New Article: “‘Climate Finance Issues': Implications for Climate Change Adaptation for Food Security in Southern Africa”

Hofisi, C., Chigavazira, B., Mago, S., Hofisi, M. (2013). “Climate Finance Issues”: Implications for Climate Change Adaptation in Food Security in Southern Africa”. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. 4(6): 47-53.

Abstract: Global development has been asphyxiated by climate change as evidenced by significant repercussions on the world economy.While agriculture is the backbone of most developing economies in the global south, this sector is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Grim statistics point to a bleak future if the risk posed by climate change is not tackled.The impact of climate change has generally seen precipitation increasing in the Global North while the same has decreased in the Global South resulting in both wetter and drier scenarios. This scenario has meant that global food security is under threat.It is against this background that climate change adaptation becomes significant in averting the climate change induced food crisis. However, the UNFCCC “funding streams” for climate change adaptation strategies have been criticised for being financially and technically inadequate for meeting the adaptation needs of poor countries that are more vulnerable to climate effects. The disbursal of climate change is inefficient and more costly. African countries have also been clamouring for direct access to climate finance. Therefore, the ravaging impact of climate change on global development lingers. While there are debates on climate finance for effective adaptation, the resolution of issues involved is key if the battle against climate change is to be won. It is important that adaptation is mainstreamed in government policies, mainly, in the developing countries for effective financing of climate change adaptation to be realised while the poor and most vulnerable in developing countries should be given priority.

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New Article: ‘Rational Climate Mitigation Goals’

Björnberg, K.E. (2013). Rational Climate Mitigation Goals. Energy Policy. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.12.057

Abstract: The overall goal of the UNFCCC is to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. In policy practice, this goal is mainly operationalized through three types of mitigation targets: emission, atmospheric concentration and temperature targets. The typical function of climate mitigation goals is to regulate action towards goal achievement. This is done in several ways. Mitigation goals help the structuring of the greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement action, over time and between agents; they constitute a standard against which GHG abatement can be assessed and evaluated; they motivate climate conscious behavior; and discourage defection from cooperative abatement regimes. Although the three targets clearly relate to one another, there could be differences in how well they fulfill these functions. In this article, the effectiveness of emission, concentration and temperature targets in guiding and motivating action towards the UNFCCC’s overall aim is analyzed using a framework for rational goal evaluation developed by Edvardsson and Hansson (2005) as an analytical tool. It is argued that to regulate action effectively, mitigation goals should ideally satisfy four criteria: precision, evaluability, attainability and motivity. Only then can the target fulfill its typical function, i.e., to guide and motivate action in a way that facilitates goal achievement.

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Table of Contents Alert: Transnational Environmental Law 1 (2)

See below for some of the latest publications in Transnational Environmental Law 1 (2):

Transnational Dimensions of Climate Governance
Thijs Etty, Veerle Heyvaert, Cinnamon Carlarne, Dan Farber, Jolene Lin and Joanne Scott
No Abstract

Climate Change Law in an Era of Multi-Level Governance
Jacqueline Peel, Lee Godden and Rodney J. Keenan
Abstract: As international negotiations struggle to deliver timely, binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels, the environmental legal community has begun to contemplate the scope for climate governance ‘beyond’ the international climate change regime. Many see merit in a more decentralized, disaggregated approach, operating across multiple governance levels. This article examines the development of climate change law in an era of multi-level governance. It analyzes several case studies of current manifestations of multi-level governance in climate change law, including the fragmented global emissions trading system, developing arrangements governing forests and land-based sinks, the growth of climate litigation establishing transnational liability principles, efforts to ensure adaptation to unavoidable climate change, and the emergence in federal systems of a decentralized approach to climate change regulation. The article concludes by considering whether the emerging multi-level system of climate governance is adequate to meet broader international goals of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Towards a Legal Framework for Coastal Adaptation: Assessing the First Steps in Europe and Australia
Jonathan Verschuuren and Jan McDonald
Abstract: In light of the urgent need for coastal adaptation policies and the impediments to their implementation, this article examines the early experience with coastal adaptation policies in the EU (in particular the Netherlands and the UK) and Australia, with a view to identifying the important features of an effective regulatory framework for coastal adaptation. We conclude that an integrated approach to coastal adaptation law is currently needed to lay the foundations for the required long-term strategy. Such an approach would establish processes by which adaptation objectives are agreed for each part of the coast, ensure land use planning that can accommodate future change and does not expose new communities to risk, integrate coastal adaptation with biodiversity and coastal zone policy, allocate regulatory responsibility in a way that promotes subsidiarity and consistency, and ensure that funds are available for future measures.

