Tag: China (unofficial)

Four C

Lina Li
Shanshui Conservation Center

Chinese people like simplifying things. So I'd like to use four key words (all of which initial with initial C) to take you through a brief update at what we (the Chinese NGOs) are doing in China to combat climate change.

1. China
It might be too early to say it is another climate year in China since Copenhagen. But for sure there are a lot going on within China now regarding climate policy-the air is heating up (or let's say cooling down, since we are reducing more GHG emissions?:)

      1) 12th FYP
Five year plan (FYP) is the macro economic and social development plan that the central government issues every five years which sets the direction for the country with specific targets. This March, Beijing launched the 12th FYP (2011-2015). Building on the energy intensity target of 11th FYP (as 20% reduction of 2010 compared to 2005), it includes three key quantitative targets related to climate: energy intensity (reduction rate of 16%), carbon intensity (of 17%) -- both with 2010 as baseline, and increase the renewables in the overall primary energy consumption to 11.4% from the current, little more than 8%.

It also marks the first time that in our FYP, there is a dedicated chapter on climate change, with three sub-sector: adaptation, mitigation and international cooperation. It's not called 'energy security', nor 'low carbon development' , it is called the 'climate change' sector. This shows that climate change is at the center point of China's domestic policy.

      2) Programs and projects
The targets look motivating, but can be also pointless without solid implementation plans. There have been quite concrete projects and programs to meet the above targets. The 'five Provinces and eight cities program' selected 13 cities and provinces all over China to develop low carbon plans and its supporting policy framework, including climate change work on local strategy, educating the public on green lifestyles and setting-up measurement system of GHG emissions. 100 cities have been piloted as renewable showcase cities. Grid companies are asked to take measures to reduce electricity usage by customers by 0.3% compared to last year (Demand Side Management). And Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Hunan have been selected to test emissions trading scheme with the expectation to launch by 2013 and roll out by 2015. The '10 cities and 1000 vehicles' program is set to support electric vehicle promotions.

      3) Climate Change Law
The NDRC is also drafting the first climate change legislation in China, aiming to finish the first draft by early 2012 to the being latest 2013 (overall timeline is 2011-2015). Many crosscutting issues are planned to include in this so-called 'practice-oriented' law such as institutional structure, emission trading, CCS, low carbon development. Public consultation is also on-going.

2. Climate
     1) Working together – CCAN
Chinese NGOs do have difficulties regarding vague legal status, lack of resources, and sometimes capacity. But many NGOs (typically environmental ones) have been working on various issues related to climate in through approaches. Realizing 'together we are stronger', we have been working together centered around CCAN for several years. Building on the collaborations over Tianjin and Cancun last year, this spring the NGOs sat together to reflect what we have done and discussed how we could work together better. Two working groups were formed since then - one on policy and one on action. And the policy working group came up with a concrete yearlong plan with scoping of NGO competence, study group (capacity building scheme), working on COP and climate law, etc. We have held regular meetings and online discussions to progress our planned work.

      2) Interaction with the government
In the past, Chinese NGOs, especially grassroots, focused our work primarily on campaigning (influencing the public and communities to act on climate change) and policy was an area we did not cover much due to political sensitivity and our own capacity gap. Hence the interaction with government was also somehow hidden in our work (not in a regular, coordinated and effective manner). The climate topic gives us a golden opportunity (since the government is more and more open to the NGOs regarding this topic). We've (by we I mean not only Chinese NGOs but also international NGOs working in China like Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, etc) been holding regular meetings collectively with NDRC to exchange our views and seek ways to enhance our policy work. The last one was held last week on the topic of climate change law. For us this journey has just started, but is definitely challenging and interesting.

3. COP
     1) COP working plan
We are planning to continue the regular policy working group meeting monthly as well as interacting with the government regularly. A 'China day' event has been planned before Durban to showcase the NGO work. A filming campaign is also set to record stories from all over China from bottom-up work on climate issues. Exchanges with international NGOs (e.g the Europeans) are also planned.  

     2) RIO+20 working plan
Rio+20, to be held next year, will focus on the green economy under the background of poverty eradication and sustainable development. This is highly linked with our climate work. Three working streams have been identified: following negotiations and policy advocacy, collaborating with international NGOs, and review and assessment of China's 21st century agenda implementation from the NGO perspective.

4. C+
A bigger plan is under way, which could set our work within a bigger framework to increase our impact, streamline our direction, and support a stronger voice. We call it C+ in light of 'beyond COP, beyond Climate and beyond China', aiming at mobilizing all citizens, the business sector, schools, communities, etc. to do more than what the governments have plagued.

The South Capacity Building program of CAN offers me a great chance, at this crucial moment, for international negotiation and also for China's domestic green pathway building up, to learn, to network, to connect Chinese NGOs (especially our policy work) with CAN, and to expand the cooperation.

