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What I've been reading about the Paris Agreement

Posted on December 14, 2015 by Oisín Coghlan

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I've been reading various assessments of Paris over the last 48 and I thought I'd share my round-up of the most pithy and insightful.

  • Bill McKibben came over all Michael Collins in the official 350.org response: "This didn’t save the planet but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet".

  • I like George Monbiot's line: "By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster".

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeCOP21UNFCCCParisCOP

Our great 2015 calendar is now available. And Happy New Year from all in Friends of the Earth.

Posted on January 05, 2015 by Oisín Coghlan

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We think our 2015 Calendar is our best yet. Check it out here.

You can buy it online now for just €12.

It features stunning photos of Greenland by photographer Daragh Muldowney. He says of his trip:

"For me, it is a pursuit of beauty, a continuous search for inspiring visions of Nature. Greenland is a place of raw and abundant beauty, one of the few truly wild places left on our planet."

We're thrilled Daragh has given us 13 of his spectacluar images for our 2015 Calendar. You can see the full calendar here.

Publication cover - Friends of the Earth Ireland Calendar 2015It's yours for just €12. And if you want a few for friends we'll give you 5 for €50!

Happy New Year from everyone in the Friends of the Earth office.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeenergychristmas2015calendarLimaCOPUNFCCC

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

Arriving in Poznan

Posted on December 02, 2008 by Molly Walsh

It was raining in Poznan as the bus pulled in. This was disappointing becauseI I kept hearing before I left that it was snowing in Poland. In general it is not as cold as i expected it to be. Its the kind of weather where your ears get chilly waiting for a bus but no colder than I've felt in Ireland.

I am in Poznan for the Conference Of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UNFCCC or COP 14 as this is the 14th one to take place. I travelled here without flying to avoid the dangerous climate impact of a flight.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangePoznanCOPCOP/MOPUNFCCC

UN Climate Talks start in Poland

Posted on December 01, 2008 by Oisín Coghlan

The opening of the UN climate talks in Poznan

The latest round of UN climate talks start in Poland today in the city of Poznan. Poznan is the birth place of Copernincus the first man to suggest that the Earth revolved around the sun rather than the other way around. Where better to get down to the serious business of agreeing how to avoid trapping so much of the Sun's heat in the atmosphere that we tip the climate system into chaos.

The deadline for a global agreement is 12 months time in Copenhagen so for the next two weeks 9000 delegates and campaigners will decend on Poznan to hammer out the outlines of a deal.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangePoznanCOPCOP/MOPUNFCCC

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