Tag: CCS

10 Points of Action

Ministers – thank goodness you are here. Your delegations may have been burning some midnight oil in the last few days – but they have left the hard decisions for you! Here’s what your agenda for the next 4 days looks like:

1.  Don’t just “Mind the Gap” – do something! Ministers, at Durban you must show that you live on the same planet as the rest of us and acknowledge that the current mitigation pathway puts us on track for over 4° C warming. You must explicitly acknowledge the 6 to 11 Gigatonne gap, agree to a 2012 work plan to close the gap by increasing developed country targets to at least 40% by 2020, and provide guidelines and timeframes for NAMAs to be registered and supported where required. The ambition work plan must include clear markers through 2012, including submissions, technical papers and a dedicated intersessional meeting, to ensure we don’t have another year of wishy washy workshops with outcomes.

2. Commit for the long term. Negotiators have made no progress at all in setting a peak year and a long term global goal for emissions. Ministers now should explicitly agree that each country contribute their fair share to the globally needed mitigation effort, leading to a peak by 2015 and a reduction of global emissions of at least 80% below 1990 by 2050.

3. Stop spinning wheels in the Review. Ministers need to ensure that the Review will be effective, and limiting the scope will help it get off the ground as an effective instrument. We must focus on the important things: reviewing the long-term goal and the overall progress towards achieving it. Leave the biannual reports under MRV to cover the inputs like the means of implementation.

4. High Time for legally binding. A 5 year long second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is an absolute necessity as it contains important architectural elements which are crucial to ensure that mitigation commitments are legally binding and have environmental integrity. Nobody believes that a temperature rise of 4° C might be OK. So now is the moment to act decisively. An LCA mandate to agree a comprehensive legally binding instrument can build on the KP. Parties need to go beyond their long stated positions and immediately kick off negotiations toward a comprehensive, fair, ambitious and binding agreement to be agreed no later than 2015.

6. KP is essential – but it must have integrity. When added together, loopholes in the KP could wipe out Annex I ambition for the second commitment period.

In LULUCF, hidden and unaccounted emissions could significantly undermine Annex I targets, and cause us to doubt your commitment. Ministers must therefore ensure emissions from forests and land use are accurately accounted and reject the options on the table with the lowest environmental integrity.

All of the parties to this relationship know that the hot air / carried over AAUs is a bad joke that threatens to sour our relationship.  To keep it pure we need you to retire your surplus AAUs, or at least reduce them to 1%. Flexible mechanisms need clear rules and governance structures to avoid double counting of both emissions and finance, strengthen additionality testing and ensuring the standardization frenzy does not leave us with a highway for free-riders. Let’s start by keeping CCS and nuclear out of the CDM and let’s exclude coal power projects. Last but not least, we do indeed need stakeholder involvement in the CDM. Don’t back down, we are counting on you!

PS: CDM’s little brother JI has been up to a bunch of no-good stuff: hot air gussied up in new clothes (ERUs) is still hot air.

7. Fill the Fund. Operationalising the GCF in Durban is essential but not nearly enough – an empty fund is no good to anyone. We need initial capitalization of the GCF from developed country Parties in Durban. Reaching $100 billion per year by 2020 will require a commitment to scaled up finance from 2013 onward and clear progress on innovative approaches to generate finance. In Durban, parties should move forward on the establishment of mechanisms in the shipping and aviation sectors in a way that reduces emissions, generates finance, and ensures no burdens and costs on developing countries. Countries must also agree to a detailed one year work programme under the UNFCCC to consider a full range of innovative sources of public finance and report back to COP 18 with a proposal for action.

8. Gear Up and Deliver Technology. Technology is heading in the right direction, but speed is needed! Don’t be held back by other laggards. The Tech Mechanism could be operational by the end of COP 18.

9. Feel the Love for Transparency and Stakeholders. Your negotiators excised stakeholders’ right to participate from the IAR text and subject to heavy bracketing in ICA. But we know, Ministers, that you recognize the worth of engaging stakeholders to create a better process – rather than having us only campaign from the outside. Current text also falls short on common accounting rules for Annex I countries and clarification of pledges for all countries. Surely we’ve learned from the financial crisis! Robust reporting, such as Biennial Reviews and Biennial Update Report guidelines, including tables for reporting actions, and a common reporting format for finance must be agreed in Durban, so countries can complete their biennial reports in time for the first review. And where would this relationship between us and the planet, be without compliance for our commitments!

