1. Climate Change: The Paris Agreement
Comment on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is mixed, but largely positive. This might be a function of very low expectations going into the Paris meeting after Copenhagen four years ago. As Timmons Roberts at Brookings says “The spectre of another train wreck of that magnitude hung over the Paris negotiations from the start to the very end”. People are both optimistic and skeptical about the Agreement’s content – and the world’s capacity to change its behaviour sufficiently anyway, particularly our reliance on fossil fuels. The first blog from Brookings reflects the optimism. The second, from the DevPolicy blog at ANU (by an ex-senior aid official who worked on climate change) analyses how the Agreement demands greater accountability….Finally, several articles giving us a reality check….the first from India, then from several who remain deeply concerned that Paris did not go nearly far enough.
a. In Paris, the United Nations delivered. Now it’s up to the rest of us to transform society away from fossil fuels
…Alot remains unfinished: How adequate and predictable climate finance will be delivered to help developing countries cope with climate impacts and make the transition to clean energy is not clearly addressed. Critically, the Paris Accord is still a voluntary system, with neither binding mechanisms or clear ways to enforce compliance. While laying out the ambitious goal of keeping warming under 2 degrees Celsius, the agreement will still leave the planet vulnerable to major impacts.
…but: in Paris, the UN has finally delivered. Now it’s up to the nations, companies, civil society and all our institutions—from universities, churches, hospitals, service agencies and local governments—to immediately and aggressively move this effort forward.
b. A fragile symmetry: climate finance in the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement has two elements: mitigation commitments and financing commitments. At the very least, it provides a great deal of purchase to those looking to exact greater accountability. Desirable processes have been set in motion, but ….inertia and bickering might well break the “symmetry” of the Agreement. An omission is that it contains no figures for financing mitigation efforts in developing countries. The existing mobilisation goal of US$100 billion per annum by 2020 (set in Copenhagen) will be considered a floor until 2025, and a higher collective goal will be adopted before 2025 – by a Conference of [all] Parties – (not just the developed countries “donors club”…)
What does the final COP 21 outcome mean for Australia’s development assistance for climate change? It means our “modest” level of support under the UNFCC will be much more under the international spotlight. “It is hard to believe that Australia will not sooner or later respond to pressure to do more overall…”.
c. Paris climate deal won’t affect India coal plans
India still plans to double coal output by 2020 and rely on the resource for decades afterwards, a senior official has revealed, just days after….
India, the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, is dependant on coal for about two-thirds of its energy needs and has pledged to mine more of the fuel to power its resource-hungry economy while also promising to increase clean energy generation.
d. Paris climate deal throws ‘frayed lifeline’ to the poor
Those concerned with social justice are skeptical: “This deal offers a frayed lifeline to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” said Helen Szoke, chief executive of aid agency Oxfam Australia.
While representatives of small island states who pushed hard for 1.5% (global warming goal) claimed this deal was “the best we can hope for”, Oxfam was more direct: Only a “vague promise” of future funding was agreed and “the deal does not force countries to cut emissions fast enough to forestall a climate change catastrophe”.
e. Climate migrants could dwarf other refugee flows – experts
The figures suggest that the Agreement does not reflect a central reality which may overwhelm us all: Last year, 11 million people fled conflict or violence in Syria, Afghanistan and other troubled regions of the world. As well, the average number of people displaced globally by natural disasters, including floods, storms and droughts, has averaged 22.5 million a year since 2008 and is growing.
f. Why have we waited so long to address climate change?
An interesting historical analysis from a former senior Vanuatu official involved in international negotiations since the early 1990’s. He points to the importance of a more concerted engagement to involve all – civil society, business, and others – in shaping global answers to climate change.
2. Refugees and Migration
What’s been happening in Europe might give Australian political leaders some pause for thought….
a. Migration crisis: ‘Who can refuse these human beings? Who?’ asks UN official
“The wave was 10cm high two years ago,” he said. “Now it’s about 40cm high. But for your children, it will be 30 metres high. Why? Because 2 billion people in the world earn less than $1.25 a day. The difference between now and 20 years ago is that everybody looks at everybody now – it’s the globalisation of the economy and the globalisation of communications: internet, TV, radio. It’s very new.”
b. This could be the largest refugee resettlement intake in Australia’s postwar history – here’s what it means
Do you know how the 12000 Syrian refugees fit with Australia’s overall annual refugee intake, past and present? Useful summary from the Guardian.
c. Migration can help to forge a more prosperous world, says World Bank
The World Bank’s 2015 Global Monitoring Report, points to the implications for migration, poverty and development of the far-reaching population shift of today. The large-scale migration of people from poor countries to richer ones will “reshape economic development for decades” Overall trends are stark: while more than 90% of global poverty is concentrated in lower-income countries where populations are young and fast-growing, more than 75% of global growth occurs in higher-income countries where women have fewer children, where there are fewer people of working age and where the proportion of elderly people is on the increase.
3. Ethiopia’s 2015 – 16 drought
The unfolding drought in Ethiopia. This year I want to explore more how are we at this point again in Ethiopia…?
a. No reason for famine (IFPRI)
From one of my favourite African food security think tanks, IFPRI….. The 2015-16 drought and production shortfall need not have caused a famine. By heeding the lessons of past famines, Government can ensure sufficient cereals and transfers in cash and in kind to provide households with their needs. Other food security issues will still need to be resolved, including ensuring adequate nutrition for all individuals.
b. More child marriage in drought-hit Ethiopia with risk of ‘full-blown disaster’
As well, child marriage is on the rise in Ethiopia due to the worst drought in decades, the government and agencies said on Friday, as Oxfam warned of a ‘full-blown disaster’ unless more than $1 billion in food aid is found for 10 million people. Agencies predict the El Niño weather phenomenon will cause record levels of malnutrition in Africa’s second most populous nation, famed for war- and drought-induced famine in 1984. More than one in ten of Ethiopia’s 92 million people, most of whom depend on rain-fed agriculture, are short of food
c. The Cause of Ethiopia’s Recurrent Famine Is Not Drought, It Is Authoritarianism
Written by a post-grad student in Washington for the Huffington Post. Why is it still the case that so many – millions of – Ethiopians lead a marginal life…?
d. Famine and Government Neglect in Ethiopia
Punchy…I haven’t seen this site before but might be one to watch…..
e. Ethiopian girl wins $150,000 for rape, abduction and marriage at 13
A strike for women’s justice. One in two girls in Ethiopia are brides by the age of 18, according to government data. Abusive practices include marriage by abduction — as in Woineshet’s case — and forced unions between cousins.
4. And just a couple more
a. Five humanitarian crises largely overlooked in 2015
…and the losers are: Central America’s Hidden Displacement, South Sudan’s refugee crisis, Central African Republic, Yemen, Global Impact of El Nino, Republic of Congo..these five received less media attention and funding than all the others…this article demonstrates tragically, yet again, that need is not enough to trigger response from those with the capacity to do so….
b. Scant aid for low-caste villagers hit by Chennai floods in south India
And while we are speaking of the powerless, Dalit communities miss out, yet again in India….
c. Three reasons why supporting peace is more important than ever
A very useful and pithy reminder from an expert…
TIP for those wanting more: The Thomas Reuters Foundation site is a mine of information on Climate Change, Migration, Human Rights and Humanitarian issues.