A need for a regional climate strategy in the Balkans

Cli­mate change pol­i­tics in Mace­do­nia are inter­linked with the Euro­pean inte­gra­tion process, as well as with the wider polit­i­cal horizon.

Accord­ing to the Mace­don­ian dai­ly news­pa­per Dnevnik, the Copen­hagen cli­mate sum­mit organ­ised by the UN is hard­ly pos­si­ble to be assessed as a new phase in human thought and organ­i­sa­tion or as the cor­ner stone of a new eco­log­i­cal­ly con­scious civil­i­sa­tion. Accord­ing to the dai­ly, the cli­mate sum­mit was threat­ened by mul­ti­ple fias­cos: lack of a bind­ing agree­ment, the dis­cred­it­ing of renowned sci­en­tists, and open dis­pute between the devel­op­ing world and the wealthy world. Copen­hagen will be not­ed for reveal­ing profiteer’s inter­ests, politi­cians’ dirty inter­ests, the mis­use of the civ­il sec­tor and the manip­u­la­tion of the world lead­ing media, notes the dai­ly.11Analy­ses of the dai­ly Nova Make­doni­ja, avail­able at: http://www.novamakedonija.com.mk/NewsDetal.asp?vest=12169102399&id=9&prilog=0&setIzdanie=21863 (last access: 21 May 2010).
[2] Avail­able at: http://www.time.mk/clu
After the sum­mit, the media in Mace­do­nia were filled with head­lines, such as “Fail­ure and down­fall of the Copen­hagen Sum­mit”. Accord­ing to the Mace­don­ian media and experts, although the Copen­hagen sum­mit was declared to be a fias­co, the adopt­ed agree­ment has cer­tain duties for the coun­tries, espe­cial­ly small ones like Mace­do­nia.22Avail­able at: http://www.time.mk/cluster/32c2564c19/samitot-vo-kopenhagen-neuspeh.html (last access: 20 July 2010).

The media in Mace­do­nia was also focused on Macedonia’s prepa­ra­tions for the Copen­hagen sum­mit. As stat­ed in the media, accord­ing to the Min­is­ter for Envi­ron­ment and Phys­i­cal Plan­ning Nex­hati Jakupi, the Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia does not have a big con­tri­bu­tion or par­tic­i­pa­tion in glob­al warm­ing, but, since it is a devel­op­ing coun­try, it strong­ly feels the effects and the impact of cli­mate change. The Min­istry has held a coor­di­na­tive meet­ing regard­ing the actions nec­es­sary on the state lev­el as a response to the Copen­hagen Accord.33Infor­ma­tion from the offi­cial web­site of the Min­istry, avail­able at: http://www.moepp.gov.mk/default-MK.asp?ItemID=C5856FDF8C89A440BEED28D98E97E1AE (last access: 19 April 2010).

The Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia George Ivanov held an address at the Copen­hagen sum­mit demon­strat­ing Macedonia’s sup­port for con­vey­ing the glob­al agreement.

“We are already wit­ness­ing the neg­a­tive effects of cli­mate change and we must act prompt­ly in order to pre­vent the process from hav­ing an irre­versible neg­a­tive impact. This is why we need a legal­ly bind­ing glob­al agree­ment cre­at­ing the best pos­si­ble con­di­tions which will keep glob­al warm­ing below 2 degrees Cel­sius. In this regard, we strong­ly sup­port the Euro­pean Union in its efforts to cut its car­bon diox­ide emis­sions by 20 per­cent by 2020 and its advo­ca­cy for glob­al emis­sions reduc­tion by at least 50 per­cent by 2050 com­pared to 1990 lev­els, as well as an aggre­gate devel­oped coun­tries’ emis­sions reduc­tion of at least 80–95 per­cent.”44The Pres­i­dent of Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia H.E. Gjorgje Ivanov address at the UN Con­fer­ence for Cli­mate change in Copen­hagen, Infor­ma­tion from the news por­tal Time.mk, avail­able at: http://www.time.mk/read/10c69c2744/b4d3356022/index.html (last access: 20 July 2010).

The con­clu­sions were not­ed and dis­cussed in the press: the mit­i­ga­tion and adop­tion mea­sures are cost­ly. The Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia can­not cov­er the expens­es by itself, which is why its par­tic­i­pa­tion in this glob­al action is exquis­ite­ly active. Accord­ing to the media and the author­i­ties in the Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia, the mea­sures imple­ment­ed by Mace­do­nia are com­plete­ly in accor­dance with those pro­posed by the Kyoto Pro­to­col. The Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia is active­ly work­ing on reduc­ing the emis­sions of harm­ful gases.

