Photo: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator
Tag: response measures
We understand that you want to have your agenda item to hold over our heads like the Sword of Damocles for the coming years. And indeed, it’s true that the Saudis have their Response Measures item to wreak havoc with whenever they want, and others have made silly demands, and sometimes gotten away with them. Clearly some democratic solution must be found. So here’s ECO’s proposal: Every Party is entitled to their own agenda item in the body of their choice, in which they can introduce any matter at any time, and all work in all other bodies must stop until that matter is resolved to the satisfaction of that Party. In this situation, which shall henceforth be known as “Multiple Agenda Deterrent”, or MAD1, we hope the threat of all other parties pushing the button in retaliation will be sufficient deterrence that no party will dare to go first.
You are welcome.
1Not to be confused with “Mutually Assured Destruction”, an entirely different scenario
Have a strong coffee, shake your head and rub your eyes. Saudi Arabia, the well-known guardian of fossil fuel interests, is planning a massive renewable energy scheme in its country. So says the news in the region and rumours from inside the Royal Family and their ministries. Apparently 52 Gigawatts (GW) of renewable power will come online by 2030, 130% of existing electricity generation capacity - most of it as concentrated solar power and the remainder as solar photovoltaics and wind. Reportedly, the government is looking for a quick start, with about three GW to be installed in 2013 and another four GW in 2014.
It all started about one year ago when Saudi Arabia announced a US $100 billion investment for solar power, which was followed shortly after by oil minister Al-Naimi declaring to the media "Saudi Arabia plans to generate solar electricity equalling the amount of its energy from crude exports”. Although the current plan does not come close to that ambition, it still represents a remarkable and substantive move. For comparison, in 2011, which was another renewable energy boom year, total newly installed renewable power worldwide was about 80 GW.
ECO is not naïve. We know that high oil prices on world markets of more than $100 per barrel are strong incentives for any oil exporter to save the crude domestically and reap the benefits of exports. Certainly one, if not the key, motivation for the Saudis presently.
But there is another logic. Saudi Arabia admits that using renewable energy makes much more sense than “abundant” fossil fuels. And expanding renewables substantially, for whatever reason, is good for our atmosphere and the climate. Each ton of CO2 saved through renewables is one ton saved permanently. Could we also imagine that some clever folks in Saudi Arabia assume that the desire for fossil fuels in the world economy will end some time before we physically run out of them? We should be reminded that OPEC’s call for increased oil prices in the early 80s met with this advice from the then oil minister Yamani of Saudi Arabia to his peers: “The stone age did not finish because mankind ran out of stones”. Is it now time to assume that the Saudis are seriously preparing to export solar and become a technological hub for solar industry manufacturing?
Before ECO applauds Saudi Arabia’s constructive contribution to climate change policy, ECO would like this renewable energy target officially confirmed in Riyadh and announced internationally. If this happens, ECO will rub its eyes again and be happy to publicly acknowledge a landslide in Saudi policy, especially when those with greater responsibility are shirking their pollution reduction obligations.
ECO is here to help negotiators remove some brackets from that new MRV text that is hot off the press, and insert a few critical items that Parties have somehow forgotten.
So pick up your erasers (or warm up your Delete keys) and let’s get to work!
Stakeholder participation – Observer participation is still bracketed in the ICA and largely absent or conditioned in the IAR. Inexcusable! Stakeholders, including NGOs, businesses and municipalities, have a right to participate and contribute important scientific and technical information to the negotiations.
Accounting and compliance – These two words seem to be toxic to some developed country parties, like the USA and Canada, but including them in international assessment and review (IAR) is fundamental. The IAR must review the accounting of emission reductions and lead to future compliance mechanisms under the Convention. You can see where things go otherwise; the lack of good accounting and compliance played a big role in the financial crisis.
Adjustments – A tonne is a tonne is a tonne. Not only do we need common accounting rules, in the IAR technical review, the review teams need to be able to adjust data when the rules aren’t followed. Brackets around adjustments – off!
MRV and the Review – Biennial reports, biennial update reports, and the IAR and international consultation and analysis (ICA) processes are key to providing an accurate picture of global emissions for the 2013 Review. This link is reflected in the IAR preamble but inexplicably has been deleted from the ICA preamble. This link and an appropriate timeline should be agreed. Developed country reports should be in by 1 January 2013 and developing country reports on 1 January 2014; and the IAR and ICA should start in May 2013 and May 2014, respectively. This timeline is crucial for providing effective input in the review process.
Developed country Biennial reports – It is troubling to see that the information on LULUCF and market mechanisms for developed country targets is bracketed. Remove the darn ’s! We need the information and it should be based on common rules.
New and additional finance – A key part of enhanced transparency in climate finance is defining “new and additional”. So don’t forget to keep that box in the Common Reporting Format for finance;.
National Communication guidelines need updating all around. Parties must agree in Durban to update the guidelines for both developed and developing countries. Currently, the text only has a provision for revising developed country guidelines.
Low Carbon Development Strategies – Most Parties seem to be forgetting paragraphs 45 and 65 from Cancún about low carbon plans, even if a lot of countries are moving forward domestically with them. Biennial reports focus on what has been achieved; but planning for a decarbonized future is crucial and that is where these strategies come in. We need a process to report on the development of those plans and share best practices.
Response measures don’t belong in IAR. (Do we need to say it again?) Consideration of the adverse impacts of mitigation actions is already done more than adequately as part of the annual review of GHG inventories. It has no place in the IAR process. This is a climate change convention, after all.
REDD+ reporting – A summary of REDD+ activities, including actions, methodologies, accounting and safeguards information systems, should be included in Biennial Update Reports and NatComms.
Beyond the text itself, countries could move the process forward if they made some concrete announcements. Take for example the USA. For all its rhetoric on transparency, they have yet to put forward serious money to support developing country biennial reports and the ICA process. The entire developed world has an interest in and an obligation to support these initiatives. Announcements of support in Durban would go a long way to ensure robust guidelines are adopted.
FOSSIL OF THE DAY AWARDS
Bonn, Germany, June 6, 2011
The Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of over 600 NGOs worldwide, gives out two 'Fossil of The Day' awards to the countries who perform the worst during the past days negotiations at the UN climate change conference.
The awards given out on June 6, 2011 in Bonn, Germany were as follows:
First place fossil goes to Saudi Arabia for using their pet issue of response measures to thwart the urgent need for progress.
The Saudi’s brought the SBI to a halt by reneging on the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreements which clearly separate response measures from adaptation, seeking to hold the entire process hostage to its oily self interest.
As the world struggles to feed itself, island nations are faced with threats to their survival and scientists’ revelations that the arctic is melting faster than expected – now is not the time to revert to old, discredited tactics to block progress.
About the fossils:
The Fossil-of-the-day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, also in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum.
During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 600 non-governmental organisations, vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.