Bellona in Durban, South Africa for COP17 UN climate negotiations

Publish date: November 28, 2011

Written by: Ruth Lothe

Translated by: Charles Digges

Monday kicks off the Conferene of Parties 17 (COP17), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s yearly gather of world leaders to discuss ways to mitigate climate change and address its approaching consequences.

Bellona will be present at COP17 in Durban, South Africa to monitor negotiations and will arrange some 20 international workshops in its rooms at the negotiation center.

The annual UNFCC summit will run from November 28 to December 9.

Nearly 200 countries will participate in the negotiations, and more than 20,000 representatives from governments, organizations, businesses and the media have been accredited to the various venues in Durban.

This year’s meeting will represent the 17th gathering of the parties to the Climate Convention and the 7th for parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP7).

Bellona will be present to discuss concrete proposals for solutions to the climate crisis through a series of seminars, workshops, and press briefings to be held at its conference room.


The Bellona Room

The Bellona room at the Durban COP17 is strategically located near EU and US meeting rooms.

In cooperation with the Global CSS Institute and other partners, Bellona will stage workshops on CCS, carbon negative energy, and financing the Green Climate Fund – a fund that was agreed to by parties at last year’s UN climate talks held in Cancun, Mexico.

Among planned participants in events to be held in the Bellona room are former US Vice-President Al Gore (viewable via live video link) and Norway’s Environment and Development Minister Erik Solheim.


Bellona’s main events are:

    Blue Carbon & Ocean Forest Project, Desember
    Carbon Negative,  December 5th
    Tar Sands, December 7th
    Reducing HFCs, December 7th
    The Sahara Forest Project, December 8th
    Climate Finance, December 9th

In addition, CCS events and Energy + – events will be important.  A detailed programme is downloadable to the right.

101 Solutions

In 2009 presented Bellona “101 Solutions” at the climate summit in Copenhagen. This solution-oriented approach to the climate battle wil be followed up at this year’s summit.

Bellona “101 Solutions” shows that there are already many good solutions to the climate crisis. The challenge is to get politicians to take the steps that are necessary to implement them.

The climate crisis may force us think in new ways and thus contribute to something positive. The Sahara Forest Project is one of the most innovative projects Bellona is involved in. Here, solar, wind and seawater are industrially converted into fresh water, green biomass and electricity.

Integrated fish farming is another interesting concept, where mussels, algae cultivation and fish farming create a system that copies nature’s own ecosystems. Both of these creative business ideas will be presented by Bellona in separate workshops during the Summit.

The Summit: What can we expect?

The Kyoto Protocol and future climate financing are the most central issues to the negotiations, according to Norway’s Environment Ministry. But there are deep schisms in various parties positions.

The Strategic Challenges in International Climate and Energy Policy (CICEP) research institude this week held a seminar where the United States, EU and China’s negotiating positions were discussed and culminated in several reports.

USA – Obama is Bound Hand and Foot
Guri Bang, a researcher at the CICERO center for climate studies

China – The Best is at Home
Iselin Stensdal, researcher at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oslo

EU – Champion of the hill?
Jon Birger Skjærseth, researcher at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute

Have the UN Negotiations Gone Bankrupt and What are the Alternatives?
Steffen Kallbekken, a researcher at CICERO

Bellona’s hope is that the summit results in:

    An agreement on how the green climate fund should be organized.
    An agreement that the capture and storage of CO2 is part of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
    Decisions ensuring that technology centers will be started up in 2012.
    That the parties begin to discuss how CO2 can be pulled out of the atmosphere or that they will discuss carbon negative approaches. (Radical geo-engineering will be rejected.)

We would also like to see:

    China put out a release strategy that introduces absolute emission and a reporting system that the U.S. will accept.
    Efforts to achieve a common, coordinated quota system from different parts of the world starting with initiatives from Australia and California.

Few doubt that it is necessary to cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The transition from fossil fuel, dirty energy to clean, renewable energy will come, but governments are afraid that the transition will be too unpopular. Several reports, such as the Stern report, however, have shown that climate change will become more expensive the longer the world waits.