways to facilitate communication between constituencies now?  A BINGO (business and industry) delegate said that countries should not use Article VI for their own purposes and that they should enforce Article VI (my note: Article VI deals with promoting education, training, and awareness on climate change).  A TUNGO (trade union) delegate expressed shock that countries were refusing to make financial commitments to deal with the financial costs of environmental disasters, pointed out that corporations don’t have the interests of workers in mind, and pointed out the  shocking amount of corporate influence at this conference, including advertising by fossil fuel industries. Figueres responded that corporate sponsorship was not unusual for UNFCCC but the Polish President of COP-19 (Korolec)  said this was an expensive program to put on and that he wanted and needed some sponsorship.  Still, there are COP rules about corporate involvement, and they haven’t been broken.  Corporations, Figueres said, were not included in the pre-COP (Oct. 2-4 in Warsaw).  She added that she believes the pre-COP in Venezuela will be very different and will be civil society-heavy (not corporate).

Secretary Figueres also told the observers that the UN Secretary General would be holding a summit in New York City on September 23, 2014.  There are three objects:  1) to put forward government commitment plans (bold plans) for their response to climate change for 2015; she thinks some countries will be ready with their announcements about their 2015 stance, and others won’t  2) provide space to come forward and explore different initiatives and actions; and 3) there will be an electronic track, where others can participate through listening and giving input (my own understanding of what she said on #3 is that these others would include cities, NGOs). [Note:  the RINGO convener pointed out in a question that the UN Millenium Goals expire in 2015 and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon from the Republic of Korea would like to establish new goals, another purpose of the NY conference.]

In response to other questions and observations (some of which I only partly heard), Secretary Figueres pointed out that countries differ in their biodiversity problems connected to climate change.  She said that the 2015 Paris agreement would be based on the pillars of mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology.  The 2015 agreement will have to put us on the path to zero net emissions in the second half of the 21st century.  She also noted that the UNFCC has no money to pursue women’s inclusion, but they are doing this project on their free time in the secretariat.  Nobody is giving money toward this goal (my note:  this is the first year that women’s inclusion has been part of the official COP program; Swarthmore alum Anne Kolker ’08 has this as part of her negotiating portfolio with the US delegation).

Secretary Figueres also pointed out how important it was to de-risk the flow of capital for development purposes.  Without meaningful response to climate change, insurance and reinsurance companies will not be willing to insure development projects, even with UNFCC funds for adaptation or mitigation projects waiting to be invested.  She said that the LDCs finished the NAMA (nationally-appropriate mitigation action project) process a few days ago and this was an important accomplishment.  They launched this guidebook on November 18th (Note: to understand more about NAMAs, this may be a good resource:

A questioner from Oxfam underscored the importance of the finance issue.  Public finance will be an important part of the money expected for (mitigation?).  Meanwhile, Japan and Australia both announced here in Warsaw that they were rolling back their mitigation commitments!  Secretary Figueres responded that both of these decisions were regrettable, but the two were actually different [kinds of] announcements, and she hopes that these countries will realize it is in their interest to do everything they can.

Our Swarthmore delegation to COP 19 adjourned from this meeting to a private meeting with Executive Secretary Figueres in her office.  That meeting, which she allowed us to videotape, appears separately.



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Final Day at the COP

by Carol Nackenoff


In the RINGO morning briefing on Saturday, I decided to ask what the big deal was about REDD+.  After all, forests/deforestation and agriculture account for only 17-20% of global GHGs, I was hearing during the meetings.  And the big breakthrough seems to be that scientists have figured out how to measure GHG emissions from these sources and monitoring is now possible.  The financing for such a monitoring program is still unresolved and a number of countries are resisting, based on sovereignty, the idea of external monitors coming in to verify self-reporting.  REDD+ is supposed to be one of the triumphs of COP 19 (there is also some great happiness about the inclusion of cities and sub national governmental units in a new way–I have to discover more about that but COP president Marcin Korolec was talking about new improvements in consulting others beyond traditional party states, and mayors are coming next week for a session).