Defining Emissions Entitlements in the Constitution of the EU Emissions Trading System
Sabina Manea
Abstract: The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is the largest mandatory programme of its kind. The entitlements in emissions allowances (emissions entitlements) combine public and private law characteristics: allowances are tradable, commercially valuable regulatory instruments. This dual nature reveals a new interdependency between public and private law mechanisms in the context of climate change policy. This article argues that achieving the requisite level of emissions reductions is contingent on the viability of the emissions market, and that both are dependent on the definition of emissions entitlements. This view is supported by a case study which identifies the practical and serious consequences of the absence of a legal concept of emissions entitlements. The United States (US) Acid Rain Program offers useful lessons on the treatment of emissions entitlements. They can be further defined by analogy with similar rights regimes. Their nature is highly relevant to the emissions market, particularly to the commercial contracts that constitute it.

New Report: ‘Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing’

The new UN report, entitled ‘Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing‘  is dubbed to be a major break through for resilience theory. The new report is in many respects the counterpart of the landmark 1987 report by the World Commission on Environment and Development, “Our Common Future”, better known to as the Brundtland report. Just as its predecessor the new report is a significant contribution to the UN’s work on sustainable development, and will be an important contribution to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.

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‘Kyoto Protocol: Lifeline or Death at the Global Climate Change Summit in Durban?’

by Trusha Reddy, ISS
“We don’t want South Africa to be the death of Kyoto Protocol,” Minister of Environment, Edwina Molewa said recently, referring to the outcomes aspired to by the incoming South African COP17 Presidency from 28 November to 9 December 2011. But what are the real chances of life for the Kyoto and what are the stakes if we lose it?
 Most countries are calling for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, as the first one ends in 2012. The Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect in 2005, is the only legally binding agreement for greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It commits 38 developed nations from 2008-2012 to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 % below 1990 levels. The US never ratified Kyoto arguing that it would harm its domestic economy. Emerging economies also argued that their first priority is to develop, which requires higher energy use. Countries led by the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan now wish to see the demise of Kyoto and introduce a ‘pledge and review’ system instead of Kyoto’s system of binding targets. The resulting effect of killing Kyoto would be consolidate two separate tracks of the negotiation process, which was agreed to at the COP13, Bali in 2007, one with binding targets, the other with comparable national efforts and a long-term vision.

‘The Complex Web of Climate Finance Decisions in Durban’

by Liane Schalatek, Associate Director of the Heinrich Boell Foundation North America. 

Ever since developed countries in Copenhagen at COP 15 pledged significant short- and long-term financial support to help developing countries achieve their climate action goals, the discourse about climate finance – on how to fulfill the pledges from what sources, on which institutional channels to use or create, on how to balance and rationalize the global climate finance architecture and on whether and how to align the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of climate finance with that of emissions reductions – has been a dominant driver of the multilateral climate negotiation process. COP 17 in Durban starting this Monday will be no different. By some counts no fewer than seven or eight distinct decisions relating to climate finance are on the Durban schedule, all of them interwoven and interlinked in a complex web of conditionalities, reciprocities and political gamesmanship with the larger Durban negotiation package. The most prominent one, , the pivot in the view of many insiders, will be the confirmation of the design for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the approval of a transitional process as well as initial funding for its set-up by the parties. Without the GCF and its secured financial sustainability, there will be no Durban package.

While the Durban decision on the GCF undoubtedly holds the key to unlocking a number of other important negotiation issues, it is by no means the only relevant climate finance one. Four bodies under the climate framework convention will be dealing with financing topics in Durban; these are the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI), the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), the Conference of Parties (COP), and the Kyoto Protocol meeting of parties (CMP). All these bodies will meet in parallel. Some finance issues are more routine than rallying cry. Yet, others go to the heart of Article 4.3 of the UNFCCC, which defines the financial responsibility of Annex II countries. Solving these climate finance issues will be crucial for any real progress in Durban, although the prospects are not very promising.

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‘Kyoto extension a ‘tall order’, says UN’s Figueres’

Engineering News, 27 November 2011 

Establishing a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol is a “tall order” for governments, and is the most difficult issue at the seventeenth Conference of the Parties, or COP 17, meeting, which gets under way in Durban this week, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres said on Sunday.

She said that there would be a serious effort in Durban to move towards a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol legally binds signatory developed countries to emission reduction targets. The first commitment period started in 2008 and terminates at the end of 2012.

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