Dec 282016

Lead envoy of Least Developed Countries bloc and chief advisor assess whether the COP22 talks last month offer hope dangerous warming will be stopped

(Pic: UNFCCC/Flickr)

(Pic: UNFCCC/Flickr)

By Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu and Manjeet Dhakal

The Paris Agreement entering into force in record time, just eleven months after its adoption, framed the Marrakech Climate Conference.

Resource-constrained and vulnerable countries like ours – the least developed countries – do not have the luxury of time to continue negotiations and implementation at a slow pace.

Climate change related events are already causing loss of life and property, with accelerating impacts at home, affecting our fellow delegates between each subsequent round of climate talks.

We looked to Marrakech to give implementation momentum and to ensure that global businesses and political leaders remain engaged and willing to contribute in the fight against climate change and to fully implement the Paris Agreement.

The climate talks made progress on several issues important to the least developed countries (LDCs).

Continue reading »

Jan 222014

The article was published on the Nagarik News (22 Jan, 2014)

विश्व वातावरण संरक्षण र दिगो विकासका लागि भएका पहलमध्ये मुख्यतः सन् १९९२ मा ब्राजिलको रियो दि जेनिरियोमा भएको पृथ्वी सम्मेलनबाट पारित जलवायु परिवर्तनसम्बन्धी संयुक्त राष्ट्रसंघीय खाका महासन्धिको मुख्य उद्देश्य विश्व उष्णीकरणमा प्रमुख भूमिका रहेको मानव सृजित हरित गृह ग्यास (अर्थात् समग्रमा कार्बन) उत्सर्जनमा कटौती गर्नु थियो।

महासन्धिमा उल्लेख भएअनुसार हरित गृह ग्यासको उत्सर्जन घटाउने प्रमुख जिम्मेवारी विकसित राष्ट्रहरुको हुनेछ भने विकासोन्मुख राष्ट्रहरुका हकमा भने अर्थ र प्रविधि सहयोग प्राप्त गरेको खण्डमा मात्र यस्ता उत्सर्जन घटाउने क्रियाकलापमा संलग्न हुनेछन् भनिएको छ। महासन्धिमा सिद्धान्ततः कार्वन उत्सर्जन घटाउने भनिए तापनि कसले र कति मात्रामा घटाउने भन्नेबारे पछि हुने सहमतिहरुमा उल्लेख हुने भनिएको थियो। फलस्वरूप सन् १९९७ मा जापानको क्योटो सहरमा भएको महासन्धिका पक्ष राष्ट्रहरुको तेस्रो सम्मेलनमा क्योटो प्रोटोकल पारित भयो। यो अनुमोदन गरेका विकसित राष्ट्रले पहिलो प्रतिबद्धता अवधि अनुरूप सन् २००८ देखि २०१२ सम्ममा सन् १९९० मा उनीहरुले गरेकोे उत्सर्जनभन्दा औसत५ प्रतिशतले कमी ल्याउने प्रतिबद्धता जनाएका थिए। गत वर्ष कतारको दोहामा भएको महासन्धिका पक्ष राष्ट्रहरुको अठारौं सम्मेलनले यो प्रोटोकोलका प्रावधानलाई अर्को आठ वर्षका लागि थप गर्दै दोस्रो प्रतिबद्धता अवधिमा सन् २०१३ देखि २०२० सम्म ती राष्ट्रले औसत् १८ प्रतिशतले कार्वन उत्सर्जन घटाउनुपर्ने निर्णय गर्‍यो।

क्योटो प्रोटोकलका प्रावधान केही ठीक रहे तापनि यसले अधिकतम् कार्वन उत्सर्जन गर्ने राष्ट्रहरुलाई समेट्न नसक्नु, समग्रमा कार्वन उत्सर्जन घटाउन खासै योगदान नहुनु र उत्सर्जन घटाउने प्रतिबद्धता गरेका राष्ट्रले प्रतिबद्धता पूरा गर्न बाध्यकारी प्रावधान नहुनु यसका कमजोरी रहे। फलस्वरूप दोस्रो प्रतिबद्धता अवधिमा उत्सर्जन अलि बढी प्रतिशतले घटाउने भनिए तापनि त्यसको खासै अर्थ रहेन। तत्कालीन अवस्थामा अधिकतम् उत्सर्जन गर्ने राष्ट्र जस्तै– अमेरिकाले क्योटो प्रोटोकल कहिल्यै अनुमोदन गरेन भने हाल अधिकतम् उत्सर्जन गर्ने चीन र भारत जस्ता द्रुत गतिमा विकास भइरहेका राष्ट्र यो प्रोटोकलको दायरामा पर्दैनन्। यो प्रोटोकलको यस्तो असफलतासँगं गत वर्ष जापान, रुस र क्यानडाले समेत यसबाट हात झिकेका छन्। यी क्रियाकलापको प्रत्यक्ष असर कार्वनको बजारमा देखियो जुन लगभग तहसनहस स्थितिमा छ।

