UN enters US$4.5 trillion twilight zone

By way of introduction, just in case you missed it, there are at least two new kids on the new, improved, ever-growing UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) block (or maze to be more precise),

The first (which I wrote about here) is called “United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme” or UNEA, for short.

Held at UNEP HQ in Nairobi, of course it was an “historic” meeting – albeit only a relatively few days in length – particularly when compared to the much longer gathering that began on June 30 in New York, which will run until July 9.

Assuming that in UN-speak, the length of a meeting/session (and/or its title) is an indicator of “importance”, it may not be unreasonable to assume that the latter, with the rather unwieldy official title of:

“Second meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF-2) – “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda including the Sustainable Development Goals”

must be more important.

The HLPF is given the following intro by the IISD (quasi-official rapporteur of all the gatherings of the great and green):

The second meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF-2) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) opened on Monday at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Following the opening session, three moderated dialogues took place on: an integrated and universal sustainable development agenda; means of implementation for sustainable development; and the contribution of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) to sustainable development goals (SDGs).

A dialogue with the Chair of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes [10YFP for short -hro] on SCP also took place.

For the record, HLPF is a “Novel Formula for High‐level Forum to Boost Follow‐up of Rio+20 Outcomes on Sustainable Development” – at least according a Press Release dated “July 9” of some year or other –  and is the designated successor to the (presumably now “retired”) UN Commission on Sustainable Development.

I shan’t bore you with the details of the deliberations (well, at least not today!) but I do think it is worth noting that in their summary of the first day of these deliberations of this, no doubt, very important body, the IISD had commented (my bold -hro):

HLPF-2 entered the realm of twilight zones and magic on its first day, as panelists described the post-2015 process as being in a “twilight zone” between fantasy and reality, moving from imagining the future towards managing the future.

They agreed that magic would not be needed in this transition – one panelist quoted novelist J.K. Rowling: “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.”

However, with the World Investment Report estimating that the cost of meeting the SDGs [currently at “Zero-draft” stage Sustainable Development Goals -hro] in developing countries alone could be US$4.5 trillion, some magic may come in handy after all, to conjure the means of implementation.

Oh, just a few footnotes …

The program for the BIG meeting now underway doesn’t indicate who all the speakers might be. But for the not-so-big meeting in Nairobi that preceded it, not surprisingly UNEP head honcho, Achim Steiner, was very much in attendance.

Speaking of whom, quite possibly for the first time ever, the UNEP has actually produced a 132 page report on its activities – and expenditures (a mere US$556.5 million) for the biennium, “preliminary as at 31 December 2013”.

And speaking of activities … On a somewhat related note, I happened to stumble across (courtesy of the IISD) a rather amusing statement/claim/divulgence.

As you may (or may not) know, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon has decided to convene a BIGGER UN meeting in September of this year … with emphasis on “climate change”.

Now, it just so happens that there’s an “independent” group that miraculously decided to invent itself – and it will produce a report just in time for that BIGGER UN meeting in September:

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate is a major new international initiative to analyse and communicate the economic benefits and costs of acting on climate change. Chaired by former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, the Commission comprises former heads of government and finance ministers and leaders in the fields of economics and business.

The New Climate Economy is the Commission’s flagship project. It aims to provide independent and authoritative evidence on the relationship between actions which can strengthen economic performance and those which reduce the risk of dangerous climate change.


An Advisory Panel of world-leading economists, chaired by Lord Nicholas Stern [who also happens to be Calderón’s Co-Chair -hro] will carry out an expert review of the work.


The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate was commissioned by seven countries – Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as an independent initiative to report to the international community.

This illustrious group seems to have launched itself on September 24th 2013.

Here’s an excerpt from their Press Release:

New Global Commission Aims to Identify Pathways to Economic Prosperity and a Safe Climate

As evidence of human-induced climate change mounts, a new global commission launched today will analyze the economic costs and benefits of acting on climate change. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate comprises leaders from government, finance and business from 14 countries, chaired by former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón.

The Commission is launching the New Climate Economy project, bringing together some of the world’s foremost economic experts to examine how stronger economic performance can be supported by good climate policy. The project aims to contribute to the global debate about economic policy, and to inform government, business and investment decisions.

“Climate impacts are rising and the evidence of warming is increasingly clear, but most economic analysis still does not properly factor in the increasing risks of climate change or the potential benefits of acting on it,” said Commission Chair and former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón. “We need urgently to identify how we can achieve economic growth and job creation while also reducing emissions and tackling climate change.”

But here’s the thing, folks … after 20+ years of all global warming/climate change all the time – and Gaia knows how many papers, meetings, gatherings, pronouncements, protocols … you name it – it seems that (at least according to this illustrious group or whoever put together their website) their Approach derives from:

The New Climate Economy’s starting point is the perspective of economic decision-makers: government ministers, particularly ministers of finance, economy, energy and agriculture; business leaders and financial investors; state governors and city mayors.

For such decision-makers, climate change is rarely a primary concern.[…] Yet their decisions powerfully influence the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions.

But wait a minute … September 24, 2013. Now why does that date ring a bell?! Oh, I remember now … That’s pretty close to the date that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began its Thomas Stocker-led deliberations on the Summary for Policymakers of Working Group I of the Fifth Assessment Report (aka the Climate Bible).

Notwithstanding Stocker’s best efforts, I do recall that in the run-up to this oh-so-transparent (not) gathering, there were some very clear indications that the demon CO2 was not performing as expected. IOW, this report was met with a rather big yawn.

You don’t suppose that the powers that be within the UN maze were perhaps somewhat, well, alarmed at the considerably less than alarming (despite their very best efforts, leaks, and Stocker-spin) response?!

Perhaps this heretofore unheard of “independent” New Climate Economy group, led by old-hand Stern was established to rescue the CO2 demon from its natural state of “rarely being a primary concern”.

Nah! Must just be an amazing coincidence, eh?!

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