Monthly Archives: December 2020

Mirando hacia la cuarta reunión del Grupo de Trabajo Facilitador de la Plataforma de Comunidades Locales y Pueblos Indígenas

Esta publicación fue corredactada por Bärbel Henneberger.

** Este es el segundo blog de nuestra serie que explora los desafíos para la participación efectiva de los Pueblos Indígenas en foros internacionales de política climática.

La tercera reunión del Grupo de Trabajo Facilitador (FWG-por sus siglas en inglés), que fue la primera reunión oficial en el año 2020 de la Plataforma de Comunidades Locales y Pueblos Indígenas (LCIPP) de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático, tuvo lugar virtualmente entre el 5 y el 8 de octubre.

En nuestro blog anterior, presentamos un resumen de las preocupaciones planteadas por Estebancio Castro, Representante para la Región Sociocultural Indígena de la ONU: Centro y Sudamérica y el Caribe, ante la CMNUCC LCIPP, sobre las reuniones virtuales y la participación efectiva de los Pueblos Indígenas. Sus preocupaciones eran muy válidas, ya que durante la reciente reunión del FWG, la participación de los Pueblos Indígenas, especialmente de las regiones con conexión a internet inestable, fue bastante difícil. En este blog, discutiremos estas barreras clave para la participación virtual, así como también cubriremos algunos de los avances que el FWG pudo hacer, los próximos pasos y las lecciones aprendidas.

Captura de pantalla de la reunión virtual de LCIPP de octubre, con la presencia de Patricia Espinosa, Secretaria Ejecutiva de la CMNUCC. Foto de Bärbel Henneberger.

Participación efectiva: virtual vs presencial

El poco tiempo para las presentaciones y los debates (4 días, 3 horas al día) dificultaba la participación en intercambios más profundos. Generalmente, algunos participantes tenían mala conectividad a internet que falló repetidamente durante la reunión. Otros participantes no pudieron participar en absoluto porque no tenían acceso a internet. Además, se necesita una conexión a internet estable para acceder a los materiales de la reunión antes del inicio de la reunión. A medida que el trabajo del FWG se vuelve más técnico, los participantes deben tener acceso a estos documentos y más tiempo para analizarlos. Debido en parte a estos problemas, el FWG acordó reprogramar las reuniones regionales de los poseedores de conocimientos indígenas hasta que COVID-19 esté bajo suficiente control para permitir las reuniones cara a cara, reconociendo que los protocolos indígenas, como las ceremonias de apertura y las bendiciones de los participantes mayores, necesitan ser respetados. Sin embargo, otras actividades continuarán virtualmente, incluso si esto significa que para algunos, la participación efectiva no está garantizada.

Está claro que, hasta ahora, la pandemia de COVID-19 ha hecho que sea muy difícil para el FWG completar las tareas definidas en el plan de trabajo de dos años de la LCIPP. Algunas actividades han tenido que posponerse hasta que las reuniones presenciales sean posibles de realizarse. Read More »

Posted in News / Comments are closed

Energy justice is racial justice

Guest blog by Reverend Michael Malcom 

I was born into a working-class family in Decatur, Georgia. My mother and father were both in the home and worked full time jobs. I can remember times going without water, gas, or lights. I can recall a time when I was out with friends and one of them joked on my nails being dirty.

I was ashamed to say that we were without gas at that time and I could barely boil enough water on a hot plate to wash up. It was not that my parents were not working. It was that the utility bill was more than their family could afford. They were making the hard decision of ensuring we had a meal or if we had gas. That month, they decided on the latter.

Many years later, I found myself still unable to escape that same vicious cycle. Like my parents, my wife and I both work, yet we still make brutal decisions between adequately feeding our family and paying utility bills that are typically over $500 per month.

Our story is all too common: Energy insecurity is among the most persistent injustices impacting Black and brown people.

According to a recent report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), 25% of Americans pay more than 6% of their income on energy bills even before COVID-19 hit. Of those people, 13% pay more than 10% of their income on their energy bills. Nationally, 67% of low-income households face a high energy burden. And of those households, 60% have severe energy burdens. Read More »

Posted in News / Read 1 Response

Looking ahead to the 4th Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform Facilitative Working Group meeting

This post was coauthored by Bärbel Henneberger.

**This is the second blog of our series exploring the challenges to effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in international climate policy forums.

The third meeting of the Facilitative Working Group (FWG), which was the first official 2020 meeting of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, took place virtually between October 5 and 8.

In our previous blog, we presented an overview of the concerns raised by Estebancio Castro, Representative for the UN Indigenous Sociocultural Region: Central and South America and the Caribbean, to the UNFCCC LCIPP, on virtual meetings and the effective participation of Indigenous Peoples. His concerns were very valid, as during the recent FWG meeting, participation of Indigenous Peoples, especially from regions with unstable internet connection, was quite difficult. In this blog, we will discuss these key barriers to virtual participation, as well as cover some of the progress that the FWG was able to make, next steps, and lessons learned.

