Tag: Ukraine

Russia Wins Disastrous Diplomacy Dishonorable Distinction (4D) Award

Russia Fossil of the Day: June 13, 2013 - Disastrous Diplomacy Dishonorable Distinction (4D) Award

Russia continues to break new ground here in Bonn, and not in a good way. CAN has issued Colossal Fossils before to countries that richly deserved it, but never before has one country monopolized the fossil awards the way Russia has this session. For this reason, CAN is giving Russia special recognition with the Disastrous Diplomacy Dishonorable Distinction (4D) Award. Never before has the agenda and work of an entire Subsidiary Body of the UNFCCC has been held hostage to the whims of one country, or more likely one negotiator. Russia claims they want to discuss the rules of procedure here at the UNFCCC yet they rejected all solutions that offered to do so. So the mystery of their continued blocking (with Belarus and Ukraine continuing to go along for the ride) around such a political issue remains. If they do want to make a political statement this should be done between Ministers in a Ministerial meeting, not at the negotiator level. Disconcertingly, all this it remains unresolved, and it is not clear whether Russia, Belarus and Ukraine will continue to disrupt progress during the COP in Warsaw, when we desperately need to focus on getting emissions down, and finance up. We say out of the way at Warsaw, Russia.

Russia Wins Disastrous Diplomacy Dishonorable Distinction (4D) Award

Russia Fossil of the Day: June 13, 2013 - Disastrous Diplomacy Dishonorable Distinction (4D) Award

Russia continues to break new ground here in Bonn, and not in a good way. CAN has issued Colossal Fossils before to countries that richly deserved it, but never before has one country monopolized the fossil awards the way Russia has this session.  For this reason, CAN is giving Russia special recognition  with the Disastrous Diplomacy Dishonorable Distinction (4D) Award.

Never before has the agenda and work of an entire Subsidiary Body of the UNFCCC has been held hostage to the whims of one country, or more likely one negotiator.

Russia claims they want to discuss the rules of procedure here at the UNFCCC yet they rejected all solutions that offered to do so. So the mystery of their continued blocking (with Belarus and Ukraine continuing to go along for the ride)   around such a political issue remains.

If they do want to make  a political statement this should be done between Ministers in a Ministerial meeting, not at the negotiator level.

Disconcertingly, all this it remains unresolved, and it is not clear whether Russia, Belarus and Ukraine will continue to disrupt progress during the COP in Warsaw, when we desperately need to focus on getting emissions down, and finance  up.

We say out of the way at Warsaw, Russia. 

Ukraine – Transition from Gas to Coal! Are you serious?

ECO was dismayed to hear Ukraine’s presentation of its QELRO in yesterday’s KP session.

 

The presentation did not live up to its billing – not only did Ukraine not have a QELRO to present, but stated that it would not be in a position to do so until it had done more work on its low carbon economy strategy – in 2013.

ECO welcomes the assessment of mitigation potential and actively supports all countries planning for a transition to a low carbon economy. However, Ukraine’s plans to fuel switch from gas, not to renewables, but to coal, make the country’s self-proclaimed recognition of its responsibility to future generations rather difficult to  believe.

 Perhaps ECO should not be surprised – recent amendments to the Energy Strategy were developed by the private foundation owned by one of the richest men in Ukraine, who is also the owner of many energy facilities. The Strategy has been severely criticized by the Ukrainian public. It has ambitious plans to develop coal and nuclear, but contains nothing about greenhouse gas pollution and very weak plans to improve energy efficiency and develop renewables.

 At best, ECO appreciates that Ukraine's actions will probably give ECO some extra material to fill its pages with in the coming year. Seriously, thanks.

Building a Tower of Climate Fighting Power

Like the Secretariat, our LCA chair and many other delegates in the Maritim, ECO also has experience with the trials and tribulations of construction projects. But not to worry. Yesterday, AOSIS and the LDCs presented a new blueprint for a sturdy and livable structure that can be a functional home for all of us, with a minimal carbon footprint and protection from the increasingly uncertain elements.

To build a good foundation, AOSIS has designed some strong pillars to replace or reinforce the flimsy developed country pledges. For instance, the EU, which has been mixing only 20% cement with sand for its concrete, can strengthen its climate edifice by rising to 30% concrete or even more. This is required to meet the building codes anyway, so why skimp and risk collapse?

New Zealand should raise its level to at least 20%. And in Australia, government papers, forced by NGOs to be made public, show that the conditions for its 15% target have already been met.

Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan will need to dig deeper foundations in the second commitment period to prevent vast amounts of hot air.

Canada, which has been out of compliance with building codes for some time, has decided to build tar sand castles and has given up on any construction that will last more than a few years.

Moving from the foundation to the ground floor, AOSIS, troubled by the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan ¨C fleeing the building and planning to build their own shanties ¨C warns they must use comparable construction standards, and prepare for the visit of the building inspector. As long as they remain in the Convention, they must demonstrate that their efforts are comparable to those of Kyoto buildings, and will achieve results consistent with the best available science.

