ภาคประชาสังคม : Advocacy

Taking stock of Post-Copenhagen: where are we heading

The high level climate talk that just ended in Koenigswinter, West Germany yesterday was hailed as an ice-breaking event. I wonder what was the carbon footprints this event generated to just "break the ice", supposed to pave a way to Cancun talk in November.

This, however, is a necessary step to ensure that UN climate talk remains on track, and continued to be supported. To recapture the failures in Copenhagen, again, among the complexity of emerging item agendas and "the building block approach" devised in Copenhagen, I see at least four major stumbling blocks that would have to be overcome for a successful negotiation:

Q&A: Ecological Crisis: Next Challenge for World Social Forum

Ten years after its founding, the World Social Forum (WSF) has come to represent a rallying point for activists and grassroots groups committed to shaping an alternative world view.

"It is very important that we have this space for all of us to come together and shape a vision that reflects our concerns," says Nicola Bullard, a senior associate of Focus on the Global South, a Bangkok-based think tank championing issues that matter to people in the developing world. "We have been able to build our own discourse, our own thinking, our own legitimacy."

On climate change, Thailand is not cutting it

Here we go again. Thursday it was India that joined the ranks of developing economies to announce significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in advance of the United Nations climate change discussions that begin in Copenhagen today.

So where is Thailand? When are we going to demonstrate any seriousness about our role in reducing emissions? After all, scientists warn that we're poised to receive a disproportionate share of the impact of global climate change. Our shores and coastal communities will be significantly impacted if the world as a whole does not start embarking on a major CO2 diet. Bangkok in particular will face major problems from flooding and sea level rise but, so far, hardly a word from our nation's leaders who reside here.

The Story of Cap and Trade

A new film, The Story of Cap and Trade, released last week on the internet illustrates the profit motives and flawed logic that are behind carbon trading schemes. In ten minutes viewers are given a simple tour of the flawed insight behind this approach, and why we must all work to oppose it.

It's amazing that as we struggle to get our hands around the current financial crisis, the recipes and schemes that precipitated the global economic downturn are being championed in Copenhagen this week as a core strategy to tackle climate change.

Climategate won't cool the Earth

On the eve of the most important climate change negotiations to take place to date, it's unfortunate that the upcoming proceedings in Copenhagen will be overshadowed by yet another attack on the science that has overwhelming shown that the Earth is warming, and it's our fault.

In case you've not heard, Climategate has taken hold of the blogosphere over the past two weeks. Someone apparently hacked the UK-based Climate Research Unit's email servers and found that a number of the world's more prominent climate scientists have been less t hen forthright in sharing data that might be contrary to the abundance of evidence that we're making the world hotter.

Vanishing islands look to the world

Taukiei Kitara has travelled a long way from the South Pacific island of Tuvalu to get a simple message across to the thousands of international delegates attending the climate change talks in Bangkok. He wants to tell them that if they don't do something, and fast, rising sea levels will swamp the low-lying tropical islands located midway between Australia and Hawaii he calls home. "I want the world to know that we are one of the most vulnerable countries, and we are here," said Mr Kitara.

But the fisherman-turned-activist has failed so far to get the 4,000 climate change negotiators to lift their heads out of technical texts and come up with a timely solution for people like him. The Bangkok meeting is the second last before the crucial Copenhagen talks later in the year, where it's hoped a climate pact will be struck to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

New Report on CDM in Thailand

Thailand might be mistaken for a committed climate change combatant if the only metric is its aggressive promotion of carbon credits' generation from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Since the country's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, CDM development represents Thailand's only tangible response to climate change: nearly one hundred CDM projects entering the project pipeline since 2005. However, a DRAFT report circulated today by Thaiclmate's Nantiya Tangwisutijit reveals that a survey of some of the more widely publicized CDM projects in Thailand reveal that they neither comply with the intentions of CDM as prescribed in the Kyoto Protocol, and may actually causing public health problems and disruption of communities. 

Copenhagen Update: What is in it for Thailand?

The global climate change negotiation, known as COP15, or the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will take place in Copenhagen the end of this year. The meeting aims to ambitiously complete part of the 2007 Bali Roadmap, among others, to come up with a new comprehensive protocol to replace the Kyoto Protocol, produced in 1997 as a legal-binding treaty under the UNFCCC. It is a race against time as the Kyoto Protocol is set to expire in 2012.

Dangers seem to be hidden and would appear as a true challenge between now and December. I strongly believe that a Plan B is needed to ground and ensure measurable actions of developed and developing countries alike. Disappointingly, the present stall in climate and trade talks may hamper the required stabilization of GHG levels at the level more than 80 percent below current levels, for which Kyoto Protocol has already fallen short.

Grassroots power play

They don't use jargon such as 'climate change' or 'green revolution', but what like-minded villagers in remote areas of southern Thailand are doing is actually working to slow down global warming and promote energy self-reliance. MANIPULATING GRAVITY (left): Locals use simple designs to convert water flowing down a mountainside into energy. The water pushes the blades of a turbine runner connected to a generator; when the runner spins, electricity is produced. Karoon Khunthon, top right, standing next to an old model turbine of his. Supak Hatti, below right, is happy with his newly developed model.

Developed countries have a climate-protection obligation

WHILE THE PEOPLE of Thailand shiver under an unexpected cold spell, the Indonesians rescue survivors from a bout of storms, and Filipinos prepare with dread for another year of worsening typhoons, the Burmese are trying to restore their lives and livelihoods after the devastation of Typhoon Nargis, and at the lower end of the Mekong River, Cambodians are fighting a rising number of malaria cases.