10.  An ambitious adaptation package at the African COP. Good agreements on Loss and Damage and the Nairobi Work Programme have already been reached. Wrapping up the package will require agreement on a strong Adaptation Committee including active civil society observers and direct reporting to the COP (as well to the SBs when COP does not meet). Furthermore, guidelines for National Adaptation Plans for Least Developed Countries must be adopted, plus modalities on how other developing countries can take these up. The prioritisation for LDCs must of course not be undermined.

A strong role for local, affected communities and civil society in national planning processes, building on the principles agreed in the Cancun Adaptation Framework, is essential. Finally, Parties must ensure that the Adaptation Fund does not dry up because of decreasing CER prices and lack of new pledges to the Fund from developed countries.

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CCS in the CDM: Time to End the Charade

Treating the world’s most carbon intensive fossil fuel as an emissions offset may sound like a joke but it’s no laughing matter.

You know, ECO is usually pretty quick on the uptake, but even we were shocked to learn that there are 45 – count them! -- coal projects in the CDM pipeline.

If all of the proposed projects are approved, they would emit 400 million tons of CO2 every year for many decades -- more than the France or South Africa.

Diverting billions of euros in scarce climate finance to an already lavishly subsidized industry that causes severe human health and ecosystem damage will run our common mission right into the ditch.

How could this be? It’s a scandal that the CDM and the UNFCCC can ill afford. The demand to permanently exclude coal from the CDM makes complete sense.

The call for exclusion comes on the heels of last week’s CDM Executive Board suspension of the crediting rules for coal power projects. The suspension was decided after an investigation found that the flawed rules could lead to over-issuance of millions of carbon credits that do not reflect real and additional emission reductions.

It was good to see the suspension, but that doesn’t close the matter. Merely adjusting the current rules will not be a solution.

An independent study confirmed the flaws in the methodology and says those flaws are inherent to this project type. In essence, there is no way to revise the methodology and ensure emissions reductions.

Given the urgency of the climate crisis, only the exclusion of coal from the CDM at COP 17 can ensure that these projects do not undermine developed countries’ mitigation commitments under the Kyoto Protocol or divert significant levels of scarce climate finance to dirty energy projects.

That represents a clear and definite opportunity toward restoring the environmental integrity of the CDM here in Durban.

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CCS in the CDM: The Struggle for Climate Finance

In Cancun, Parties decided that CCS is eligible in the CDM – provided that certain issues such as leakage and liability are resolved. As delegates are negotiating the details of modalities and procedures for this very questionable project type, it looks like Big Fossil is winning once again. This despite the fact that the viability of CCS as a mitigation technology has yet to be proven.

Here in Durban, only a small number of developing countries have raised concerns about the potential long term impacts of CCS. All others have remained suspiciously silent (hello small islands of the world – where are you?) or are eagerly approving paragraph after paragraph. Somehow it doesn’t seem likely that they really wanted to negotiate night and day to ensure that the fossil fuel industry gets yet another cash cow to milk!

The current text does not exclude ”enhanced oil recovery” – EOR. This is a method to increase the amount of oil that can be recovered from an underground oil reservoir. By pumping CO2 underground, previously unrecoverable oil can be pumped up. This can increase the recoverable oil by 30 to 60%. Once all of the oil has been pumped, the depleted reservoir is used a storage site for the CO2.

On top of the huge profits from the sale of oil and the large fossil fuel subsidies, oil producers could make millions by selling CDM credits for the CO2 they store. Dear delegates, please get your priorities right! CCS in the CDM is unproven at commercial scale with plenty of scientific uncertainties. More work needs to be done for these lingering issues to be resolved. We do not need yet another loophole for generating carbon credits. Before rushing into setting up a new source for millions of carbon offsets, you might want to get yourselves some QEROs first!

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CAN Submission: CCS in the CDM, February 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.

CCS in the CDM: No Way Forward

In Saturday morning’s session on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), ECO was shocked that the the option for keeping CCS out of the Clean Development Mechanism was absent from the text being forwarded to the CMP for a decision.
CCS has many problems and is some time away from being operational for large power stations.  And yet the door is opening to let it into the CDM by mandating a work programme. Could this be because the best way to accomplish enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is by pumping CO2 into the ground?
The inclusion of CCS is likely to give a perverse incentive to increase emissions and result in fairy tales in CDM project proposals. For example, it might be claimed that ‘by injecting CO2 into the ground, emissions will be reduced and a clean, state of the art technology will be transferred to a developing country.’ But what this actually means is, ‘by injecting CO2, we can squeeze even more oil out of the ground and even though the safety of CCS has not been established, if there are problems it won’t be in our backyard’.
ECO has long had a view that CCS does not belong in the CDM. It should be pointed out that according to the Marrakesh Accords, the inclusion of a new project type requires a showing that it is environmentally safe and sound. CCS is still in the demonstration phase and its safety has not been fully established, especially on long time scales. Furthermore, CCS is likely to be prohibitively expensive. And extra financing through the sale of carbon credits isn’t enough to increase the financial viability of such projects to the level needed.
In many cases, CCS in the CDM could actually be a foil for continuing to pump oil out of the ground. Just like an addicted smoker, we can’t seem to break our dirty habit.