How­ev­er, the opin­ions of the NGOs work­ing in the sec­tor are dif­fer­ent. Although the NGOs warn about the extreme­ly seri­ous con­se­quences in all sec­tors, there are no real mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures. Mit­i­ga­tion is not a goal in the Ener­gy Strat­e­gy either; accord­ing to this doc­u­ment, low-qual­i­ty domes­tic lig­nite will remain Macedonia’s main ener­gy source in the next two decades. Its solar poten­tial is men­tioned with sym­bol­ic val­ue, but it is not even analysed as such. Mace­do­nia is in a very spe­cif­ic posi­tion: it is a Non-Annex I coun­try to Kyoto and an EU can­di­date. This means that it does not have oblig­a­tions con­cern­ing its tar­gets and it is eli­gi­ble for both clean devel­op­ment mech­a­nism (CDM) projects and EU pre-acces­sion funds. How­ev­er, this sit­u­a­tion will not last for­ev­er. Once it becomes an EU mem­ber state, it will lose both oppor­tu­ni­ties for fund­ing and have to become an Annex I coun­try (define its tar­gets). This sit­u­a­tion is not reflect­ed in the country’s relat­ed strate­gic doc­u­ments and Mace­do­nia seems to be rather dis­in­ter­est­ed when it comes to oppor­tu­ni­ties for fund­ing clean ener­gy projects. Accord­ing to BELLS, a Mace­don­ian NGO in the Balkan Bridges Net­work, the Balka­ns are in urgent need of an action plan for cli­mate change. The coun­tries in the region already suf­fer from a seri­ous adap­ta­tion deficit to its cur­rent cli­mate, deriv­ing from a com­bi­na­tion of socio-eco­nom­ic fac­tors and the lega­cy of chron­ic envi­ron­men­tal mis­man­age­ment. Large invest­ments are need­ed to guar­an­tee an envi­ron­men­tal­ly sound devel­op­ment path­way that reduces vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty and increas­es resilience. The West­ern Balka­ns need mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion efforts for cli­mate change. There is a need for adop­tion of nation­al plans in the par­lia­ments by involv­ing the civ­il sec­tor as a part­ner in adap­ta­tion as well as mit­i­ga­tion of cli­mate change, for the pro­tec­tion of cit­i­zens from unclean tech­nolo­gies and for all cur­rent and future invest­ments to include analy­sis of their cli­mate change impact.55Infor­ma­tion from the Mace­don­ian Infor­ma­tion Agency, avail­able at: http://www.mia.com.mk/default.aspx?vId=691462&lId=1&pmkd (last access: 20 May 2010). This NGO has sent let­ters to gov­ern­ments through­out the region demand­ing an increase in region­al coop­er­a­tion and reg­u­lar meet­ings in which an action plan of the West­ern Balka­ns for adapt­ing to and deal­ing with cli­mate change could be adopt­ed. Accord­ing to the NGO sec­tor in Mace­do­nia, there is a grow­ing need for more debate regard­ing the envi­ron­ment and cli­mate change. It com­pris­es only 0.2 per­cent of the total ques­tions asked by Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment in the par­lia­ment, and 0.67 per­cent of the infor­ma­tion pub­lished in the print­ed media.

There was lit­tle news and no dis­cus­sion regard­ing the ques­tions on the EU’s ener­gy and cli­mate pol­i­cy, the best strat­e­gy to fight cli­mate change and alter­na­tives to the Unit­ed Nations Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCCC).

    Footnotes

  • 1Analy­ses of the dai­ly Nova Make­doni­ja, avail­able at: http://www.novamakedonija.com.mk/NewsDetal.asp?vest=12169102399&id=9&prilog=0&setIzdanie=21863 (last access: 21 May 2010).
    [2] Avail­able at: http://www.time.mk/clu
  • 2Avail­able at: http://www.time.mk/cluster/32c2564c19/samitot-vo-kopenhagen-neuspeh.html (last access: 20 July 2010).
  • 3Infor­ma­tion from the offi­cial web­site of the Min­istry, avail­able at: http://www.moepp.gov.mk/default-MK.asp?ItemID=C5856FDF8C89A440BEED28D98E97E1AE (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 4The Pres­i­dent of Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia H.E. Gjorgje Ivanov address at the UN Con­fer­ence for Cli­mate change in Copen­hagen, Infor­ma­tion from the news por­tal Time.mk, avail­able at: http://www.time.mk/read/10c69c2744/b4d3356022/index.html (last access: 20 July 2010).
  • 5Infor­ma­tion from the Mace­don­ian Infor­ma­tion Agency, avail­able at: http://www.mia.com.mk/default.aspx?vId=691462&lId=1&pmkd (last access: 20 May 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.