Tag: Mitigation

No Nuclear for Mitigation

Nuclear power has long been promoted as one of the tools to mitigate climate change. Japan has always been one of the biggest promoters of this theory and has not only tried to get nuclear power accepted in the CDM, but has also developed its own “bilateral crediting mechanism,” to include nuclear. ECO assumed that Japan would change this position after the Fukushima disaster, so we were taken aback by Japan's intervention in the flexible mechanisms discussion, stating that the CDM should be open to all technologies, including nuclear.

New nuclear power plants require massive public subsidies to go forward – monies that would be much better invested in the development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The nuclear energy industry has   been   pushing   COP   after   COP to promote their technology as a tool for carbon reduction, but even a massive four-fold expansion of nuclear power by 2050 would provide at best a 4% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Against the background of the Fukushima tragedy and all the risks inherent in nuclear energy, ECO finds it amazing that countries still keep promoting nuclear energy as a mitigation option.  There’s no point in trying to jump out of the climate frying pan by jumping into the nuclear fire.  That would be like trying to cure one’s addiction to smoking by taking up crack cocaine.  After the massive demonstrations in Japan, and the German and Swiss decisions to phase out nuclear energy, ECO calls upon Japan to become a leader in ensuring the exclusion of nuclear power from the CDM.

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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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A fossil hat trick for Canada at the UN climate talks: if only the 'other' Canucks had such luck

Fossil of the Day - Bonn - June 9, 2011 - Canada

First Place Fossil is awarded to Canada. Guess what sector is Canada’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions? That would be the tar sands, where emissions from digging up dirty oil have close to tripled since 1990.

Now guess which sector Canada decided not to report on in its most recent National Inventory Report? Yes, that would be the tar sands again...How could Canada’s government leave out such a crucial sector, you may ask? Well, when Canadian journalists did some digging, they found that tar sands emissions were higher than ever last year. We can’t let Canada’s oil-loving government slide off the hook for that little slip-up. For their tarry approach to transparency, we award Canada today’s first place fossil.

Canada also takes the Second Place Fossil. We’ve all seen it coming, but now Canada has made it official: they’re not willing to take a legally binding target under a second phase of Kyoto. Of course, it’s not like Canada contributed much to the first phase of Kyoto — their decision to walk away without even trying to hit their target puts them at the bottom of the Kyoto class.

The harsh truth? Canada’s track record of climate inaction shows that they need a binding target more than anyone. For failing to recognize that, and undermining this process in the process, we award Canada a second place fossil.

Third Place Fossil Goes to…Canada. While appreciating Canada's cajones (that is "courage" in Spanish) to make a presentation at today's mitigation workshop, the refusal to acknowledge what everyone else in Bonn knows has earned Canada today's
3rd place fossil.  For a long time it has been clear that Canada will not meet it's Kyoto target, yet in response to repeated questions this morning the best Canada could offer was that they could not possibly know until the end of the true up period in 2014. Canada must have its head stuck in the tar sands of Alberta.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of roughly 700 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.



CAN intervention - Opening AWG-LCA Plenary - June 7, 2011

Thank you chair.  
Distinguished delegates.
My name is Lina Li. I’ll speak on behalf of the Climate Action Network.
Global CO2-Emissions in 2010 reached all-time record levels, worsening climate change and
its devastating impacts on the world’s poor. Yields are shrinking, food prices are rising. By
2030, half of the expected increase in prices for staple crops may be due to climate change
Since I was given only one minute to speak to you, here I offer you just three areas where
Parties must make progress in Bonn:
Firstly, acknowledge that you cannot negotiate science. Recognise that global emissions must
peak by 2015 latest and decrease by at least 80% by 2050. Each country must do its fair share
of globally needed mitigation efforts, through addressing domestic emissions, as well as, in
the case of developed countries, provide financial support to developing countries to tackle
their emissions.
Secondly, close the gigatonne gap. Global emissions are far away from any trajectory that can
be called safe. Current pledges are set to lead to a 3, 4 – or more – degree world. Developed
countries in particular are dragging their feet. Their proposed pledges are adding up to only
12-18% reductions. Developed countries must move to the high end of their pledged ranges,
close existing loopholes rather than merrily proposing new ones, and they will have to
increase their pledges even further, as even in the best of all cases their proposed cuts will still
be nowhere near the 25-40% IPCC range required to stay below 2-2.4 degrees, let alone
what’s needed for 1.5 degrees.  
In turn, developing countries that haven’t done so yet, should present their NAMAs and
clarify needs for support to implement them. Also, developing countries should use Bonn to
increase clarity on their assumptions on baselines and other key factors such as energy use.
Thirdly, developed countries should be invited to present a credible plan how they intend to
meet their 100-billion-pledge made in Copenhagen and confirmed in Cancun. Such a 100-
billion-plan should include a set of innovative sources to raise finance, such as a levy or
emissions trading system for international transport ensuring no net incidence on developing
countries to be consistent with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and
respective capabilities.
Thank you for your attention.