क्योटो प्रोटोकलका यिनै कमजोरी सम्ााधान गर्दै महासन्धिको उद्देश्य पूर्णरूपमा पालना गर्ने हेतुले सन् २०११ म्ाा दक्षिण अफ्रिकाको डर्वान सहरमा भएको सम्मेलनबाट नयाँ सहमतिका लागि नयाँ थालनी गरियो। जसअनुरूप सन् २०१५ मा हुने महासन्धिका पक्ष राष्ट्रहरुको २१ औं सम्मेलनले नयाँ सहमति गरी त्यसको कार्यान्वयन सन् २०२० बाट लागु हुने निर्णय गरियो। नयाँ हुने भनिएको सहमति सम्पूर्ण राष्ट्रलाई मान्य हुनेछ भनिए तापनि Continue reading »

Apr 092013

This article was published on The Republica (9 April, 2013) 

A number of western news wires and climate pundits seem to be euphoric over the ‘declaration’ of some of the poorest countries to cut emissions of Green House Gases to tackle runaway climate change. We will soon know whether the group of least developed countries (LDCs) actually made the commitment, and if it is worth such a wide coverage, but let us first examine whether such a move from the LDCs will have any significance.

Scientific evidences suggest that the world is on the path to becoming 4 °C warmer within this century. It has already been verified that warming above 1.5 °C will cause serious threats to the development and even survival of communities in the most underprivileged parts of the world. A recent report by World Bank said, “A world in which warming reaches 4°C above preindustrial levels would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on human systems, ecosystems, and associated services.” But developed countries, which are primarily responsible for, and have the ability to avert, this catastrophe, remain nonchalant.

Twenty plus years have passed since negotiations started among the countries under United Nations to find ways to keep the temperatures rise under safe limits so as to stabilize the climate. In recent years, with countries like China, Brazil, South Africa and India catching up with the United States and European countries not only in economic development but also in Green House Gas emission, a debate over who should take the lead in reducing emissions has been started. The negotiating parties are at loggerheads, with developed countries unwilling to take actions without emerging economies agreeing to binding emission cuts, while emerging economies cite the historical responsibility of developed countries. Forced to remain in the sidelines, LDCs and small island developing states (SIDS) urged developing nations to take note of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) acknowledged in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The 49 LDCs representing 12 percent of the world’s population are responsible for only four percent of global emissions, but are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Continue reading »

Sep 232012

This article was published on Climate Action Network Int’l Voice Blog 

Bangkok CC Conference (photo: ENB, IISD)

It has been nearly three years since I started following the climate change negotiations. I first attended the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) intersessional meeting in Barcelona organized just before Fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP15), a well-known Copenhagen climate summit. After that, I got selected as a Southern Capacity Building Fellow of CAN International for two years (2010 and 2011). Southern Capacity Building Program is more about strengthening capacity of civil society members from developing countries on climate change negotiation. I attended every COP and intersessions during 2010 and 2011 as a fellow.

After having some experience at the grassroots level and this short engagement in the UNFCCC process, I find it very challenging to link the expectations of communities with the progress of ongoing negotiations. Last week, after attending the Bangkok intersession, I faced a similar situation- having to update the communities within my country about the current state of negotiation. The Bangkok intersession was about exchanging of ideas on key issues to build on Durban decisions and finding ways to bring one of the Ad-hoc working groups to conclusion. This is not easy to convey to the grassroots people, who were waiting for action, not discussion.

