|October 3, 2011
Panama Climate Talks Begin
On Saturday October 1st, the third United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) intersessional began in Panama City, Panama and will continue until the end of this week. These climate talks are the last official negotiating session of the year designed to prepare for the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP 17), which will take place in Durban, South Africa starting November 28th. Durban is shaping up as a critical moment in the 20-year history of the climate regime and progress at the talks in Panama this week critical to determining whether the world will build on Cancun and what has been created in the Kyoto Protocol, raise the level of ambition as demanded by the science, and provide sufficient finance to meet developing countries’ needs for adaptation, mitigation, and REDD – or slip back into a ‘wild west’ pledge and review world that leaves the UNFCCC with little legitimacy to meaningfully address the climate crisis. In the opening press briefing Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, emphasized four key issue areas laid out in last year’s Cancun Agreements that have been under development. Since last year, work has advanced in setting up three new international climate institutions that will offer developing nations support to deal with all the aspects of climate change. There has been noteworthy progress made in the design of the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the establishment of the new Technology Mechanism, on its way to being approved in Durban. Design of the Adaptation Committee will also continue in Panama as well as work on the systems that will measure, report, and verify climate efforts of each country to ensure accountability and transparency. More difficult will be discussion on the Kyoto Protocol and whether the elements of a new comprehensive legally-binding agreement are developed. To stay up to date on this week’s climate talks follow CAN-International on twitter @CANIntl and check out our climate talk’s webpage where we will be collecting materials and resources throughout the week.
The continued attacks on the Clean Air Act are also worth following this week. In the House, there are two bills aimed at blocking critical health protections against mercury and other toxic air pollution from incinerators and boilers (H.R. 2250) and cement plants (H.R. 2681). Both are expected to be brought up for a House floor vote this week and will continue the deadly trend of the Cantor Pollution Plan – rolling back clean air safeguards and putting millions of American lives at risk. In the Senate, Rand Paul is attempting to use the Congressional Review Act to block the life-saving Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). Finalized this past July, the rule will address power plant emissions that cross state lines and contribute to unsafe levels of air pollution. It will prevent as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 heart attacks, 400,000 cases of asthma and hundreds of thousands of cases of other respiratory ailments every year. For more information about these and other current Clean Air Act attacks please visit our most recent Clean Air Act Digest.
In an effort to keep the drumbeat going, more than 100 demonstrators were arrested last Monday for storming the Canadian Parliament to protest Ottawa’s support for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Later in the week, more critics of the proposed pipeline continued to make their voice heard as the State Department held hearings in the states the pipeline would pass through. Wednesday, the Global Labor Institute released a report examining the job impacts of TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone XL Pipeline. In Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of Keystone XL, the Institute says more jobs could actually be destroyed rather than created by the pipeline. The final State Department hearing will be in downtown Washington, DC this Friday, October 7th. In reaction a DC Tar Sands Hearing Rally will happen at noon, for more details click here. However, that’s not the end of road as the Tar Sands Action is planning to encircle the White House to ask President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on November 6th. See more here.
Written By Marie Risalvato, Communications Coordinator
Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/unfccc