Friday, 22 November 2013 06:35

Governments can say no to fossil fuels

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fossil fuels The fossil fuel lobby has a disproportionate influence on world leaders, but governments are not as powerless as they pretend.  If we are serious about closing the emission gap this decade and avoiding serious dangerous climate change, our work in finance, technology, and politics must drive decision makers towards saying no to high carbon infrastructure that would lock in emissions for the decades to come. Governments do have the choice to say no.
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. 
bank Since the creation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in 2010, concerns have grown about the World Bank's potential role in designing policies to determine the allocation of resources for adaptation and mitigation activities in developing countries.
The Bank is criticised because some of its investments have had negative social and economic impacts on populations in countries receiving financial assistance, including affecting the living conditions of indigenous peoples and, in some cases, the violation of human rights. The Bank is also criticised due to the conditionalities imposed on borrower countries. Today the World Bank is the interim trustee of the GCF, meaning it is managing the fund's financial assets for an initial three years. In this role, the Bank must manage contributions and investments, as well as provide services, including commitment accounting, cash transfers and financial reporting. But it is not responsible for allocating funds or preparing, appraising, supervising or reporting on GCF financed activities. Ostensibly, the Bank will carry out these duties until a permanent trustee is chosen through an open, transparent and competitive bidding process. Even so, the Bank has expressed interest in playing a larger role than just managing financial assets in the future. The governing instrument for the GCF states that the World Bank, in its role as interim trustee, will be subject to a review three years after the start of the Fund's operations. However, there is no rule stating that the Bank cannot continue after the review or that it could not eventually be selected as the permanent trustee. For the fourth meeting of the GCF board in late June, the GCF secretariat was asked to prepare six papers on the key issues relating to the Fund's business model framework (BMF) to facilitate board decisions on the operations of the fund. These papers were written with the support of external consultants, among them former and even current World Bank staff. Having these consultants provide guidance on the BMF will have a considerable impact on the decisions the GCF board must make. While it is still unknown how the GCF will use intermediaries when allocating resources, it is likely that financial institutions will step in to help the GCF channel money. The World Bank plans to seek accreditation to become an implementing entity of the GCF. If that is the case, the World Bank, in its role as an intermediary, must be accountable for ensuring money is used for what it was allocated. This means that the World Bank will have to take on a decision-making role to fulfill its duties. It is worth noting that during the third GCF board meeting in March there was exhaustive discussions on the administrative model that the GCF secretariat should adopt. Most board members said the most suitable model would be based on the structure of multilateral development banks (MDBs) - like the World Bank. That is because these institutions apparently attract the most qualified professionals. The board will also make a decision on the structure and organisation of the fund at their June meeting. Before this, an assessment of the structure and organisation of MDBs, including the World Bank, would help the board in considering potential and suitable options for structuring the GCF. The operational rules of the GCF are yet to be decided. Having the World Bank so close to the fund is a concern. Civil society groups fears that the GCF will end up making the same mistakes as many other financial institutions in funding unsustainable projects that generate negative social and environmental consequences. Lidy Nacpil, the regional coordinator of the Jubilee South Asia-Pacific Movement on Debt and Development said: "The World Bank has been at the forefront of financing fossil-fuel projects that have exacerbated the climate crisis. It is now an ironic contradiction that this same institution that has greatly contributed to the climate crisis is to be entrusted with funds that promise to address the very same problem it helped to create in the first place". In any event, there's still no evidence to determine the future involvement of the World Bank, only room for speculation. But it is important to remain on our toes and mindful of any moves that could increase the World Bank's involvement.   This article was published originally here.  
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 12:34

COP18 closing briefing by UNFCCC's Christiana Figueres

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For 15 years, climate policy wonks have been talking about “the post-2012 World,” describing the years after the end of the Kyoto Protocol’s “first commitment period,” which ran from 2005 to 2012.  Now just three weeks away, the post-2012 world is actually much fuzzier than ever before.  Just as we near the shore, a fog is descending.
So it’s come down to this, a “Hail Mary pass for the climate.” At the end of an American football game, the losing team, down by three or four scores with virtually no possibility of winning, often resorts to a “Hail Mary Pass,” in which they line up a few guys to protect the quarterback, send everyone else down into the opposing team’s end zone, and then heave the ball up in the hopes one of their teammates will catch it.
For a stretch of U.S. history back in the 1800s, two forces struggled to impose their social order on the expanses of the nation’s vast Western frontier.  On the one side were citizen “settlers” and their officials, trying to impose national laws from the East to make the place safe for building a society where joint problems like safety, land ownership, and building basic infrastructure got dealt with in a consensual and predictable way.  On the other side were bands of renegades or “outlaws,” who furtively sought the treasures of the land through their ability to terrorize the settlers and other bands of outlaws.
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 11:22

Report from Panama: slow and steady wins the race?

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By Tim Ash-Vie This article was originally published here by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. Meetings of the UNFCCC earlier this year in Bangkok and Bonn were mainly characterised by fundamental differences among countries about what should even be on the agenda.  The latest meeting in Panama, from 1-8 October, offered more than that. At last, parties began to articulate the shape of a possible outcome at Durban: an outcome that would show meaningful progress towards a well-supported international agreement beyond 2012.