The answer I got from RINGOs present was something like this:  a) it is true that peat bogs and wetlands contribute to GHG emissions and REDD+ doesn’t deal, b) even though GHG emissions attributable to deforestation and agriculture aren’t huge and they are not rising as are other sources, methane released is a dangerous contributor to global warming even with its shorter lifespan, and REDD+ can monitor this, c) this is a sector in which international finance could make a tremendous impact, d) REDD+ is something developing countries can contribute to addressing climate change; although indigenous peoples’ contributions need to be better appreciated and they are often not consulted, and e) we do tend to focus on what we can measure. . .

At RINGO this morning, there was some reporting and discussion about both Executive Secretary Figueres’s briefing for observers Friday and also the SBI head’s stock-taking meeting the previous evening.  I had attended both.  One question I asked was whether anyone could help me “decode” what various delegations were doing with the brief marks they made.  I was assured that almost all of these remarks were perfunctory, but unless one knew exactly what language a delegation had used last year (and often earlier)’ it was impossible to know whether there was any subtle shift in position that might indicate some sort of an opening.  Negotiators look carefully at words used for signs and cues.

One thing that was mentioned that I hope to learn more about is that the International Social Science Council apparently decided, at Durban, to set a research agenda (on climate change ) for the next 10 years.  No one in the room remembered seeing anything from this body yet.  There was an announcement of another side event panel also sponsored by the EU on the Changing Geopolitics of Climate Change later that morning; since I enjoyed the last one put together by UK-based Climate Strategies, and these were more papers from the forthcoming issue of Climate change Policy, I decided to catch part of it.  I was not disappointed.  It was hard to find a chair.  I went there in  he company of the faculty member with the Waterloo University (Canada) delegation since we had made arrangements on Friday to talk for awhile after RINGO Saturday a.m.

What I learned was how complex equity has become.  Those facing loss and damage from climate change do want to talk about equity, and these nations currently see the U.S. doing more than Canada on mitigation (Obama’s climate initiative is seen as a good step; Canada simply withdrew from Kyoto when it became clear it couldn’t meet he targets set).  Different groups of states (each group with its own acronym) has a somewhat different take on what equity requires.  some want adaptation included in  eye equity frame.  there is a shift from the mitigation framework taking place.  In addition to mitigation, adaptation, finance/support and loss/damage are entering into considerations of equity, making equity a more complex idea than it was in Kyoto I. there  are all sorts of factors involved.  There are acknowledgment of needs approaches and ruins-based approaches, historical responsibility formulas and collective burden-sharing ones.  The US, EU, Australia and a few other states face huge payments (for adaptation, loss and damage) AND face huge emissions reductions, so tremendous demands are being placed on developed nations.  If you look at Canada, the public had a strong negative reaction to having their tax monies going overseas, and even carbon taxes (low ones) almost failed, surprising politicians.  In the U.S., there are deep equity concerns between the states.  Environmental justice folks litigated against California’s cap and trade measure on equity grounds: cap and trade is a market mechanism, and trading rather than reducing pollution means that local residents can suffer even if emissions go down somewhere else.  These are all problems of equity and they impact what is likely, what is possible in negotiations.

When I left, I went off to the ADP informal stock-taking plenary, where Alex and Laura were.  ADP (Ad Hoc Working Group on Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) working on the Durban platform and responsible for he 2015 Paris treaty had clearly made a very short presentation and delegates were engaging in their remarks.  What was memorable to me was the head of the Philippine delegation, who likes to put his criticisms in the form of stories.  After a number of countries had berated developed countries for not doing more, he told this story.  A mother came to Gandhi and asked him to tell her son to stop eating sugar.  Instead, Gandhi told the woman to return in two weeks.  She returned, and Gandhi told her son to stop eating sugar.  The mother asked Gandhi why he had not done that when she first asked.  Gandhi’s reply was that, two weeks ago, he was still eating sugar.