For sure, there is a long way to go, both for myself and Chinese NGOs, but I am confident Bonn would be a nice step forward.

CAN position - HFC-23 abatement projects - Jun 2011

Following the request by the Conference of the Parties (COP)1 the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), will discuss options to address the implications of the establishment of new HCFC-22 facilities seeking to obtain Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) for the destruction of HFC-23. CAN strongly urges delegates to adopt option 1) Making new HCFC-22 facilities ineligible under the CDM.


LULUCF Briefing - Bioenergy

Under international accounting rules significant emissions from bioenergy are not being accounted for, meaning that bioenergy is not fulfilling its potential as a climate mitigation tool and in some cases emits more carbon than fossil fuels. This briefing explores the reasons for this accounting failure and what must be done to resolve this issue.


CAN Talking Points - MRV - Bonn June 2011

Bonn is a key moment to make progress on MRV issues. While there are a great many political issues at play, work on some technical issues needs to begin now.

Parties should agree on the structure, timing, and content of the workshops that are needed to discuss new or enhanced elements of MRV in the coming months.  These workshops should be informed by existing submissions of Parties and observers, and should involve calling for further submissions.


First Week Wrap Up

ECO is pleased that parties finally managed to agree on agendas last week. (Imagine how much quicker it could have been if agenda discussions were held transparently in plenary, as opposed to shenanigans occurring behind closed doors). This week Parties must make up for lost time – and convince everyone that another intersessional would be productive.  After all, there is much work to be done between now and December so that Durban can successfully lay the basis for a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate change regime.

Essential to Durban’s success is securing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  Intrinsically linked is the binding outcome under the LCA, where Parties now need to discuss the substantive issues. Our ultimate objective must be a legally binding architecture, which is fair and ambitious.

Last week, the list of issues under shared vision began to resemble a bag of assorted cookies.  ECO suggests focusing on the agreed global goal with peak year, and only including issues essential for these discussions – such as effort sharing.  Agreement of a mid-term goal of -80% by 2050 and a 2015 peak year for emissions must be the aim.

On mitigation, some issues may look technical but are in reality political. This week ECO suggests focusing on the following three areas required to address the gigatonne gap: (i) clarifying assumptions; (ii) closing loopholes; and (iii) preparing to move beyond the high end of the current pledges by Durban. ECO assumes parties remain serious in their commitment to 1.5/2°C – you are aren’t you?

This week also offers opportunities for LULUCF.  The re-analysis of this issue as a significant loophole in the mitigation workshops could allow Annex I land and forests to contribute to genuine emissions reductions.  And technical discussions on force majeure provisions for forests could genuinely reflect extraordinary circumstances.  Or, if Annex I parties are up to their usual tricks, could this be yet another way to avoid accounting for emissions?

Parties should also take the opportunity to draft a CDM appeals procedure to grant affected communities and peoples access to justice.  And this week parties should move closer to  a  decision

to address climate forcing HFC in cooperation with the Montreal Protocol and exclude all new HCHC-22 facilities from the CDM.

The two groups on REDD+ (in the LCA and in SBSTA) got off to a good start last week. In this second week, ECO anticipates significant progress on both reference levels and information on safeguards, hopefully followed by expert meetings prior to Durban.

Adaptation negotiators should press ahead on substance to make the Cancún Adaptation Framework operational in Durban.  Parties should strengthen the role of the Adaptation Committee to promote coherence in adaptation, and to ensure meaningful stakeholder participation in its operations.  Furthermore, this week must see parties launch the activities of the work programme on loss and damage.

With the end of the fast start finance period only one year after Durban and no indication of how rapidly public finance will be scaled up from the $10 billion per year currently committed, parties need to start discussions here in Bonn on effort sharing, scaling up finance, and on new innovative public sources such as raising finance from international transport.  For this to happen, the US and its Umbrella Group allies need to stop blocking the discussion of sources and scale of long-term finance.

ECO has two requests for technology negotiators over the next week. First, fill up the nominations of the Technology Executive Committee. Secondly, decide on the terms of reference and likely locations of the Climate Technology Centre and Networks to maintain balance of adaptation and mitigation technology.

Among other issues that should be addressed, Parties need to deal with technical issues. ECO is waiting eagerly for some technical workshops and expert meetings. In the coming months, technical experts should make progress on technical issues such as biennial reports, reporting on support, IAR/ICA, REDD safeguards, etc.  These discussions must feed into the negotiating process.

Given the uncertainty over whether another intersessional will take place, the next five days will determine whether Parties will be able to secure an effective and balanced outcome of COP 17 in Durban. Parties should make the best use of this time and ensure both political and technical issues get addressed.

