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John Sweeney's final thoughts from Lima.

Posted on December 15, 2014 by John Sweeney

Rosa-Palomino-Middle Lima 2014 -
"Changing weather patterns are disrupting our harvest. The medicinal plants that are part of our culture and our ceremonies are not growing. Climate change is changing our culture." Rosa Palomino (Middle), President of Unión de Mujeres Aymaras de Abya Yala for the region of Puno, Peru. Image: Luka Tomac, Friends of the Earth International.

The pattern of These UN Climate Conferences is similar almost every year.  Initial optimism gives way to deadlock. The clock is stopped and the conference is extended into Saturday when an agreement of sorts is produced under time pressure from departing delegates. So it was this week. When deadlock was evident on Thursday night the Peruvian President of the COP, Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal worked feverishly behind the scenes to rescue talks which had become increasingly bitter. A compromise draft on Saturday was again rejected mainly by the developing country blocs. US delegate Todd Stern warned that the entire UN structure on tackling climate change was at risk. The prospects of the conference paving the way for an ambitious deal in Paris in 2015 seemed remote.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeUNFCCCCOPCOP20Lima

Al Gore, Alex White and the Peruvian Irish - Wednesday at the Lima climate talks, by John Sweeney

Posted on December 10, 2014 by John Sweeney

Minister White and Dave Walsh with Prof Sweeney and Ciara Kirrane - Minister White and Dave Walsh meeting with Prof Sweeney and Ciara Kirrane in Lima on Wednesday. Photo: @DCENR
Minister White and Dave Walsh meeting with Prof Sweeney and Ciara Kirrane in Lima on Wednesday. Photo: @DCENR

In the aftermath of the disaster that was the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 (COP15 in the jargon, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN climate treaty), there were those that thought the COP meetings would gradually dwindle to insignificance as austerity and powerful vested interests conspired to de-prioritize concerns about climate change in many developed countries. Increased awareness of the appalling human costs of extreme events in the developing world and of the major economic impacts of such events in the developed world have however resurrected sensitivities. This has been further heightened by the growing scientific evidence of the IPCC and the championing of aspects such as climate justice by enlightened individuals such as Ireland’s Mary Robinson. European leadership during the dark days was also important in sustaining the faltering steps of international efforts such as the Kyoto Protocol. As the COP meetings of recent years have built an architecture which may yet lead to a comprehensive global agreement next year, so also have the annual meetings become foci for increased activity.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangecopunfccccop20lima

Everything you need to know about the UN climate talks in Lima, Peru.

Posted on December 10, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

climate justice infographic taster

Ministers from around the world are in Lima, Peru this week to negotiate the outline of a global deal to tackle climate change.

Prof John Sweeney, Ireland's leading climate scientist, is there as an observer on the Irish Government delegation. We're posting his reflections on our Blog. Here's a taster from his take on yesterday's proceedings:

"The star of the show today was once again President Evo Morales from neighbouring Bolivia. Now in his third term, this first President of Bolivia to emerge from the indigenous population, Evo has always been a fiery and compelling orator and his speech today did not disappoint."

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeUNFCCCCOPCOP20Lima

Planetary passion versus protecting the national interest. Tuesday at the UN climate talks

Posted on December 09, 2014 by John Sweeney

Evo Morales at COP 20

Tuesday of the second week is when the big guns come to town. The ground having been prepared for them by their officials, the Presidents, Prime Ministers and Ministers arrive to strut their stuff. Entourages sweep rapidly by the onlookers into various rooms as the multiple strands of the COP begin to either knit together or unravel in disharmony. It is too early yet to say which will be the fate of COP20 but certainly the commencement of the “High Level Ministerial Events” is also designed to inject urgency into the proceedings.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangecopunfccccop20lima

Can youthful idealism help bridge the global trust gap at UN climate talks asks John Sweeney

