Tag: Low Carbon Action Plan

NAMA Dreaming / Dreaming of NAMAs

Do you sometimes wake up at night, thinking: I wish I knew what a credited NAMA was...? (If you do, you’ve clearly been here far too long - ECO recommends a cup of herbal tea and a walk along the Rhine.) Sadly, you are not alone. The wonderfully fuzzy clouds called NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions) are taking shape without anyone really knowing how the three oft-mentioned types of NAMAs should co-exist. By this ECO means: ‘unilateral’ NAMAs, mitigation action implemented solely by developing countries; ‘supported’ NAMAs, mitigation action financially supported by donor countries; and ‘credited’ NAMAs, actions that, like the CDM, result in some form of trade-able carbon credits. Seems distinct enough, but upon further reflection, ECO has some nagging questions about credited NAMAs:

- What role do parties envisage for the new market-based mechanisms in a NAMA framework?

-What role will CDM play? Will new mechanisms be complementary to CDM or will they replace CDM?

– Who will             ensure the         quality and accounting of offsets coming from any new market mechanisms?

Some things we already know: The different NAMAs have to be clearly defined to avoid double counting of the emission reductions and the finance provided. A governance structure is required to ensure sound MRV so that we can truly move towards closing the perilous emissions gap we are facing. It is essential that new mechanisms will not lead to greater offsetting opportunities for developed countries. Clearly, there is a lot to figure out before we will know if NAMAs are going to be a troubling dream that resolves by morning or a nightmare we never wake up from.

By the way, do you ever wonder (sometime in the hazy night) how “Low Carbon Development Plans” relate to NAMAs?!

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The UK Raises the Bar

Developed country leadership on moving to a zero carbon economy is in short supply. The positions adopted by many Annex I parties give the impression that they are dragging their heels rather than picking up their pace and embracing a greener future.
So the call by the UK’s powerful Committee on Climate Change for the UK to cut its emissions by 60% by 2030 on 1990 levels – and with the use of offsets “only at the margin” – is indeed a ray of sunshine.
The Committee is a statutory body under the UK’s groundbreaking Climate Change Act to advise on targets and monitor progress towards them. The Act sets a legally binding target to cut emissions by at least 80% by 2050, spanned by binding five-year carbon budgets.
A reduction of 60% by 2030 (and at least 50% by 2025), the Committee says, is achievable and affordable, with costs to the UK economy of less than 1% of GDP. In fact, the UK stands to benefit from a major drive on energy efficiency and developing new green industries based firmly on renewable energy sources.
There are also some strong pointers on EU ambition for 2020 and beyond. The Committee wants the EU to move to its long-promised 30% target as soon as possible. But in the meantime, the UK should move ahead unilaterally, at least for those sectors not covered by the EU emissions trading scheme.
The EU is also considering targets for 2030 as part of a ‘road map’ exercise due to report in the spring of 2011. The Committee also sets the bar here, calling for the EU to set a goal of around 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Here in Cancun, Parties are considering text which would require developed countries to implement Zero Carbon Action Plans – clear long-term frameworks to guide the transition to a green economy and avoid lock-in to high-carbon infrastructure.
Another key benefit will be to build trust that at least some Annex I Parties are taking concrete steps to deliver on their short and long-term targets. On this showing, the UK Climate Change Act is proving to be a pretty good model to follow.
Of course, the UK government now needs to act on the Committee’s advice. When he came to power in May, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that his government will be the ‘greenest ever’.
What better way to prove it than by deciding a strong, early acceptance of the Committee’s recommendations? After all, in the runup to the election he committed to implementing them.  
With new, strong policies to meet these targets, the UK would fully embark on the path to a green economy and reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports. This will also give a clear and powerful signal to other developed nations that a zero carbon economy is nothing to be afraid of, and every bit an enormous 
opportunity for the future.