Alex, Laura and I adjourned with TIm Damon, with who we had arranged to have lunch. Tim had spent a great deal of time with Ben and Alex on Skype helping the students learn what to expect and watch for.  He first attended a COP while a student at Dickinson, and he is working with SUSTAINUS on intergenerational equity, trying to get  this term into the draft treaty at a minimum.  Tim also spent time separately prepping me, so it seemed that a nice lunch at the small Cantina near the EU pavilion would be in order.  The after-lunch meeting on Combatting Climate Change through Education and Training was pretty unbearably boring, no matter how important this issue is.  A bunch of agencies and a few individuals told us how they did it.  One good point made was that learning, equity, and innovation were essential for developing resilience and adaptation among the young to deal with climate change.  Ministers of Education have just come to  the table on climate change.  We will need resilient and creative children for what lies ahead.

It is way too late, so I will stop here.  I think the Saturday afternoon protest was more interesting than closing subsidiary body sessions, which kept getting pushed back and were impossible to follow when parts of their work were reported out since sections were only referred to by esoteric numbers (esoteric to anyone who was not in the many closed door negotiating sessions).

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Conversation with Marja Olff (coordinator Europe), Soham Baba Mission

by Carol Nackenoff

Marja Olff

Marja Olff


The Soham Baba Mission is an international organization dedicated to promoting peace on earth by offering selfless service to the humanity.  It is also a spiritual mission, and from its website, we learn that “the Soham Baba Mission is the manifestation of the positive and all-embracing dream and spiritual vision of His Holiness 1008 Shri Shri Soham Baba and Shri 108 Ma Aparna Giri”


I explained that we were a new RINGO delegation from Swarthmore College near Philadelphia, and that our school has a long tradition of Quaker activism. Many of our students are politically progressive or activist oriented. I explained that our students had appreciated her remarks at the COP-19 President’s briefing for observers, when she said: “You say time is precious. I say we have no time,” and that we would very much like to hear more about the NGO she represented, and about her views at the conference.


Mrs. Olff quoted in our conversation the Founder/Chairman of the Soham Baba Mission, His Holiness 1008 Shri Shri Soham Baba, one of the greatest spiritual World Leaders of our time: “what about the climate change within us?”


The Soham Baba Mission is headquartered in the Netherlands, where Mrs. Olff is from, and there is an ashram near Calcutta. The mission is an early responder to disaster areas all over the world, setting up medical camps, distributing meals, organizing blood donation camps, and serving people needing practical help.  That may be in India (cyclone assistance several years ago when they were the first on the scene), the Netherlands, Africa, or South-America.


On behalf of the Soham Baba Mission, Marja Olff visited in 2011 the 4th UN conference for Least Developed Countries (UNLDC IV); a conference convened only once every 10 years. Seventy percent (!) of all the Least Developed Countries are in Africa. Mrs. Olff has the impression that representatives of the LCDs come to the UNFCCC to find funding to solve their pressing issues, including drought, because it is held every year. For these countries, many of their issues are interlinked with climate change.


The organization of the UN follows the economic paradigm. Annex I countries are wealthy and non-Annex I countries are not, for example. On the UNLDC IV, the Soham Baba Mission suggested to let go of this paradigm. Where the UN uses “Least Developed Countries”, His Holiness Soham Babaji officially proposed  the new terminology “Challenged Countries”; challenged economically, or socially, or spiritually, etc. This means that countries could be challenged in one sense and not challenged in another–it depends on the issue. High-income countries could be challenged spiritually.


I thanked Ms. Olff and wished her, and the Soham Baba Mission, success at the conference.