Posted on December 08, 2014 by John Sweeney

Lima FoE activists COP20 2014-1208

Climatically, Lima is to some extent the southern hemisphere counterpart of San Francisco, though considerably nearer the Equator. Like the Californian Current, the cold Peruvian Current ensures overcast and humid conditions generally prevail and Lima is well noted for its lack of sunshine. When the summer sun is warm enough, however, to burn off the low clouds in the marine layer, quite hot conditions can develop during the middle of the day. Week 2 at COP20 is experiencing just such a spell with temperatures a few kilometres inland rising into the high 20s in this city of 10M people. In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the climate conference, and perhaps focus the minds of delegates on what global warming actually entails, the organisers have sought to minimise air conditioning throughout the venues, many of them prefabs and tented structures. There was thus a certain poignancy to the session on climate change and health where delegates were given advice by the World Health Organisation chairperson as to how to cope with the furnace-like conditions of the room.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeUNFCCCCOPCOP20Lima

Young Friends of the Earth Summer Camp in Bulgaria!

Posted on August 26, 2014 by Friends of the Earth

Bulgaria blog photo

As the new intern with Friends of the Earth, I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Young Friends of the Earth Summer Camp in Bulgaria right at the beginning of my internship. Alongside another Irish participant, I travelled to Sofia where we met representatives from Young FoE groups across Europe including Finland, Norway, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Lithuania. After a 3 hour bus journey, we arrived at our campsite in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria!

We eagerly set up our tents and were shown around the campsite which included compost toilets and solar showers, before having a delicious vegetarian dinner cooked by the two Bulgarian chefs who looked after us for the whole camp.

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Permanent link | Categories: foodandfarming

Alex White, new energy minister, has a key role now in fight against climate change

Posted on July 11, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

Alex_White_TD_2014_(cropped)

Congrats to Alex White TD on taking over as Miniser for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. A key Department in the fight against climate change.

Here is the Minister speaking as Labour leader in the Seanad, at the end of a debate on the Climate Protection Bill in October 2007, in response to Minister John Gormley and others.

--

Senator Dominic Hannigan: Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan I wish to raise a point of order. Reference was made to the Labour Party’s voting record in regard to the Climate Change Targets Bill in November 2005. The record shows clearly that we voted——

Acting Chairman (Labhrás Ó Murchú): Information on Labhrás Ó Murchú Zoom on Labhrás Ó Murchú A point of order can relate only to procedure and cannot respond to the Minister.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangelabourclimate billseanad

Phil's parting shot?

Posted on July 07, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

Phil Hogan and the emus

The Irish Mirror reported on Friday that Minister Hogan's Department had circulated a 54-page list of his achievements and concluded that "the general feeling is that he will not return to this Department either way" after the reshuffle.

The report has now been posted online and carries the very formal title Progress Update on the Programme of Reform from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeHoganclimateclimate billminister

WHEN OUR LAND IS FREE, WE’RE ALL FREE

Posted on May 08, 2014 by Guest Blogger

image 1

Friends of the Earth Liberia campaigners write about how the Jogbahn Clan in Liberia is fighting to keep their home. A British palm oil company wants to clear their land without their permission. Add your voice to the petition below to tell the palm oil company and its major shareholders that the world is watching. NO means NO!

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Permanent link | Categories: biodiversityfoodandfarmingpalm oilland grabliberia

Election Round-up: MEP hustings and ratings. Fracking the locals. And *that* Bill.

Posted on May 07, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

yfoe 2014 ep election

It's election time and there are a number of ways that you can have your say even before polling day on 23rd May.

Young Friends of the Earth are having a hustings with European Parliament candidates in Dublin on Thursday 15th May, at 7pm in The Greenhouse on Andrew Street, D2. More info here.

The Environmental Pillar is having euro-hustings in all three constituencies. In Carrick-on-Shannon this Thursday 8th, in Cork next Tuesday 13th and in Dublin on Friday 16th. You can register here.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeenergy

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