Tag Archives: Climate Change

Cancun climate summit: What’s in a name?

Christine Campeau at a Caritas hosted Holy Mass for climate justice. It was a side event to the climate summit in Cancun. Credit: Alberto Arciniega/ Caritas Mexico

By Christine Campeau, Climate Change and Food Security Advisor

Caritas has always worked to serve the poor and most vulnerable people around the world. However ‘who’ those vulnerable people are has come under question at the climate negotiations here in Cancun.

Certain developing countries feel that they are being left out of the group and, as a result, risk losing out on their share of the limited climate funding available that has been made available.

Some countries have challenged the difference between the Bali Action Plan classification of vulnerable countries which includes Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LCDs), and African countries and the list that is found in Article 4.8 of the UNFCCC which includes a much more comprehensive list of eligible countries. Continue reading

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Cancun climate summit: reduce, reuse, and recycle

Martin Lago at the UNFCCC conference in Cancun

By Martin Lago,  Climate Change Advisor for Caritas Spain and Haiti programme officer

The hope I have for this summit is that the developed countries will stick to their targets for funds on climate change adaptation. Developed countries have committed in Copenhagen to provide $100 billion in annual long-term financing by 2020 and $30 billion have been pledged for fast-start financing to address urgent adaptation and associated capacity-building needs in developing countries. Again, it is not enough to tackle the challenge that we face. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimated that $500-600 billion is needed in developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change. But at least, these funds can be a start. Caritas in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic for example will apply for money out of these funds, we are working on the application at the moment. Continue reading

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Cancun climate summit: “Listen to the poor, they have all the solutions”

Samson Malesi Shivaji, National Livelihoods Coordinator at Caritas Kenya discusses with a community in Machakos a project to build a dam. Credit: Samson Malesi Shivaji/ Caritas Kenya

By Samson Malesi Shivaji, National Livelihoods Coordinator at Caritas Kenya


I work very closely with communities at the grassroots level on climate change adaptation and it is this African and Kenyan perspective I presented at a side event held by Caritas, the World Food Program, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Accra (African Climate Change Resilience Alliance). Our projects focus on climate change adaptation and capacity building.

At our pilot project bio-farm in Meru in Central-Eastern Kenya for example, we capture the livestock’s dung which is an important source of greenhouse gas emissions to channel it into a biogas production. The produced energy goes to 15 households that didn’t have access to electricity before. Then the manure, which is the remains of the biogas production system, is used as dung and therefore reduces the amount of fertilizers needed. We will now extend this project in Kenya. Continue reading

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Cancun climate summit: A new alliance to safeguard creation

Inter-religious celebration during climate talks in Cancun. Credit Anne-Sophie Legge

By Anne -Sophie Legge, Cancun

English |Homily in Spanish |French

We need a new alliance with creation that results in fraternity with all creatures”, said Msgr. Gustavo Rodríguez Vega, President of Caritas Mexico, at an interreligious celebration held on 4 December as side event to the Cancun climate summit.

The event was organised in cooperation with the World Council of Churches and brought together Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran and other religious leaders from different parts of the world.

“Brothers and sisters, we have come to Cancun not as prophets of calamities but as men and women of faith and hope. We know that a lot of skepticism persists about whether the representatives of our world’s nations will be able to conclude a binding agreement on the reduction of emissions causing climate change. (…) Those who govern us have a great responsibility when it comes to environmental targets: we call upon our Heads of State not to limit their discussions to defending productivity and competitiveness criteria but to place humanity at the centre,” said Msgr. Rodríguez Vega. Continue reading

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Cancun Climate talks: I heart Kyoto Protocol

I love KP stunt at the Cancun climate talks. Credit Christine Campeau/Caritas

By Christine Campeau, Climate Change and Food Security Advisor Palazzo San Calisto

We were greeted at the CancunMesse convention centre today with an offer to have our picture taken while standing in a heart, holding an ‘I love KP’ sign (KP is short for Kyoto Protocol). And we did. People lined up one by one to show their devotion for the legally binding treaty that is set to expire shortly.