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Mexico’s LCAP Takes Shape

In line with the need to advance mitigation as well as integrating climate resilience and contributing to the MRV framework, ECO has noted the desirability of reaching an agreement in Cancun on Low Carbon Action Plans (LCAPs) for developing countries and Zero Carbon Action Plans (ZCAPs) for developed countries.  Here we note some of the positive work already happening in that regard.   
Yesterday, Mexico presented important progress on its short-term LCAP, the National Special Program on Climate Change 2009-2012 (known as PECC). Amongst its features are:
Long Term Vision: Mexico aims to reduce 50% of its emissions by 2050, from 2000 levels, going from 6.8 tonnes per capita annually now to 2.8 tonnes in 2050. Based on this goal and the PECC, Mexican emissions would peak before 2012 and gradually decrease until reaching the indicated level for 2050 around 340 Mt. However, in order to reach its reduction target, Mexico highlights that a multilateral regime needs to be established and developed countries must provide financial and technological support at an unprecedented but necessary scale.
Mitigation: The PECC intends to decouple economic growth from increasing GHG emissions. By inducing a fall in carbon intensity, the PECC gives an initial boost to the decarbonization of the Mexican economy. The 129 Mt emission reductions for the period 2008-2012 are based on a variety of measures in energy generation, agriculture, forests and other land uses (AFOLU) as well as waste.
Adaptation: In some cases (mainly AFOLU), adaptation measures are integrated with those for mitigation. The PECC identifies the need to develop integrated risk management, especially in cases related to natural phenomena such as tropical storms and droughts.
Elements of a Cross-cutting Policy: The PECC engages a variety of federal government entities in the fight against climate change with actions, objectives and methodologies. Intersectoral and institutional coordination will ensure efforts are enhanced around the economy, education, capacity building, research, sharing of information and communication.
Mexico announced yesterday it will meet its unilateral annual emission reduction target of 129 MtCO2 target for the 2008-2012 period. And Mexico also announced it would be open to third party verification of these efforts.
The economy-wide nature of Mexico’s approach and its long-term vision make it potentially a good example of long term planning, as long as it actually translates it into efforts that have funding support and political continuity. To start with, there are currently two proposals for a General Climate Law in the Legal Chambers. We certainly hope all these elements can be advanced in very short order.

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The EU Roadmap: Planning for Success

Over in snowy Brussels, the European Commission has set an agenda for 2011 in which the year 2050 looms large.  During the course of next year the Commission plans to publish a Roadmap towards a low carbon economy for the EU by 2050, including milestones for the structural and technological changes needed by 2030.  This feeds into a vision of an overall ‘resource-efficient’ economy, and will be followed by another Roadmap of 
possible development paths for the EU energy system to 2050.
An early prelude to this work is the European Climate Foundation’s Roadmap 2050 report which was presented in a side event yesterday.  This major project, conducted and backed by numerous experts and stakeholders, analyses four scenarios for achieving at least an 80% decarbonisation of the EU economy by 2050.  It puts a strong focus on energy efficiency and demand reduction, and priority is given to decarbonisation of the power sector, electrification of transport and heat and an integrated European approach to grid interconnection.  
The four scenarios cover renewable energy levels ranging from 40% to 100%, with the remainder addressed by nuclear and CCS (you can guess which scenario ECO prefers).  All four scenarios are found to be technologically feasible, secure, affordable, and even cheaper than business as usual, assuming a modest carbon price.  
But the most important finding is that none of the scenarios will be realised automatically.  A great deal of policy intervention will be needed in accordance with a structured, long-term plan.  If we rely solely on the price of carbon, market mechanisms and near-term emissions targets, the risk of lock-in to a high intensity carbon system is high.  At the same time, the upfront investment costs for major new grid, power generation and demand management infrastructure are substantial and planning ahead is a necessity.
What the EU needs – and indeed every country – is a Low or Zero Carbon Action Plan (alternatively known as a Low Emission Development Strategy or a Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Development Strategy).  
The UK’s Climate Change Act, with its legally binding national targets for 2020 and 2050, has precipitated just such a conclusion from the Independent Committee on Climate Change.  By looking out to 2050, the Committee came to the sharp realisation that the country’s power sector needs to be decarbonised by 2030.  Clearly the only way this can happen is by means of major policy intervention over and above what the carbon market will deliver, starting now.  
There is hope that focusing on 2050 will deliver an EU-wide strategy, complete with milestones and measures.  And there should be immediate recognition that a target of 20% emission reductions by 2020 is far from the least cost pathway.  
It is time to accept the necessity of long-term strategies to bring us safely to 2050.  That needs to be firmly embodied in an international agreement.  Not only would zero carbon plans for developed countries avoid nasty surprises down the line, they will provide tangible benefits in terms of innovation, job creation and quality of life.  And they would greatly improve MRV and trust in developed country actions matching intentions – something currently very hard to find.

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