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CAN Intervention - KP Opening Intervention - 1 Jun 2010

Thank you Mr Chair, Distinguished delegates, Clearly, progress is needed on the KP track here in Bonn.

CAN would like to remind delegates that when the KP was first negotiated, Parties agreed targets first, and the following years were spent agreeing the loopholes to accommodate them - loopholes that have contributed to the gigatonnes gap between accounting for emissions and what the atmosphere actually sees.

It is CAN’s long-standing opinion that the underlying rules should be negotiated first, so that the needed reduction target of at-least -40% can be allocated between the Annex B Parties, based on a clear and common understanding of the underlying scope and accounting rules.

Negotiating time in Bonn and for the subsequent intersessionals should therefore be focused on reaching agreement on a number of issues, including:

  • Accounting rules that actually reduce net LULUCF emissions;
  • Modalities for the flexible mechanisms – to avoid double counting of developed country mitigation and financial support obligations, and keep out inappropriate sectors, such as nuclear and CCS
  • The AAU banking loophole
  • The scope of new sources and sectors and other accounting rules – the “other issues”
  • Commitment period length and base year

These issues need to be agreed, but not agreed at any cost. CAN has strong concerns about some of the proposals currently being discussed, especially for LULUCF.

In the LULUCF negotiations, Annex I Parties are proposing to make their forests part of the climate change problem, rather than part of the solution. They are proposing to increase their annual net emissions from forest management by approximately 400 Mt CO2e without even accounting for it. This type of proposal has absolutely no place in a global climate agreement.

At this session, Annex I Parties must stop the accounting games. Annex I Parties must commit to absolute reductions in net anthropogenic emissions from LULUCF and they must protect their forests and other natural ecosystems as reservoirs of greenhouse gases. Parties could then quickly agree to LULUCF rules that transparently meet these two principles.

Like so much in this process, time is not required to fix LULUCF, only political will and ambition.

CDM black market

“I give you CCS in CDM if you give me forests in exhaustion in CDM” is one of the popular negotiation techniques that ECO observed over the past few days. Is this really how the UNFCCC seals its deals? ECO is seriously concerned that the “negotiators” forget that they don’t barter apples for pears. Possibly they don’t even know which goods they are handling.

Currently, any plantation established on land that was forested after 1 January 1990 is excluded from the CDM. However, based on a request by CMP4, the CDM Executive Board adopted a definition for land with “forests in exhaustion” as CDM afforestation and reforestation project activities to be possibly approved by CMP5. According to this new definition, CDM could support industrial tree plantations in areas that were “forests” either as of 31 December 1989 and/or at the start of the CDM project activity, provided that they will be converted to non-forested land through final harvesting within five years.

When looking at the impact of this definition let’s clarify first things first: Forests in exhaustion are actually not forests. The forest definition under the UNFCCC includes existing monoculture tree plantations. In practice, this applies to the millions of hectares of peatlands that have been drained for oil palm and pulp wood. The loss of these carbon rich soils causes ongoing emissions of up to 90 tonnes CO2 per ha/yr, /200 million Mt CO2 per year. Support for these emissive plantations is support for deforestation. The new definition would just benefit large existing forest plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil while LDCs would lose as they hardly have plantations. It would moreover open doors to forest management under the CDM which severely contradicts the agreement reached in Marrakech. Any amendment of the current definition of “forests” should rather exclude plantations and must under all conditions avoid extending it to the management of existing tree plantations.

Besides, this definition is highly problematic as it builds on a hypothetical assumption that plantations (alias forests) will be converted to non-forested land in five years. How do you prove that the land would have actually been finally harvested in five years if CDM supports the plantation to continue beyond that period? It rather seems like throwing money to a commercial activity that might continue anyway. This rings a bell. Eco reminds that the CDM is already suffering from one characteristic which is based on hypothetical assumption. The current project-by-project additionality testing is inherently subjective and impossible to do accurately and is leading to millions of non-additional CERs that are eagerly used by AI countries to offset their emission reduction obligations. Any countries out there that might think to seal a deal for CCS in CDM by accepting this misleading new project activity must think twice. ECO does not believe that CCS in CDM can pay for the huge negative impact that this new definition would bring along. Negotiators, please handle with care!


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