This stunt in support of the Kyoto Protocol came in retaliation to the harsh statement made by Japan on Monday when it announced that it would ‘not inscribe its target under the Kyoto Protocol under any conditions or under any circumstances’. Yes, you heard it correctly. Continue reading

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Farmers Learning from farmers

By Christine Campeau, Climate and Food Security Analyst.

The rain poured down outside but inside, it was warm and welcoming. Candles were lit, grains were shared, and new Caritas friends were made at the opening ceremony of the Southeast Asian Farmers’ (SAFaR) Conference 2010. Hosted by Caritas Asia, this event brings together over 60 participants to exchange ideas, compare challenges, and share good practices from the field. The main focus of the 2010 conference is “Climate Change, Farmers’ Life, Mitigation and Adaptation”.

Mr. Zar Gomes, Caritas Philippines, guided us through the events of the day while translators whispered to their respected farmers in all of the 15 languages spoken at the conference. The findings from previous conferences were reviewed to provide a foundation for our work. During previous conferences, it was observed that farmers coming from South Asia share almost the same topography, culture, food, and agricultural practices, the same cannot be said about farmers in South East Asia (mostly ASEAN). For this reason, farmers were divided into groups by geographical similarities and shared their lessons learned from their country programmes.

Fr. Steven Chen, Caritas Hong Kong explained that, while this is only his third conference and regards himself as being very new to the programme, the wealth of information that is shared at this annual event has inspired many changes in the Shaanxi Province. Caritas Hong Kong is now collecting unpolluted soil, making fermentation cakes and hosting workshops to raise awareness of these simple yet effective methods. The long-standing and self-proclaimed ‘most experienced’.

SAFaR’s veteran Mr. Augustin Baroi, Caritas Bangladesh has been attending these conferences since 2000. When asked what major achievements he’s seen take place in the past decade, he stated that the conference are becoming more farmer centric. Since farmers learn best from farmers, one of the main criteria for this conference is that there are very limited external resource persons. Most of the sessions and practical demonstration are shared and facilitated by the farmers’ and programme officers. It important to bring these farmers together to learn from one another since they share the same livelihoods and climate concerns. Mr. Baroi also highlighted the success of having properly skilled program officers at the conference. Programme officers learn agriculture in books while farmers know the realities on the ground. This information sharing session combines both skill sets and leads to long-standing results for both parties.

When programme officers are good facilitators and learn a lot from the conference, they return back home and disseminate the information to a wider scope of farmers, increasing the knowledge sharing.

Throughout the week-long conference, there will also be sessions on advocating for farmers’ rights over seeds and a round table in which farmers will express their views to both their Minister of Agriculture and their Minister of the Environment. The goal is to empower farming communities to take the power into their own hands. In the words of Gabriel Baroi, Caritas Asia “our organic farmers are our inspiration” so we need to give them the platform on which to raise their voices and speak in solidarity.

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Climate accord fails to deliver

Sr Aine Hughes of Caritas South Africa and Christine Campeau, Caritas delegate at the UN in Geneva, marching for climate justice in Copenhagen in December. Credit: Nicholson/Caritas

Sr Aine Hughes of Caritas South Africa and Christine Campeau, Caritas delegate at the UN in Geneva, marching for climate justice in Copenhagen in December. Credit: Nicholson/Caritas

By Christine Campeau,  UN Delegate, Caritas Internationalis

The Copenhagen summit on climate change brought together 115 Heads of State and Government and more than 40,000 people applying for accreditation, which far exceeded the conference center’s 15,000 capacity, to reach a meaningful deal. No legally binding deal was reached and what was agreed fell sort of what scientists say we need to do to save the planet and our own skins.

What did come out was the Copenhagen Accord was a non-transparent, non-binding deal drafted up by the US, Brazil, China, India, and South Africa that the official UNFCCC Secretariat only agreed ‘to take note of’.

As the fanfare and recriminations from Copenhagen ebb, negotiators are facing the hard task of putting talks back on some sort of recognized road to reaching a deal. No agenda has been set at this stage to move this agreement forward.

That lack of gusto was much in evidence this week as 55 countries announced their pledges as part of the Copenhagen Accord on ‘mitigation’ – what actions they will take to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

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