Furthermore, the Bangkok session focused on how to raise ambition and strengthen international cooperation while finding ways to frame the Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform (ADP) to deal with what will be implemented by 2020. Similarly, Ad-hoc Working Group-Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and Ad-hoc Working Group – Long Term Action (LCA) were focused on fulfilling specific mandates from COP 17 and to resolve outstanding issues to ensure the successful completion of the group’s work in COP18. In reality, this makes little sense to the communities. Continue reading »

Mar 212012

In principle Nepal’s hydropower potential is impressive due to rugged mountain terrain from which snow and rain fed rivers produce significant amount of seasonal water flow. Owing to this natural hydrological processes, Nepal projected an image since 1970s that this country has one of the richest hydropower potential in the world through which the country would be able to alleviate poverty by bringing socio-economic transformation of the Nepali society. This potentiality was compared with the wealth of some oil-rich Gulf countries. After 40 years, the country is still struggling hard to meet the domestic energy demand, and the once popular national slogan that ‘Nepal is rich hydropower potential with 83000 MW’ is no more exist. Completed in late 1980s, Kulekhani hydro electricity plant (KHEP) became a showcase example of hydropower development, which is the first and only reservoir based hydropower plan in the country. A strong cloudburst of July 1993 seriously hit the plant as its penstock pipes were swept away and seriously reduced water holding capacity of the reservoir due to sediment deposit. In the project design document, such risks were ruled out and, the watershed has been identified as one of the safe zone from any extreme climatic events. The event had a huge impact on the other projects under pipeline. Since then 18 years have passed but no new reservoir-based hydropower plants are built. This is a rationale behind selection of KHEP as a study site for this case study.

In the context of growing impacts of climate change on water bodies and hydrologic cycles, study on prospects of reservoir based hydropower in Nepal are highly desirable. Storing water in reservoir is one of the globally recommended options to tackle climate change impacts on Continue reading »

Aug 172011

“Bhutan as Chair of SAARC, made an intervention at the COP plenary today to admit SAARC as an observer at UNFCCC. The intervention was promptly supported by series of interventions by India followed by Pakistan. In response, the COP President requested the secretariat to facilitate the process for the approval of the proposal.” This was a part of a live email update from opening plenary of COP16 sent to CANSA google group from the Moon Palace, Cancun on November 20, 2010. There was an overwhelming response from the colleagues with the positive aspiration that from now onwards along with the civil society network, our governments’ regional forum will also take part in UNFCCC negotiations.

South Asian journalist at Cancun and back in the country also had similar expectations,  I was asked several questions upon receiving my email: what actual status did SAARC get at UNFCCC and what actually the observer mean? Is it like EU, or is it like African Union or like ICIMOD and IUCN? These questions in fact encouraged me to scrutinize more about our regional forum. Then, I started inquiring my own people, what I found were, objectively there is no vast difference between SAARC with EU and African Union. One of the objectives of SAARC is to accelerate economic growth and social progress of this region. Similarly, African Union is to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent and the European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states. But in reality what I knew was, objectives are not the only principal guidance of this forum. So, in conclusion, back to the topic, SAARC after Cancun has given similar status as other intergovernmental organization (IGOs). Now, onwards SAARC can also attend any UNFCCC meetings as an observer and can also make a submission on its behalf.  Continue reading »

Feb 052011

 Published on: Sano Paila 02

For the quintillionth time, I’ve heard the senior negotiators saying that the real negotiations happen at mid night and decisions are taken after many people go to sleep. So my curiosity-saturated self decided to stay overnight during negotiations to observe what actually happens at night.Picture source:

I confess of my limited knowledge and understanding of issues during my participation in COP15 at Copenhagen. At that time, it was very difficult for me to trace the ongoing discussion on technology transfer. The meeting on the first day of the second week went quite long and all my colleagues had already left the venue. Because I was so resolute (and dare I say, excited) about experiencing the late night negotiations LIVE, I reluctantly ignored other tempting invitations for dinner and such outside the Bella center (the UNFCCC venue). The late night meeting ended without any conclusion, and it was then that I realized that it was already 3 am in the morning. As it was very cold outside, I decided to spend the remaining few hours until dawn inside the Bella Center, and thus, landed on a sofa. I didn’t have a clue when my eyelids evaded me and I fell asleep.

I was deep into my dreams when I was trudged back to reality by a stern voice of a tall dark UN security personnel, who, rather ruthlessly, reminded me that I had violated the security regulations by sleeping inside the UN premises. I wanted to reply back, respond, say something. But my half-sleepy, weary self was only waiting for him to disappear so that I could rest my eyes again. The same scene repeated for about three times, one can only imagine how irritated the security personnel had become at that moment! But before he came to wake me up for fourth time, I forced my sleepy fatigued self to stand up and rush for coffee machine!