Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary

From Bali to Copenhagen


About the Cyberlibrary

The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary was developed by Mick Kelly and Sarah Granich on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development, with sponsorship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site, and on other sites that are referenced here, is accurate, no liability for loss or damage resulting from use of this information can be accepted.

The pace of the climate negotiations has quickened in order to meet the deadline set by the Bali Action Plan. Newswatch editor Mick Kelly reports.

The Bangkok Climate Change Talks, held March 31st to April 4th 2008, have resulted in a commitment to a further seven rounds of negotiations over the coming 18 months to resolve what will happen when the Kyoto Protocol lapses in the year 2012. "Not only do we have the certainty that critical issues will be addressed next year, we now have bit-sized chunks which will allow us to negotiate in an effective manner," commented Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The next meeting will be held in Germany in June and will focus on funding and on technology to mitigate climate change. The Bangkok meeting backed developing country calls to make climate-friendly technology and financial assistance a priority. The third meeting this year, in August, will take place in Ghana and will address issues related to enhanced action on mitigation, including reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries. The fourth session will be held at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, in December. There, the focus will be on risk management and risk reduction strategies, technology and the key elements of a shared long-term vision for joint action in combating climate change, including a long-term emissions reduction target. Japan's proposal for sectoral, rather than national, targets was the subject of fierce debate in Bangkok, with further discussion pended till later in the year.

The World Bank was heavily criticized in Bangkok over a perceived attempt, in promoting its own funding proposals, to seize control of climate aid.

"The World Bank's foray into climate change has gone down like a lead balloon," commented Tom Picken of Friends of the Earth. "Many countries and civil society have expressed outrage at the World Bank's attempted hijacking of real efforts to fund climate change efforts," he continued. "Generally we have been unpleasantly surprised by the funds [proposed by the World Bank]," said Ana Maria Kleymeyer, Argentina's lead negotiator. "This is a way for the World Bank and its donor members to get credit back home for putting money into climate change in a way that's not transparent, that doesn't involve developing countries and that ignores the UNFCCC process," she added.

Following the Bangkok meeting, the next staging post was the third Major Economies Meeting, an initiative launched by the White House last year. The Major Economies Meeting took place in Paris, April 17-18th.

Prior to the event, United States president, George W Bush, called for a halt in domestic emissions growth, but not until the year 2025. The announcement was greeted with widespread outrage. Describing the proposal as "particularly disappointing". Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa's minister for environment and tourism said that "it seems as if the current United States administration wants to turn back the clock to where we were before the breakthrough achieved in Bali in December 2007." German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel called Bush's policies "Neanderthal" and said that he was preaching "losership not leadership."

There are fewer fears now that the White House initiative will undermine the ongoing process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). "Countries are very much attuned to making sure that these processes do not begin to tumble over each other," said Yvo de Boer of the UNFCCC secretariat. The White House series of meetings is viewed as a less formal opportunity to discuss ideas and proposals than presented by the United Nations forum.

The Paris meeting was, however, characterized by deep-seated clashes, particularly between the United States and the European Union, regarding just how severe cuts in greenhouse gas emissions should be. "We achieved a consensus on the need for long-term and medium-term goals for reducing greenhouse-house gases... but we have not quantified targets at this stage and we regret this," reported Jean-Pierre Jouyet, French secretary of state for European affairs. Further meetings will be held in May and June, with the aim of reaching agreement by the time of the Group of Eight summit in Japan in July 2008.

Speaking after the Bangkok talks, Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Programme, expressed uncertainty as to whether or not outstanding issues could be resolved by the 2009 deadline. Nevertheless, he said, "I remain convinced that nation states have no alternative. The question is what pressure, what mechanism, what incentives can we find to elevate the ability of the international community to cooperate on climate change." Speaking at the Business for the Environment conference, he called on the business community to seize the initiative and invest in energy-saving technology.

Bright Ideas

GE cuts solar costs

General Electric plans to cut solar installation costs by half

Project 90 by 2030

Project 90 by 2030 supports South African school children and managers reduce their carbon footprint through its Club programme

Smart street lighting

Bath & North East Somerset Council in the United Kingdom has installed smart LED carriageway lighting that automatically adjusts to light and traffic levels

Longwood Gardens

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Public Gardens Association are mounting an educational exhibit at Longwood Gardens showing the link between temperature and planting zones

Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

The energy-efficient Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel is powered by renewable and sustainable sources, including integrated solar photovoltaics and guest-powered bicycles

El Hierro

El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, plans to generate 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources

Remarkables Primary School green roof

The green roof on the Remarkables Primary School in New Zealand reduces stormwater runoff, provides insulation and doubles as an outdoor classroom

Weather Info for All

The Weather Info for All project aims to roll out up to five thousand automatic weather observation stations throughout Africa


SolSource turns its own waste heat into electricity or stores it in thermal fabrics, harnessing the sun's energy for cooking and electricity for low-income families

Wave House

The Wave House uses vegetation for its architectural and environmental qualities, and especially in terms of thermal insulation

Mbale compost-processing plant

The Mbale compost-processing plant in Uganda produces cheaper fertilizer and reduces greenhouse gas emissions

Frito-Lay Casa Grande

At Casa Grande, Frito-Lay has reduced energy consumption by nearly a fifth since 2006 by, amongst other things, installing a heat recovery system to preheat cooking oil

More Bright Ideas...

Updated: May 15th 2015