From Tokyo to Bonn: A Target Heard 'Round the World

In Bonn, while most nations are clarifying their pledges, as agreed, Japan is not saying a word about its 25% target. We know that Japan has been revising its 2030 energy strategy. While we welcome the intensive discussion on that, we hope that Japan also contributes to the discussion we are having here – reduction targets for post-2012 and, importantly, raising ambition!

In Bonn, while most nations are clarifying their pledges, as agreed, Japan is not saying a word about its 25% target. We know that Japan has been revising its 2030 energy strategy. While we welcome the intensive discussion on that, we hope that Japan also contributes to the discussion we are having here – reduction targets for post-2012 and, importantly, raising ambition! At the minimum, Japan needs to reaffirm its 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 target and show the world it will keep to the path of a low carbon future, even while recovering from the catastrophe that struck last year. In fact, some Japanese NGOs have shown that the 25% target is achievable even while phasing out all nuclear. Japan can make a sizeable contribution to the world by transitioning toward a safe, low carbon economy. Japan should use its discussion at home to raise its voice at Bonn and reach a more ambitious target by Bangkok!

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"CAN Collectibles": CANADA

Gotta Catch 'Em All!

Fast Facts About Countries That Can Increase Their Ambition in Qatar

 



National Sport: Lacrosse (bet we caught you there! Admit it, you would have wagered your copy of the Daily Programme that it was hockey)
Famous for: Poutine and winter (although we're getting worried about keeping winter snowy)
Best things about Canada: Our widely heralded reputation as a friendly, green giant
Worst things about Canada: We no longer deserve our widely heralded reputation as a friendly, green giant
Something you didn't know: We're officially getting rid of our 1 cent coin, the penny
Something else you didn't know: Vancouver's overall emissions will be cut 80% by 2020 (from 1990 levels)
Existing unconditional pledge on the table: None, we’ve given our national sovereignty over to the Americans – call us the 51st state!
Existing conditional pledge (upper end): 17% below 2005 by 2020 – conditional both on the USA taking action and on the Canadian government actually having a plan to meet even this weak target
Next step to increase ambition by COP18: Announce and implement ambitious GHG regulations for the oil and gas sector. Couple with implementation of loopholefree regulations on coal emissions and announce a comprehensive, crosscountry plan to meet our existing target, and then beat even that
Rationale: GHG emissions from the tar sands will account for a doubling in Canadian emissions growth between now and 2020, but are unregulated & subsidised
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Canada Exposed!

Under Stephen Harper the Canadian Government has become a seasoned veteran when it comes to dealing with criticism for their lack of action on climate change and reckless approach to tar sands expansion. This week in Canada, there has been a triple blow to the Government’s climate and energy policy from some prominent sources:

- National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy – this para-governmental institute with close ties to the conservative government released a report that estimates climate change impacts and adaptation costs in Canada have been seriously underestimated.  The report finds that these costs could reach between 21 and 43 billion dollars per year by 2050.

- Canada’s Environment Commissioner – the Government’s own watchdog, issued a report saying he could find no evidence that the government had any plan that would come close to reaching even its own weak GHG reduction targets.  He went on to berate the government for basing tar sands projects on “incomplete, poor, or non-existent environmental information.”

- European Commission – despite years of aggressive lobbying by the Canadian and Albertan Governments, the European Commission is sticking to the science and insisting that their Fuel Quality Directive reflect the high GHG content of the tar sands. This precedent-setting decision, sends a clear signal reinforcing the truth that the tar sands are one of the world’s dirtiest fuels.

 Responding to questions in Parliament on these reports Environment Minister Peter Kent tried to reassure his colleagues that, “our government has definitely not given up on the environment.” One could almost hear the proverbial ice melting from under his feet.  Oh Canada!

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Umbrella Series Part 4: Here Comes the Russian Swan Song!

In Bangkok, Russia presented its different baselines and scenarios of Russian greenhouse gas emissions. These scenarios vary from an unrealistically fast economic growth based on old carbon technologies leading to a 14% emission reduction by 2020, to a more reasonable scenario with greenhouse gas emissions at -28% at 2020. While challenging, this ambitious scenario could be achieved through energy savings and energy efficiency measures, but the real Russian puzzle was not revealed in Bangkok.

 What Russia did not say was that these scenarios exclude any contributions from LULUCF and AAU carry over. That is, Russia already assumes that it will not carry forward its existing hot air (ECO and the atmosphere say thank you Russia!), and accepts that the reduction potential is noticeably bigger through reductions in the LULUCF sector.

In 2009, Russian greenhouse gas emissions without LULUCF were at -35%, but with LULUCF Russia was at -59% from 1990 levels! ECO believes that Russia should raise its emission reduction commitment to a minimum of -25% by 2020 -- without LULUCF and AAU carry-over. Including LULUCF, emission reductions targets for Russia could increase to at least -40% by 2020.

If this does not happen, we will see Russia, together with Ukraine and Belarus, undermining the environmental integrity of global action on climate change.

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Does Anyone think that there is no gap?

