Hot Under the Collar at Cool Cop15

Hot Under the Collar at Cool Cop15

Queensland Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones hit the ground running in Copenhagen attending a major forum on the plight of the Great Barrier Reef and signing the Montréal Declaration for regional and business leaders to agree on state government action on climate change. But our resident engineer on the spot, David Hood, didn’t have everything his way.

From David Hood reports from Copenhagen:

Standing in a queue for over an hour in the cold (2C) on Monday was just a fore shadow of the mismanagement here by the UN.     Snow is now falling in Copenhagen and the queues at the Bella Centre, for those allowed in, involve up to 5 hours wait.   Monday was the last day that all COP 15 registrants were allowed into Bella Centre.   It’s now shut to all but the Government Parties, press, and a handful of observers, with NGOs allowed only 1 representative each.  

So, our crew WBCSD (Australian) are now ensconced at the Crown Plaza where there are some excellent side events, and the occasional important person wandering by (eg. chatted with Al Gore last night, and sat next to Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy in a session – it’s that informal once in past v strict security).  

This morning all busses were an hour late due demonstrations all over the city (there’s a lot of pissed off registrants, and locals, in Copenhagen).

Interesting observations include the largest ever (claimed) petitions from people of the world to the leaders urging serious binding targets, and the massive demonstration of over 100,000 people in Saturday’s walk against warming.    There is a lot of noise and rumours over texts and who’s walking out on who, but for us now locked out, you probably know more about the proceedings from local press than we do because the press IS allowed in to observe at the Bella Centre.  

Meantime, here at the Crown Plaza I am getting into some interesting discussions over rainforests and the REDD scheme, and getting a little over the constant bragging by US speakers about how great they are in moving fast on climate change since Obama was elected – yeah, (but they don’t want Kyoto to carry through (obviously) and 17% cuts is all they offer), but the alliance of Western States led by Arnie, has made great progress, and stands way out in front of the coal/manufacturing belt Ohio/Indiana that is only concerned about their economy and keeping jobs linked to coal mining and burning (so CCS is their favourite item here).  

Great session and demonstration yesterday of Kompass’ Podcars – they are being rolled out in Sweden, Heathrow, and at Masdar City (strongly supported by Swedish Government).

One worrying element for me is the strong presence of the carbon market entrepreneurs and big banks all here looking for ways to capture profits out of whatever deal is struck (one session was just full of talk on derivatives, hedging arrangements, futures, and other strange (to me) market mechanisms that will make a motza for them with seemingly little or no impact on emissions).

I think I’ll go for a refreshing wander out in the snow……….

David Hood

Kate Jones addresses climate leaders summit in Copenhagen (16 December 2009):

Queensland has reaffirmed its commitment to urgent global action on climate change at a major gathering of the world’s state and territory leaders in Copenhagen.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones signed ‘the Montréal Declaration’ overnight at the Climate Leaders Summit which saw regional and business leaders from around the world engaged in discussions on state government action on climate change.

Ms Jones, as the official Queensland representative, addressed the Summit which saw other speakers including the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Prince Albert II of Monaco, and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

She said the agreement between state and territory leaders put on the international public record Queensland’s resolve to fight climate change through initiatives that build a sustainable economy while reducing harmful greenhouse gases.

“The United Nations estimates states and territories will be responsible for implementing up to 80 per cent of the actions required to reduce emissions under a new global agreement,” Ms Jones said.

“Queensland has been working closely with the Australian states on climate change through COAG and Council of Australian Federation – now we’re working with international states and territories to make a global difference.”

The text to the Montréal Declaration was negotiated during the inaugural Climate Leaders Summit in 2005, which was held to coincide with the 11th Conference of the Parties (CoP11) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Montréal. Since then, more than 30 regional governments from around the world, including the United States, Canada, South Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom have signed the declaration.

Like the Montréal event, the Copenhagen Climate Leaders Summit will coincide with a Conference of the Parties – CoP15 – which is hoped will deliver major progress towards a new global agreement on climate change.

Ms Jones said the timing of Queensland’s signing of the Montréal Declaration was important given the ongoing UN negotiations in Copenhagen.

“Queensland’s position as the Australian state most vulnerable to unmitigated climate change means we have a particularly strong interest in a global agreement being reached,” she said.

“By signing the Montréal Declaration, we’re send a strong message to those negotiating that regional and business leaders are ready to deliver the concrete actions needed to achieve the commitments set out in a new agreement.”

The Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen brought together Premiers, Governors, Ministers, Mayors and CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies. The Climate Leaders Summit is being held by The Climate Group, an internationally-renowned not-for-profit organisation.

It is the culmination of a series of events The Climate Group has coordinated around the world to build momentum towards a global agreement, including Queensland’s own major climate summit which was attended by more than 100 high-level delegates at Queensland Parliament House on 4 November.

Ms Jones is attending Copenhagen as a member of the official Australian delegation. She is addressing a number of forums and attending several engagements as the Queensland representative.

Queensland brings a strong record of achievement in taking action to reduce the state’s emissions, including:

  • An end to broadscale clearing of remnant vegetation and new laws to protect high value regrowth;
  • Queensland Gas Scheme requiring retailers to source at least 18% of electricity from gas;
  • $196 million ClimateQ strategy;
  • Queensland Renewable Energy Plan;
  • SmartEnergy Savings Fund requiring large businesses to undertake energy audits and prepare energy efficiency plans; and
  • $900 million investment in carbon capture and storage demonstration projects.


Quick start to Copenhagen talks for Queensland (15 Decemnber 2009):

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones has hit the ground running in Copenhagen, immediately attending a major forum on the plight of the Great Barrier Reef upon arrival.

Overnight Ms Jones attended the Ocean Day Reception – Perspectives from World Leaders which focused on jurisdictions with responsibility for important reef ecosystems.

“As custodians of the world’s largest coral reef, Queensland needs to galvanise international action on climate change to protect the Great Barrier Reef long-term,” Ms Jones said.

“Not only is our reef environmentally significant, it’s worth about $6 billion to our economy.

“At the forum, I highlighted the climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and action the Queensland and Australian Governments have taken to tackle these impacts. 

“Both levels of Government have done a lot of heavy lifting to give the Reef a fighting chance but without international action to back that up, the Reef will continue to suffer from climate change.

“That is why I’m pushing Queensland’s case for a meaningful international agreement out of Copenhagen.

World renowned reef scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland is also in attendance joining Ms Jones at Copenhagen to address reef nations.

Ms Jones said “Later this week, I’ll be attending Australia’s contribution to Copenhagen’s Climate Change cultural program – a film showcasing the Great Barrier Reefs uniqueness.

“I congratulate Aqua’s Australian filmmakers Toni Houston and Bettina Richter on their stunning film and their contribution to global education of the Reef’s importance,” she said.

“This will raise international awareness of the vulnerability of the Great Barrier Reef and help argue the case for an international deal that will help heal the Reef.

“Queensland and Australian Governments can not save the Reef by ourselves. The world needs to act universally if the Reef is to have a healthy future.”


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