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Final Reflection

by Laura Rigell

Two days ago, I was rushing around the Warsaw stadium that contained theIMGP0365 United Nations climate stadium.  Inside that building, about 10,000 are still gathered, deliberating about one of the greatest issues ever faced in human history.   On Saturday, my final day at the 19th Conference of Parties, I did sit in on a general UN plenary.  Through the technical language, the tensions surfaced.  In that plenary, the lead negotiator of the Philippines Yeb Sano insisted that “developed countries must take the lead.”  Last Monday, he began fasting in solidarity with those suffering or dead as a result of typhoon Haiyan.  Yeb Sano demands bold action for climate justice through immediate and ambitious commitments to emissions reductions and adaptation finance.


Ryan Madden, Adam Greenberg, and Collin Rees of SustainUS fast at COP19

Many at the COP immediately began fasting in solidarity, such as these three representatives from SustainUS (a US youth delegation).  Since, the idea has spread across the world, and over 1000 people will be fasting for at least one day this week.  I will be fasting Wednesday through Friday in solidarity with the Philippines and demanding ambitious action for climate justice.  I simply cannot accept continued inaction by our government on climate change.

Students at Tufts fasted in their dining hall yesterday

Students at Tufts fasted in their dining hall yesterday

Those of us who are planning to fast will be wearing red dots and sitting at a table in Sharples.  I invite you to join us.  You are welcome to join for a single meal, one day, or for multiple. Please email me ( to get plugged into the community of fasters who will be supporting each other in Sharples this week.  Also, this facebook event is a great place to gather information and inspiration.

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Friday, November 15 (Day 3)

by Laura Rigell

Today was a day of rushing around, as usual, with extremes of exhaustion and excitement.  Alex and I started our morning again at the YOUNGO meeting.  Youth debated signing onto a position paper about intergenerational equity.  It was great to get oriented to the actions planned for the day, those meetings are always too brief it seems, and have to be cut off at exactly 9 since another group needs the room.

I briefly went to a meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) on Land Use.  Unfortunately they were just discussing process, so I left to meet Camila Bustos (Brown University) and Alex to go check out the US pavilion.  Many countries have an area around their delegation office with self-promotion.  I grabbed coffee there and then headed to the CAN International briefing.

It began with a die-in action, in which people lay on the floor covered in white cloths, representing dead people.  Others, representing the Japanese delegates, ate sushi off of the bodies, symbolizing their seemingly blaze air about emissions reductions.  The CAN-Japan representative is on his fifth day of fasting.  The Secretary of the Polish anti-mining coalition called ‘Development YES, Open-pit mines NO’ announced that he would begin fasting at that moment.  CAN then presented the Fossil of the Day to Japan for its emissions-increase target.  A CAN representative stated that, even if Japan replaced their 20 nuclear plants (which are under safety inspection following the Fukushima disaster) with their current proportions of other energy sources, they could still accomplish a cut of 17%.  The CAN-Australia representative announced that this Sunday there will be over 200 coordinated actions across Australia, demanding more ambition.  She emphasized that volunteer fire fighters will be participating inspired by their experiences with recent unprecedented forest fires.

Camila and I then rushed to a side event titled “Human Rights: How Lessons Learnt from the CDM can inform the design of new market mechanisms.”  It began with case studies of contentious Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects.  These initiatives are often pursued in developing countries, who can be compensated by another country for hosting an emissions-decreasing activity.  The funding country receives a carbon credit toward their emissions reduction goal.  Case studies included a coal-fired power plant in India and a hydroelectric dam in Panama.  Both spokespeople voiced that local people, particularly indigenous people, had not been consulted in the lead-up to the projects.  They demanded that CDM projects obey national environmental laws, international human rights law, and require consultation with all stakeholders.  During the second half of the event, officials knowledgeable about CDM including Peer Sitansen, the current chair of the CDM executive board, joined.  He and others expressed commitment to the value of CDMs, and expressed hopes for increased stakeholder consultation and safeguards similar to those included in REDD+.

