Tony Greubel, Charge de Affaires of the US Embassy based in Suva, has reminded top official John Kerry to involve Fiji and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). Mr Kerry, former Democrat
Tony Greubel, Charge de Affaires at the US Embassy in Suva (left) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Nasese on March 30, 2021.Photo: Ronald Kumar
Tony Greubel, Charge de Affaires of the US Embassy based in Suva, has reminded top official John Kerry to involve Fiji and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
Mr Kerry, a former Democratic presidential candidate and Secretary of State, is the first US Special Presidential Envoy for climate.
Mr Greubel provided this information to Ratu Inoke Kubuabola during a special meeting at the ministry, in Nasese, Suva, yesterday to explain why Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was not invited to the 40 world leaders climate summit, hosted by US President Joe Biden. Ratu Inoke is the PM’s Special Envoy for PIF.
He conveyed the PM’s disappointment that PIF was being sidelined – and that Bainimarama as the future chair of the PIF and Prime Minister of Tuvalu Kausea Natano, the current chairman, had been ignored.
Ratu Inoke said Fiji and the Pacific have been at the forefront of discussions on Climate Change for Small Island Developing Countries since the Paris Agreement.
He told Mr Greubel to convey the PM’s disappointment to Washington. Mr Greubel said the matter was discussed with him on Monday by the Permanent Secretary Yogesh Karan at the Prime Minister’s Office and that he had communicated the matter to Washington accordingly.
Mr Greubel explained that the meeting was to prepare for Glasgow (COP 26) and for the US to work with major emitters and economies in an effort to reduce carbon emissions to an agreed level of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Ratu Inoke asked why the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) was invited.
Mr Greubel said his intention was not to emulate the Glasgow preparations.
He said several countries including RMI were added to the list based on the specific areas identified as below:
Mr Greubel also said there was no specific role for the PIF that the Secretariat was seeking. He added that he had pushed for Fiji to be representative and that there was a role for Fiji at the ministerial level. He also mentioned that he was quite disappointed that the invitations were not sent at the same time.
Ratu Inoke stressed that the message should have been clearer at first with great caution given the sensitivity of the current regional stalemate with Micronesia.
The Marshall Islands are one of the countries that have threatened to leave the forum.
He demanded a press release from the US Embassy to clarify the matter and to further dispel negative connotations. This was agreed by Mr. Greubel. But there was no statement from the embassy last night when this edition was published.
Mr. Greubel apologizes to Queen Inoke for the misunderstanding.
He said the US hopes Micronesia will stay with PIF.
Ratu Inoke asked the US Embassy for support in encouraging Micronesia to stay.
New US Ambassador
Mr Greubel said the process for appointing an ambassador in Washington was lengthy. He said he would be in the role for some time and would keep Queen Inoke informed.
Edited by Naisa Koroi
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Australian exporters to Europe are likely to face millions of dollars in new tariffs after the European Parliament voted overnight to move forward with carbon levies on products from countries that do not have serious pollution reduction programs.
The vote came after a top parliamentary committee noted concerns about “a lack of cooperation by some of the EU’s trading partners … to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement”.
Canberra’s diplomatic and trade representatives are negotiating a multi-billion dollar free trade deal with the European Union.
But lawmakers in Brussels warned they would not ratify such a deal with Australia until it did more to reduce its emissions.
“Australia has to understand that we really mean it,” Pascal Canfin, chair of the parliament’s environmental committee, told the ABC.
A member of Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party Canfin said adherence to the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation was non-negotiable.
Kathleen van Brempt, the main parliamentary trade coordinator, said the FTA depended on “a clear vision [from] Australia on when and how they will become climate neutral and when and how they will remove coal ”.
Until Australia establishes a new scheme to reduce emissions, its exporters to Europe face the prospect of paying additional tariffs under the new Carbon Boundary Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which is expected to take effect in 2023.
This mechanism is designed to impose import tariffs that are equivalent to fees paid under the EU Emissions Trading System by local businesses producing the same products.
“It ensures that we have… an equal playing field between domestic production and the production of products that go to Europe,” said Van Brempt.
In 2016, Australia exported more than $ 20 billion worth of goods to Europe.
ETS Europe was introduced in 2005, and now Brussels is launching a series of new climate reforms aimed at reducing Europe’s CO2 emissions by 55 percent by the end of the decade.