Screenshot of October’s virtual LCIPP meeting featuring Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC. Photo by Bärbel Henneberger.

Effective participation: Virtual vs face-to-face

The short time for presentations and discussions (4 days, 3 hours per day) made it difficult to engage in deeper exchanges. Generally, some participants had poor internet connectivity that repeatedly failed throughout the meeting. Other participants were not able to participate at all because they did not have access to internet. Moreover, a stable internet connection is needed to access meeting materials prior to the start of meeting. As the FWG work gets more technical, participants need to have access to these documents, and more time to analyze them. Due in part to these issues, the FWG agreed to reschedule regional meetings of Indigenous knowledge holders until COVID-19 is under enough control to allow for face-to-face convenings, recognizing that Indigenous protocols, such as opening ceremonies and blessings by elder participants, need to be respected. Other activities, however, will continue virtually, even if this means that for some, effective participation is not guaranteed.

It is clear that, thus far, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it very challenging for the FWG to complete the tasks defined in the LCIPP’s two year work plan. Some activities have had to be postponed until face-to-face meetings are possible. Read More »

Posted in News / Comments are closed

Aviation on the Cusp: From COVID-19 to the Climate Crisis

This post was co-authored by Brad Schallert, World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US), and John Holler, WWF-US.

If you fly, you may know that flying is likely the largest part of your personal carbon footprint. What you may not know is that if aviation were its own country, it would be a top-ten carbon polluter. Plus, scientists now know that aircraft burning fuel in the upper atmosphere more than doubles the global warming impact of the carbon dioxide emissions alone– think of the heat-trapping contrails streaking across the sky that jets form high up in the atmosphere.

Aviation’s social license to operate depends on its ability to get on a flight path to net zero climate impact by 2050.

That’s a tall order, for two reasons.

First, the physics of aviation make it one of the hardest sectors in which to cut carbon – there are huge technological and economic barriers. The jets in service today are expensive, long-lived capital assets designed to fly on liquid fuel. While short-distance electric aircraft may take off in the next decade and a half, fully electric airplanes are unlikely to take over long-haul jet travel. Designing, testing, certifying and manufacturing more fuel-efficient jets and advanced non-fossil-based fuels is an urgent undertaking that will require not only significant dedication from the aviation industry, but also bold federal policy.

Second, the industry is focused on its own economic survival, not on the climate challenge. The pandemic has put tens of thousands of aviation jobs in jeopardy and walloped airlines and many of the businesses they serve. But if the Biden-Harris Administration doesn’t put dealing with the climate crisis at the core of aviation’s recovery, all the taxpayer funds spent on bailing out airlines won’t put the industry on a path to a sustainable future.

Aviation has reached an inflection point. Going back to the pre-COVID status quo is not a wise flightpath if the sector wants to be part of the solution to addressing the climate crisis. At the center of its recovery, it could, as President-elect Biden has urged, Build Back Better. The choice could not be starker.

That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration should start by establishing targets for the emissions of all US flights – domestic and international, passenger and cargo – that set our aviation sector on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050, with a waypoint of at least a 35% reduction from 2019 levels by 2035. Legislation would help, but existing statutes already give the relevant agencies broad authority: Read More »

Posted in News / Comments are closed

Rhetoric to reality: U.S. states must turn climate commitments into policies that deliver

With an incoming Biden-Harris administration, many Americans are hopeful for a complete reversal of the Trump administration’s assault on climate and environmental progress at the federal level. While that change in federal leadership will be game-changing for the U.S., we cannot forget about the progress that state leaders have made on climate these last four years. It is imperative for our health, economies and ecosystems that we continue to hold them to it.

To curb the most catastrophic impacts of climate change — from species collapse to financial breakdown — we must meet an incredibly ambitious timeline for reducing emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reducing global emissions to around 45% below what they were in 2010 by 2030 and continuing to reduce emissions dramatically through 2050 is consistent with a path that can avert devastating impacts of climate change.

Meeting those targets will require strong action at every level of government and from every sector of the economy.

A new report by Environmental Defense Fund using emission projections data from Rhodium Group’s U.S. Climate Service shows that, collectively, states that have made climate commitments are not on track to bring their emissions down consistent with science-based trajectories for 2030. They are also off track for achieving the original U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement for 2025. This report also reveals key insights about these states’ progress, as well as recommendations for turning goals into policies that can get the job done.

Read More »

Posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 2 Responses

Trump administration decision on soot ignores science, risks Americans’ health

Today, the Trump administration finalized a rushed and inadequate review of our national particle pollution standard – otherwise known as PM 2.5, or soot. They ignored public input and the latest body of health science, and decided to keep a weak standard in place.

The decision by Trump’s EPA means that Americans – particularly Black, Latino, Indigenous and other communities of color – will be exposed to elevated levels of harmful air pollution. It’s a decision that the incoming Biden-Harris administration should immediately reverse and replace with strong standards that reflect the clear scientific evidence and protect all Americans.

Here are three things you should know:

Read More »

Posted in Clean Air Act, Health, News, Policy / Comments are closed