Sunday, 28 November 2010 20:47

Mexico’s Carbon Quandaries

By Adam Kotin and Guy Edwards With the Cancún Climate Change Conference kicking off today, the eyes of the world turn anxiously toward the Mexican beach resort where this year’s host seems prepped to glimmer in the spotlight.  Boasting one of the most impressive low-carbon plans among developing nations and several large-scale mitigation projects already underway, the country offers a much-needed illustration of how to put your carbon where your mouth is. But even with the best-laid plans, Mexico faces a rising tide of obstacles, including a lack of investment, archaic legal and regulatory architecture, and rowdy social groups vexed by government plans to push its low-carbon development agenda upon them. To top things off critics fear the Cancún Conference  may fail to fully engage the world’s leaders, as memories of Copenhagen coupled with diminishing confidence in the UN system pervade the global debate. Mexico’s ambitious and progressive plans may not gain the international platform they desire while Cancún’s grandest hotels may avoid having to dust down all the red carpets.
Published in Climate Finance
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 10:25

Via Campesina March in Cancun

By Adam Kotin, Brown University Excerpts from the Via Campesina March, Cancun, Mexico, December 7, 2010. A civil society response to COP16, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Protestors came from all over the world to participate in the movement. They marched several kilometres towards the Moon Palace, where negotiations were being held, until they were stopped by a massive police barricade. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omWrXirUyMs&hd=1[/youtube]
Published in Civil Society
By Arielle Balbus and Guy Edwards  (Brown University) In April this year, the First World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth drew over 35,000 people to the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. The challenge it posed to the climate establishment for failing to reach an agreement in Copenhagen, as well as its substantive accomplishments, are considered a revolution in social mobilization around the mounting threat of climate change.
Published in Civil Society
In this interview with one of Latin America’s sustainable development heavy-weights, we discuss the prospects for the Cancun climate change talks and the involvement of Latin American countries, climate debt, the role of civil society and Ecuadorian climate politics. Yolanda Kakabadse is the current president of the WWF and the Latin America Network Director for the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. Previously the Minister of Environment in Ecuador, Yolanda also set-up the Quito-based Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (FFLA). Yolanda has been granted numerous awards including by the UN for her contribution to the environment and development in Latin America. 1. Do you feel optimistic that Latin American countries can work together to push for an international agreement in Cancun this December? Hopefully, Cancun is going to be different to Copenhagen. The best scenario is that it does not become a moment for negotiations but rather an opportunity to become a platform for dialogue. Dialogue should focus on where there is agreement and understanding. This could help countries agree what they can negotiate later on and establish what is disturbing the negotiations and therefore what should be clarified. There is currently so much division between blocks that going into Cancun to negotiate could prove to be more divisive. Further confrontation should be avoided to maintain faith in the UN process.
Published in Interviews
Sunday, 21 February 2010 20:42

Can Mexico regain the momentum?

On the 2nd February, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa gave the 16th U Thant Distinguished Lecture entitled, ‘Preserving Our Common Heritage: Promoting a Fair Agreement on Climate Change’, hosted by the UN University. The event was convened in collaboration with Asahi Shimbun and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). The link to the speech can be found here. In hosting this December’s climate change conference, Mexico has an advantage over the previous hosts, the Danes. A key player in a region often branded as a land of missed opportunities while simultaneously sitting on the OECD and G20 respectively, Mexico can potentially bridge the seemingly unassailable void between rich and developing countries. This situation may help to smooth over the colossal trust deficit which pervades UN talks on global warming. Mexico is also a regional and global leader on climate change demonstrated by its ambitious Special Program on Climate Change and emissions reduction target of 50% below 2000 levels by 2050. It has also won international respect for its progressive Green Fund proposal which seeks to improve the international climate finance regime. The international community is in dire need of a global climate change champion with the political clout to push the debate forward. President Obama perhaps had his shot in Copenhagen. The EU is still recovering from a massive COP15 hangover while other contenders seem to be in short supply. Mexico could prove to be the guacamole missing from the climate change burrito.
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 00:04

Brazil spices things up in New Delhi

On the 24th January the second meeting of Ministers of the BASIC Group – Brazil, South Africa, India and China - took place in New Delhi, India. The four countries, joined at the last hour by the US, were instrumental in hammering out the controversial Copenhagen Accord at the December climate change conference last year. The recent meeting reconfirmed the four countries´ commitment to working together with all other countries to establish an agreement at the COP-16 in Mexico. The BASIC coalition may be pulling Brazil further away from the rest of Latin America at a time when many are hoping for greater consensus on climate change in the region. However, this may not be a bad thing for the international climate change talks as Brazil´s progressive stance can hopefully rub off positively on both its BASIC partners and other countries. It might also suit Latin American countries but for two very different reasons. For those looking to Brazil for regional leadership on climate change, the BASIC coalition may add prestige and weight to some of Brazil´s demands which are of a similar overture to some of its Amazonian neighbours for example. On the flip side, those Latin American countries happy to resist internalizing climate change as a domestic priority will be content to see Brazil flying the flag far from their own shores. As a result, we may be witnessing the internationalization of the climate change debate in Latin America. Whether Brazil´s role in this new climate change collective works out positively or negatively for itself and other Latin American countries remains to be seen.
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