On Wednesday afternoon in Brussels, parliament adopted a resolution outlining expectations for CBAM, details of which are scheduled to be set by the European Commission in June.
After the Commission announces these detailed policies, further parliamentary ratification is required to make carbon tariffs into law.
This program is expected to start by targeting various industrial sectors including steel, cement and chemicals.
In the last decade, Australia has exported more than 980,000 tonnes of steel to Europe.
At a price of € 50 ($ 77) per tonne of carbon – Brussels’ own estimates – exports of the same volume would attract the equivalent of $ 77 million.
Ms van Brempt said carbon tariffs were critical to protecting European industry from so-called “free riders”.
“Australia is currently a free rider… Australia continues to make their products based on fossil fuels.”
But ETS Europe is far from being a huge success.
Thanks to extensive lobbying, the carbon price remains relatively low, and millions of dollars worth of pollution permits have been given free to heavy industries to protect them from outside competition.
“The European carbon market is not yet playing to its full potential because of the free benefits,” said Canfin.
He promised the program was going in the right direction, that carbon prices would rise to more than € 50 ($ 77) per tonne and that “we will reduce the free allowance”.
The new border tariffs will effectively replace it, he said: “Of course we will not provide our industry with CBAM … plus free perks”.
“The CBAM phasing will go hand in hand with the phasing out of the free allowance.”
On Tuesday that promise looked shaky after an amendment to the CBAM proposal, which seeks to remove all carbon emission allowances, was rejected.
Charles de Lusignan, of the European Steel Association, said industry only supports adopting carbon tariffs “as a complementary mechanism”, and hopes the industry will continue to claim pollution benefits to finance other expenses, such as high costs. carbon reduction technology.
An EU employers’ group, BusinessEurope, said the free stipend should continue until CBAM has “proven its effectiveness”.
Kerry on Friday joined UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a special virtual event to mark the United States rejoining the Paris Agreement.
“We need the United States and every country to determine that they will be on the path to net zero-emissions by 2050. That’s not something we’re going to do with countries that just step up and say, ‘Hey! We are committed, this is who we are. Yes, we will in 2050 ‘. It didn’t work. That’s not enough. That’s not how we went to Glasgow, “said Kerry.
The UK will host the 26th UN Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow in November this year.
The COP26 summit will bring together parties to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Kerry said when countries go to Glasgow, they have to get really real about “what we need to do from now on. What steps are we going to take in the next 10 years? And the reality is that everyone has to do that. China, that is, the world’s largest emitter, needs to be part of the 2020 to 2030 effort “.
“India needs to be a part of it. Russia needs to be a part of it. Japan, all of the world’s largest emitters, major emitters, 17 countries need to really step up and start reducing those emissions, “said Kerry.
This challenge means that all countries, setting bold and achievable targets, must do so right here at home, and in the process of their Declaration of National Specified Contribution, he said.
Under the Paris climate change agreement signed in 2015, India has committed to reduce the intensity of GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions of its GDP by 33-35 percent, increasing its non-fossil fuel power capacity to 40 percent from 28 percent in 2015, adding carbon sinks of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 per year by increasing forest cover, all by 2030.
The US officially re-entered the Paris Climate Agreement under the Biden administration after former president Donald Trump withdrew the country from a global deal that aims to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels by limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
“The United States, again, is a party to the Paris Agreement. And I am proud and delighted by that fact but it also puts us under special responsibility, “Kerry said adding that Washington is rejoining the international climate effort with humility and with ambition.
“It is humility to know that we lost four years during America’s absence from the table. And it is humility to know that currently there are no countries and no continents to get the job done.
“But also with ambition, knowing that Paris itself will not do what science tells us to do together. At the COP of November, this November, when we go to Glasgow, all countries have to raise our views, have to raise a common ambition, or we will all fail together, “he said.
The former Foreign Minister, who accompanied his grandson when he signed the 2016 Paris Agreement at United Nations headquarters, warned that failure is not an option for the world.
“And that’s why increasing ambition is so important,” he said. Kerry noted that 2020 may have seen a reduction in global emissions due to Covid, but they have increased again.