I then went to a YOUNGO meeting about the role of youth in the 2014 Climate Summit, which is being hosted by Ban Ki-moon, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Ahmad Alhendawi, Ban Ki-moon’s envoy on youth attended the meeting and expressed sincere interest in lifting up young leaders at that summit.

I headed from there to meet up with Carol and Alex for a bit before going to a panel on Divestment, being held by SustainUS and the UK Youth Climate Coalition.  I was so energized to see how widespread divestment has become.  It was encouraging to hear rational defenses from international youth for the value of divestment, as Swarthmore students started the first campaign three years ago.  Now there are hundreds of such campaigns across the world.  I recorded the whole panel, and plan to post it soon.

With too many worthwhile things always happening at the same time, it seems hard not to constantly rush from one to the other.  I left the panel early to meet up with Carol and Alex for our meeting with Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UNFCCC.  It was such an honor to sit down with her, even for 20 minutes.  We were lucky enough to be able to video record the interview.  We will also upload that soon.  I am so grateful to be able to claim Christiana as a Swarthmore alumnus.

We then sat in on the US delegation briefing before heading into downtown for dinner.  After sushi at a nice restaurant, with boats floating around on actual water on the sushi bar, we headed to the youth space.  The Poland Youth Climate Coalition has organized a space independent of the COP for young people to convene.  We used their internet to skype into Swarthmore to touch base.  It was a highlight of the day to reconnect with our base!

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Wednesday, November 13 (Day 1)

by Alex Ahn

We arrived at the National Stadium a little before 3PM, with enough time to have a late lunch before the second block of side events for the day. Just outside of the food court, a group of youth activists from YOUNGO staged a mock auction in which representatives of industry interests competed to purchase various false solutions to the climate crisis. The show was impressively choreographed. Afterwards the delegation split up to cover three side events and meetings. Alex attended an IPCC hearing on the 5th Assessment Report, Laura went to an event on the potential of divestment as a political strategy, and Carol visited a meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, which deal with ways to compensate countries that are already suffering irreversible impacts (unfortuately, the meeting was postponed twice and then canceled. we have found that things are generally quite unpredictable at this and perhaps most climate conferences.)

The IPCC hearing consisted of three presentations by IPCC climate scientists, followed by a question-and-answer session by the national delegates present at the hearing. There seemed to be about 40 countries represented. The major point that the scientists wanted to make was that we cannot limit surface warming to 2 degrees Celsius if we emit more than 270 Gigatons of carbon in the future, which at the current pace will occur in less than 3 decades. Switzerland was curious about future changes in the geographic distribution of emissions, and the declining capacity of carbon sinks. An unknown representative began to speak in skeptical terms about the difficulty of interpreting the range of uncertainty in scientific analysis for policymakers, and spent the next twenty minutes repeating the same idea in different words with long-winded metaphors. It very nearly made me suspect he was trying to stall the conversation. He turned out to be representing China. Before turning the microphone back to the IPCC scientists for response, the European Union delegate countered the Chinese comment by arguing that any risk assessment necessarily involves uncertainties. Brazil proposed that in order to invigorate the negotiations, the temperature goal should be broken down into decadal increments and regularly updated on the latest science. The IPCC explained that we currently do not have good ways to predict temperature patterns at a decadal resolution, and that long-term emission accumulations are a far more scientifically reliable metric. The last question that was raised before I left the hearing for another meeting was raised by the US delegate, who asked about the increase in methane emissions from wetlands that were driven by natural variability. The IPCC responded that because the increase has only been detected in the past few years, long-term attribution to any specific cause was impossible. It also noted that there has only been one published study on the subject.

In the meantime, Laura attended a panel on solutions and divestment.  Jamie Henn of 350.0rg screened a brief movie made about the international youth divestment movement.  Jamie described 350 recent European tour during which they are spreading the tactic to universities in this region.

