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UN Climate Talks Roundup: Credit Surplus, Finance Showcase, Rising Sea Levels

Here is the latest news from the United Nations’ climate talks in Doha, Qatar, where representatives from nearly 200 countries are working on a second round of pledges to reduce emissions ahead of the Kyoto Protocol’s expiration.

Carbon Market Watch, Greenpeace, International Rivers, WWF International and more than 150 other NGOS have urged delegates at the UN climate talks to increase emissions reduction commitments and cancel surplus carbon credits. The massive surplus of Assigned Amount Unit (AAU) credits used by countries to meet their carbon goals threatens the viability of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, the NGOs said in an open letter.  The group also asked the UN to reform the Clean Development Mechanism and to ban offset credits from fossil fuel-based projects.

The World Economic Forum and United Nations Climate Change secretariat announced the creation of an initiative showcasing successful public-private finance mechanisms and approaches to support climate change adaption and mitigation. The initiative, called Momentum for Change: Innovative Financing for Climate-friendly Investment, will inform governments, investors, business, public finance agencies and the media about practical ways to shift to environmentally and economically sustainable growth. It will be formally launched December 6.

Cities in developing countries have an important, but closing, window of opportunity to take action to develop policies to protect themselves from environmental risks and resource scarcities caused by surging population and climate hazards, according to a UK government-backed report prepared by engineering consultancy Atkins, the Department of International Development and University College London. “Future Proofing Cities,” a report looking at the risks and opportunities for inclusive urban growth in developing countries, found cities account for up to 80 percent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions. Cities in developing countries will be at the front line of managing infrastructure, environmental, energy and resource challenges given that 75 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050 and 95 percent of this urban expansion is projected to take place in the developing world, the report said.

Sea levels have been rising by 3.2 mm per year for the last 30 years, 60 percent faster than the 2 mm per year rise projected by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to research published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study, which used satellite technology, said if the trend continues sea levels could rise by 9 mm per year within a century, The Telegraph reported.

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