“So to stay on track, to keep even the 66 percent chance of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees, to do that we need to halve global emissions by 2030,” he said, adding this means countries need to remove coal five times faster than before and need to increase tree cover five times faster.
“We need to increase renewable energy six times faster. We need to switch to electric vehicles at speeds 22 times faster. You understand? “He said.
Kerry underlined that everything must be done with a greater sense of urgency, with the determination that “we have to win this fight.” Kerry emphasized that countries must encourage investment towards climate solutions and innovation, in resilience.
“We need to get the whole world on a path to net-zero emissions, and we have to really make sure that happens by 2050 and sooner, if possible.”
“Ultimately, maintaining the possibility of limiting the planet’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is very important because we now know that anything more than that will have catastrophic implications around the world,” Kerry said.
This story has been published from wire agent bait without modification to the text.
Five years ago, Asia-Pacific countries played an important role in ratifying the Paris Agreement. They will also be the key to achieving his goals.
Five years ago this week, the hammer came down on the Paris Agreement – a landmark deal to fight climate change – after the global community reached a monumental consensus on how to move forward on the issue, after decades of difficult negotiations.
This historic moment might not have happened if it weren’t for the determination and leadership of the countries in the Asia Pacific. At that time, China and the United States presented a joint climate agreement that spurred the ambitions of other big powers. The Philippines, with Climate Vulnerable Forums from 43 countries, is leading the way to achieve the 1.5 degree target in the final agreement. India announces a trillion dollar solar power initiative with France. Pacific nations are the moral guide for the conference, urging other nations to achieve higher goals.
Asia-Pacific countries have a central role in climate action because they face daunting adaptation challenges and can also contribute significantly to climate mitigation at the global level.
Every year, this region is greatly affected by climate related disasters. With rising temperatures changing global weather patterns, climate change has caused devastation across the region. This year alone, Hurricane Harold and Hurricane Gon claimed lives across the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Successive droughts have destroyed agricultural crops and livestock across Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, even making Bangkok’s water salty.
Without decisive action, this might get worse. The United Nations Environment Program has just released its annual Emissions Gap Report, which shows the difference between where greenhouse emissions are expected by 2030 and where they should be to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The results are serious. Even with emissions reductions this year from COVID-19 curbs, the world remains on track to see more than 3 degrees of warming by the end of this century. This is way beyond the 1.5 degree limit agreed by countries in the Paris Agreement.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) are among a number of partners trying to make a difference.
We implement programs to support countries take climate action and achieve commitments made through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). NDC is the main instrument for each country to reduce CO2 emissions by a certain amount over a certain time. It is a blueprint for a country’s climate action and will be reviewed for the first time since the Paris agreement at the November 2021 global climate conference in Glasgow.
However, at this stage, the NDC remains insufficient to close the emissions gap. Therefore in 2020, UNDP launched its Climate Promise, the world’s largest offer of support for countries to scale up their NDCs. In an effort to reach 115 countries around the world, UNDP is supporting 27 countries in Asia and the Pacific to increase their targets.
This increase can take many forms, including ending fossil fuel subsidies, imposing a carbon tax, and incorporating carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal action and nature-based solutions. Importantly, the economic recovery efforts for COVID-19 must be environmentally friendly and sustainable because the pandemic does not eliminate the climate emergency.
As we prepare for Glasgow, some exciting action is coming from the Asia-Pacific.
China will include its recently announced plans for carbon neutrality by 2060 in its NDC. South Korea’s plans for a carbon tax, major investments in renewable energy, and ending coal financing will be included in their NDCs, as will Japan’s intention to achieve net zero-emissions by 2050 and attract support from coal-fired power plants. Bhutan advances a sustainable development pathway that maintains its net zero carbon status, in addition to maintaining 60 percent of its land with forest cover at all times. The most vulnerable countries also show the way. The strong leadership of Fiji and the Marshall Islands has resulted in both countries incorporating net zero emission targets in their laws and policy documents.
This is the kind of ambition the world needs to see. The 2021 climate conference is still an opportunity to counteract the existential threat of climate change and make history again. To do so, countries from Asia and the Pacific can take the spotlight and once again bring ambitions from the highest order to the negotiating table.
Dechen Tsering is the United Nations Environment Program regional director and representative for Asia and the Pacific. Christophe Bahuet is UNDP’s deputy regional director in Asia and the Pacific.