CAN intervention - Opening AWG-KP Plenary - June 7, 2011

Thank you Mr Chair,
Distinguished delegates,
My name is Maike Pilitati. I’ll speak on behalf of the Climate Action Network.
As CAN has consistently emphasized, the Kyoto Protocol is important to help close the
gigatonne gap between your pledges and what is needed for the well-below 2C ambition that
YOU have agreed – let alone the 1.5C limit that is more consistent with the ultimate objective of
the Convention.
The gigatonne gap can be addressed through the KP in 2 key ways:
First, developed countries need to increase their pledges. Currently we only have 12-18%
reductions from 1990 levels – and that meager offer is from the group of countries legally
obliged to “take the lead” to avoid climate catastrophe. But even if developed countries move to
the high end of their pledges, this will not get us anywhere near the 25-40% IPCC range required
to limit warming even to 2.0-2.4C increases. We simply don’t understand: why are developed
countries, by dragging their feet now, choosing to put themselves on a more expensive and less
efficient path to decarbonization? QELROs are meant to drive domestic transformation to a low
carbon economy.
Second, CAN reminds delegates that, as the current economic crisis shows, dodgy accounting
leads to collapse. Developed countries are merrily using smoke and mirrors to undermine their
low ambition even further through proposing ever more loopholes, – leading us to a 3, 4 – or
more – degree world. And you all know what that means for all of us. Let us be clear: what the
atmosphere sees is what counts.  
Distinguished delegates, In Bonn you need to clarify the assumptions underlying your pledges on
domestic action, LULUCF accounting, hot air carry over and offset use. That would help us to
build on Kyoto’s existing common accounting framework and agree QELROs that are fair and
adequately ambitious.
Thank you Mr Chair.

When is Mitigation “Meaningful?”

According to the fossil fuel lobbyists in Brussels, Washington or Canberra, it is only developed countries that are being pressured to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. Those special interest lobbyists, and the governments that listen to them, should pay attention in the mitigation workshops this week. ECO notes that the majority of the emission reductions currently on the table are likely to be made in developing – not developed - countries.

A forthcoming overview of the major recent analyses of the mitigation pledges from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), shows that in 11 of the 12 scenarios looked at, developing countries will be responsible for more real emission reductions than developed countries. According to these studies, the only scenario that sees developed countries’ pledges deliver greater reductions compared to business as usual, is the most optimistic of those outlined in the UNEP emission gap report. Sadly there aren’t many developed countries currently committing to the high end of their pledged ranges with the strictest of accounting rules.

Why does this matter? Firstly, because many developed countries have made implementation of - the higher end of - their pledges conditional on “adequate” or “ambitious” action by major developing countries. Secondly, because developed countries like to reiterate that the $100 billion per year committed in Cancún as climate finance is conditional on “meaningful mitigation” by developed- countries.

So ECO would like to know when developed countries will tell their counterparts whether these conditions have been met. It may be difficult to argue they have not, so long as developed countries ambition remains so low.

In the end, ECO knows that for mitigation to be truly “meaningful”, global efforts must be sufficient to keep global warming below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. There are no prizes for coming first in a race in which everyone fails to reach the finish line. All countries will need to work to close the emissions gap – but developed country governments should recognise that they are currently not doing their fair share. They should stop listening to the lobbyists telling them not to lead, and recognise that it is instead they who are currently following.

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Get the Slides Out – But Don’t Tell Us Something We Already Know

As Parties prepare their slides for the two upcoming mitigation workshops, ECO invites Parties to leave out those slides that do not contain new information but focus instead on what will help closing the gigatonne gap.

We would like to see on the first slide of each presenting developed country Party, the true emissions in that country in 2020 – after taking into account assumptions on LULUCF accounting, AAU carry-over and carbon offset use. Countries should further be explicit about what efforts they intend to make domestically.

 Developed countries, with pledges below the 25-40% IPCC range, should show on their second slide which developed countries are going to compensate for their gap by making higher cuts instead, and how that goes along with a fair share of the globally needed mitigation effort. ECO believes that would guarantee some interesting discussions.

The third slide could include information on specific national circumstances. For instance, ECO is already sharpening its pencil awaiting anxiously a slide by Canada, that explains  how  a  pledge  that  is  even  lower than Canada’s Kyoto 1 target constitutes progress. Or take Ukraine’s (or, say, Russia’s) third slide, that, ECO suggests, should show how a target designed to bring in millions of tonness of hot air into the system will help close the gigatonne gap. Or, have the EU explain its continued refusal to move to a 30% emissions reduction target (or, better, the 40% that ECO understands gets the EU closer to its fair share of international action in line with the cold hard facts of science), despite growing consensus underpinned by economic studies that doing so would create net economic benefits for the EU even in the absence of increased action by others.

Generally, ECO encourages all developed countries that have pledged reduction ranges to show, on a fourth slide, under which conditions they will move to the high end of their pledges, and in particular what part of these conditions has already been met and what would it take to get away with the rest. ECO would be very interested to hear from countries like Australia on preliminary assessments of the fulfillment of such conditions.

ECO has some ideas for slides from developing countries, too. They should clarify their assumptions on baseline projections until 2020, for both emissions and underlying key factors such as energy use or population growth, and principally any additional information that allows experts to assess what the emissions will be in those countries. ECO believes that a slide illustrating the expected impact and listing costs of all envisaged measures would help other Parties understanding the offers and needs of each country, i.e. what countries can do on their own and what support they need for doing the rest. And ECO is looking forward to see presentations from countries like Turkey, DRC and Thailand to name a few, that, as ECO has been assured, have their own domestic targets and measures but have yet to insert them into the famous INF documents.

Following the workshops, Parties should fully incorporate their findings into the formal negotiations. After all, the purpose of these workshops is to better understand each others’ pledges, to identify the size of the gigatonne gap, to get developed countries move to the high end of their pledged ranges (as a first step), and launch, in Durban, a process that would actually mandate further talks to agree on further action to close the gap to 1.5°C.

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Observations on

CAN presentation - NA1 mitigation workshop, Bangkok 2011


Essop delivers the CAN presentation on Developing Country Mitigation Action and Pledges to the Mitigation Workshop on April 4 in Bangkok.

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