Hearing no objection it is so decided. So can ECO take it then, that, thanks to the challenging question by the European Union in Thursday’s workshop on developed country mitigation pledges, there is universal agreement that there is a gap? Fine.

So let’s move to the next step: looking at ways to increase ambition (to close the said gap), which was among the agreed purposes of the workshop, yet tacitly but plainly avoided by most developed country presenters. The European Union, at least, made a good faith attempt on the issue, and, yes, including more gases and sectors is among the things to look at. Yet ECO missed a slide explaining what the MRV- able conditions the EU has to move to (at least!) a 30% target. Instead, we were slightly amused when told that even the 20% target would be hard work. ECO reminds Parties that current EU legislation allows for more than half of the effort needed between 2013 and 2020 to be covered by carbon offsets instead of domestic action. That would also mean that with current emission levels (-16% below 1990 levels), no more domestic action is needed until 2020.

Yet, ECO’s readers will know the story of the one-eyed among the blind. Canada merrily implied that its pathetic target be comparable to the EU’s (considering that Canada is suggesting an increase over 1990 levels), and smartly dodged the question by a delegate how a target that is even weaker than its current Kyoto target could possibly constitute progress towards meeting the 1.5°C/2°C challenge. Canada’s Southern neighbours had, likewise, not much to offer, except maybe the notion that one needn’t be worried about the gap now because the review could maybe fix it later. ECO wonders if the US understands that leaving the gap unaddressed now, will require very, very steep reductions to make up for the delay, and if the US will be the country to champion that.

Delegates planning to attend today’s spin- off groups on developed country mitigation might want to keep in mind the conclusion by the co-chairs at the end of the workshop: that there is a gap, that there is some resolve to address it, and that further work needs to be done. ECO couldn’t agree more and suggests a four step approach for today’s informal sessions: (1) Developed countries make clear what their net domestic emissions will be in 2020; (2) Parties agree to close the loopholes by Durban, e.g. on hot air or carbon offset use, and have Parties not use bogus LULUCF projections meant to hide emissions but use historic reference levels and cover all emissions (see separate article in this issue); (3) Developed countries move to the high end of their pledges, by Durban, as a first important step; and (4) begin addressing the remaining gigatonne gap, by recognizing its size and a firm resolve in Durban to close it through a fair sharing of the globally needed mitigation effort, based on responsibility for emissions and capability to cut them.

And now: it is so decided!

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Umbrella Series Part 3: Ukraine Needs Realistic Goal Posts Urgently!

As an economy in transition, Ukraine, a member of the Umbrella Group, is a country with a special status in the UNFCCC framework. Nevertheless, this special treatment cannot extend to the setting of 2020 targets. Experts from the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) analyzed and compared the pledged emissions reduction targets of all Annex I countries. IIASA concluded that Ukraine’s emissions reduction pledge of 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 was highly inadequate, since Ukraine’s business as usual scenario for 2020 will be as much as 54% below 1990 levels. Moreover, such a target means that Ukraine expects a huge amount of new hot air for trading. One should characterize Ukraine’s proposal not as an actual emissions reduction target, but a “no emission reduction measures necessary” target.

Experts have estimated that Ukraine could easily take a target of at least 57% below 1990 levels by 2020, with the added benefit of actually making money! With its National Climate Mitigation Strategy not yet in place, Ukraine should perhaps use this opportunity to develop a mitigation strategy that is not only realistic and economically viable but also delivers for the climate. ECO would be very interested to hear a presentation from Ukraine about its national climate change policies and assumptions and conditions related to a 2020 target. Such a presentation was notably missing in the workshops in Bangkok and Bonn.

While it is obviously one of the Ukraine’s priorities to see a continuation of its current special status, it should understand that it cannot also have its other demands met, like full carry-over of AAUs or continuing with a way-above business as usual scenario target.

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CAN Submission - Views on new market-based mechanisms - Feb 2011

CAN welcomes the opportunity to respond to the invitation to present views on the establishment of new market-based mechanisms (decision -/CP.16, paragraphs 80-82).

CAN strongly believes that any new market-based mechanisms must take into account and build upon the lessons learned from the operation of existing market-based mechanisms during the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to ensure the environmental integrity of any new mechanisms as well as the overall UNFCCC regime.

CAN Submission - CCS in the CDM - Feb 2011

In CAN’s view, discussions about the future of the flexible mechanisms including the consideration of new project  activities should be firmly grounded in an analysis of their performance so far. So far, the CDM has failed to meet its dual objectives of supporting cost-effective climate change mitigation and sustainable development in developing countries. Yet, even when accepting some of the well-known shortcomings of project-based CDM mechanisms, CCS is highly likely to fail most of the requirements in this specific offset framework. Therefore despite the abovementioned CMP decision, CAN does not believe including CCS in CDM is an appropriate way forward. Therefore this submission sets out  reasons for  CAN´s  opposition to the inclusion of CCS in CDM and subsequently addresses the different issues referred in paragraph 3 of  the CMP  Decision It should be noted, however, that this submission does not refer to use of various CCS technologies outside the CDM and for general mitigation purposes both in developed and developing nations.

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