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NGO Participation in the COP17 Process

ECO was particularly pleased to hear that NGOs were invited to actively participate in the informal consultations on expectations for Durban by the upcoming South African Presidency – especially since they have been mostly excluded from negotiating sessions here in Bonn. However, this pleasure soon turned into dismay when it became clear that NGOs would not be getting a chance to share their views despite the fact the South African Ambassador started the session by expressing South Africa’s commitment to civil society participation. Apparently, the UNFCCC rules and procedures do not allow for observer interventions until all parties have spoken. Well, here is the dilemma – at the last count ECO found that there are 195 Parties under this Convention!

ECO has been informed by the Secretariat that NGOs can participate in the follow-up session to this consultation, to be held today. And here is the rub – they have allocated 9 minutes in total for observer constituencies which gives ENGO’s one minute to speak. Eco is wondering how they will fit in all the expectations they have for Durban in that time.

ECO was also interested to hear that the Ambassador and a number of Parties made reference to South Africa’s unique history – its struggle against Apartheid. ECO would like to remind everyone that this struggle was fought and won by peoples’ movements, both in South Africa and by those in solidarity across the globe.  ECO hopes that South Africa, as incoming Presidency of COP 17, will introduce a new culture around NGO participation in the UNFCCC processes. The lessons from the struggle against Apartheid are rich and would only help strengthen this process. Critical to this would be to ensure the real and meaningful participation of civil society, both in the processes leading up to Durban and at COP 17 itself, especially after the Cancún Agreement has mandated South Africa to “undertake inclusive and transparent consultations in order to facilitate the work towards the success of that session.”  Amandla Ngawethu! (Power to the People)

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Oh Aarhus Wherefore Art Thou?

Apparently, Parties didn’t get the message from ECO’s “CDM ‘Appeal’ for Justice” on Saturday. In an SBI informal, where Parties discussed the CDM appeals procedure, ECO is reliably informed that China pressed to shut stakeholders out of the discussions. ECO is now calling on Parties to stand strong and support our call for justice: project-affected peoples, communities and their civil society representatives must have the right to appeal CDM Executive Board decisions. Will someone please throw us a lifeline?

The European Union has indicated that it will consider saving this drowning child by “exploring” the expansion of the right of appeal to “those who have a right to be consulted during the local stakeholder consultation process.” This statement alarms ECO. This discussion is not about harmonizing rules for the bendiness of bananas but about public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. This implicates its obligations under the Aarhus Convention, which is legally binding on 44 Parties to the UNFCCC, including the European Union.  The Convention links environmental with human rights and gives Parties obligations regarding access to information, public participation and access to justice. If the European Union is serious about its pledge for government accountability and environmental protection, it will need to reconsider whether “exploring” is enough to save this drowning child called justice

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Did Anyone see the Elephant in the (Workshop) Room?

While ECO found it extremely pleasant to hear Chile, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Kenya, Bolivia and Cote d'Ivoire’s plans to contribute to global climate action during yesterday's workshop on Non Annex 1 mitigation action, ECO wonders why some of the big emitters from the developing world tried to hide under their desks. You can’t hide an elephant... or its emissions. ECO knows that some of these countries have big plans, and would like to see more information about their targets and their plans. Take some countries with high emissions from deforestation. Brazil and Indonesia made short interventions in Bangkok, but we were expecting some more information in Bonn. Especially given the news that reached ECO about the proposals to “reform” the Brazilian Forest Code and the message from a large amount of Brazilian scientists that the proposed amendments would make it difficult if not impossible for Brazil to achieve the pledges it has inscribed into the famous INF documents. And ECO still misses news about the target of DRC, and wonders why the government's ambition to reduce emissions from deforestation to zero below 2030 has not been submitted to the UNFCCC. Similarly, it would be quite interesting to get more information from countries like Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Thailand, who are all part of the biggest emitters.

Obviously, if all these countries, led by Argentina, would send their pledges to the UNFCCC, that would make an important contribution to closing the gigatonne gap, as ECO learned from a presentation by AOSIS, showing that also developing countries have a contribution to make in the fight against the gap.

Clarification on all these plans will allow Parties to look at the real contribution of current developing country plans, and would allow a discussion on what more can be done, by looking into what other supported action could be taken. Which makes a discussion on innovative sources for long-term climate financing all the more important. ECO knows that most Parties are aware of that but has heard it couldn't pass some umbrellas. Perhaps some of the suggestions made at the end of the workshop, including the development of formats and guidelines, and an initiative to ensure Parties learn from each others’ experiences and good practices could help.

Inventories look daunting but they can help with national policy making, NAMA design, tracking energy use which helps with national budgets etc. Also the suggestion for the secretariat to develop a technical paper on developing countries action could help the negotiations to move forward. The elephant caravan left from Bangkok, but all the elephants have yet to show up. They cannot hide forever.      We hope they show up by Durban.

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