We next gathered to meet with Anne Kolker ’08, a negotiator for the US State Department who has been working on various issues at COP for the past three years. Her perspective on the state of negotiations and the role of the US in the international context was surprising and fascinating. We hope to publish an interview we conducted with her as soon as we obtain government approval for its public release.

We next joined the SustainUS youth delegation for a meeting with their domestic policy working group. They are impressively well organized, though through the thickness of the UN jargon it was sometimes difficult to understand what they were talking about. We also met in person the leader of its international delegation, Tim Damon, who had been extremely helpful in advising our preparation for the conference. SustainUS is domestically active in pushing for environmental regulation through the EPA, which may be of interest to may students at Swarthmore. There is potential for collaboration here.

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Thursday, November 14 (Day 2, part 2)

by Carol Nackenoff

Today I attended a morning meeting of the RINGOs, the Research and Independent NGOs (of which we, as an academic institutional observer, are one).  They have substantive meetings oN Tues and Thurs. mornings and more informal networking opportunities   MWF where people can talk about their own research and interests.  there was a great  deal of information shared, including alerts about upcoming events and meetings for us, such as the Polish President of COP’s briefing for observer organizations Thurs afternoon.

That was a very interesting 90 minute session where he (I’m going to butcher his name but I think I heard Martin Korowitz) talked about the road to Paris 2015 and how important it is to leave Warsaw with clarification of the structure, duration, how countries will contribute, and guidelines for those who draft the agreement for Peru 2014.  Then followed questions and answers, about which about more later.

In the morning, I also attended a meeting that was announced in the  RINGO meeting.  It was a side,eating on Equity, Sustainable Development, and Climate Policy.  apparently this year, side events have to be proposed by one of the a parties (signatory nations) so EU sponsored this one.   It was a bunch of academics and  researchers affiliated with Climate Strategies, an international research platform.  the presenters had written articles for a forthcoming issue of Climate Policy Journal.  Jennifer Morgan spoke about how to operationalize equity, and that sometimes, mention of equity causes countries to dig their heels in harder.  Equity has grown more complex; should impacts and vulnerability be taken into account?  Equity also has domestic dimensions:  for instance, there has to be some sort of just transition for workers displaced by a mitigation efforts.

You also have  to ask why benefits when a nation takes action on climate? Jose Alberto Garibaldi gave a fascinating and politically astute talk about research he had done an the Economics of Boldness: Equity Outcomes.  He is with Energeia Alliance.  Among his points was that climate institutions are a set of rules interpreted by agents who play games.  The main object of the negotiations here’s is to avoid dangerous Anthropogenic interference with the climate.  It is not equitable access to resources.  He argued that institutions could be shy and cautious or bold and deep (correlating with high or low ambition–ambition is a word thrown around a lot here, I will note).  Related to this, the major cost to nations is impacts of climate change, not cost of mitigation.  It turns out, based on studying responses of various nations, that incurring bigger mitigation costs to reduce impacts means that ultimately, your more ambitious response reduces costs.  The final paper I heard before rushing out to another meeting that was on our agenda of events to cover (prepared in advance) was by Stavros Afionis who is affiliated with the University of Leeds Centre for Climate Economics and policy.  I didn’t catch all this talk but he was making a very interesting set of points about the experiences of host communities with carbon market projects.  He is concerned with how climate justice is multi-leveled.  Some of his argument is based on a biomass clean development mechanism project in India.  He says there are global, national/regional, private sector, and host community levels that you have to think about actual you need to think a out distributive and procedural justice concerns at the axes o f each of these relationships. CDMA projects, for instance, may be devised in such ways that host communities are not given a chance to be participants in important stages of the process.

Then, off to a discussion about REDD+ that was one of the hottest topics this week.  REDD means Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, and the + was added later for sustainability.  It was sponsored by CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Research.
We are hungry, and have another interesting event this evening, so more later!

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