Adequate housing for all requires scaled up contributions to the building fund, which is why the LDCs are unhappy with the lack of reliable and predictable finance. Conventionland’s wealthier residents, who have already built comfortable homes with high carbon footprints, have thus far refused to give a clear timetable towards meeting the US$100 billion commitment by 2020. They only seem to be offering play money and junk bonds to add up to the $100 billion.

With a strong foundation laid, the LDC architects have proposed that a mighty Durban Tower can be built in a few years on the same institutional structure as the current, modest Bali Tower. The venerable old Kyoto Tower will be dwarfed by the combined ambition of these two new structures, which will have ample space for mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity building. The new towers will be in full compliance will all codes. Regular visits by monitoring, reporting and verifying teams, checking up on finance and mitigation actions, will be welcome events.

The initial sketches from Durban are about to become detailed blueprints, full of shovel-ready projects that will be built for the occupants well in advance of the construction schedule.

The LDCs, like all of us, have placed their futures in the hands of a new Project Manager who we trust will not be satisfied with the current low level of ambition. All the settlers in Conventionland must spare no effort in ensuring the post-2020 Durban Tower reaches new heights, with clear milestones for each coming year.

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AAUs: Don’t Let ‘Hot Air’ Go Stale

‘Hot air’ (surplus AAUs) must be properly addressed in Durban. This is perhaps one of the most important points on which agreement needs to be reached for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  The total amount of AAUs is around 7.5-10 Gt CO2e – in other words, roughly one-third of the current 2020 emissions reduction targets pledged by Annex I countries.  This ‘hot air’ was created not because of effective climate policies but rather the economic crisis of the 1990s.

The biggest holders of surplus AAUs are Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and EU members from Central and Eastern Europe. Insisting that the full AAU surplus carries over to the second commitment period makes already weak pledges from developed countries even weaker.

Parties have several choices how to deal with this, from  full carry-over to full restrictions. Dear delegates – don’t let this hot air go stale! It’s easy: ECO calls on Parties holding surplus AAUs to simply retire their ‘hot air’ by the end of 2012.  If Parties are getting cold merely thinking about their hot-airless future, a very limited carry-over of surplus to the second commitment period may offer a cozier solution.

To make sure these hot gases don’t foul our future, just a few small things are needed.  Any additions to AAUs for the second commitment period have to be limited to 1%. Surplus-holding countries must commit to climate-friendly investment of revenues through transparent and internationally monitored Green Investment Schemes (GIS) which are subject to MRV, and/or to funds supporting climate actions in developing countries. Last but not least, AAUs cannot be used for compliance in domestic cap and trade systems in Annex I countries.

2020: Too Late to Wait

In Durban, we are at a crucial turning point in addressing climate change. Governments will choose either to delay progress or recognize that meaningful action is needed now. The world  is dangerously close to passing the threshold for runaway climate  change. Delaying the negotiation of a global binding deal to 2020 will condemn people worldwide to suffering accelerating and uncontrollable effects of climate change for generations to come.

COP 17 has the potential to be a catalyst for positive change on a global scale. Parties should be laser-focused on addressing the climate crisis and creating the sustainable energy future that will benefit us all. The world needs a successful climate deal more urgently than ever. If a less than positive outcome is achieved in Durban, we risk losing the multilateral process that has kept alive our hope for a sustainable future. The science is compelling, the economics make sense, so why are countries holding back from achieving the progress the world so badly needs?

Success in Durban will come from forging a meaningful way forward on climate change action based on science and recognition that time is running out. The most positive outcome in Durban includes agreeing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, securing a mandate to negotiate a legally binding instrument under the LCA to be adopted no later than 2015, and implementation of the Cancun Agreements. 

EU leadership is absolutely crucial. The EU holds the key to the Durban outcome.  If the EU  does not come to Durban with the clear goal of adopting a second commitment period – and not some fuzzy “political commitment” – the Kyoto Protocol will wither and die.

United States has failed to fulfill its responsibility to the rest of the world on climate change. There are low expectations that the US will do its fair share in the near future.  But the targets the US has put forward are much lower than others, including the EU, and the US has not put a finance offer on the table that is in line with its responsibilities. ECO would like the US to show leadership.  But if it can’t or won’t, the US needs to get out of the way so that other countries can move forward.  The US should let the rest of the world move ahead with building a climate regime that will facilitate a shift to green economic growth, and join when its own political situation is more forward-looking.  Blocking won’t lead to the US getting its preconditions met, it will instead lead to acrimony and finger pointing.

ECO agrees with China in forcefully advocating for a second  commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and higher ambition from developed countries.  However, as the largest emitter in the world today. China’s actions at home make it clear it is aware of this responsibility and is willing to act on it. China should match that progress within the international negotiations by agreeing to work toward a comprehensive, legally binding and ambitious agreement to be concluded in 2015 and can be implemented by 2018 at the latest.

Congratulations Australia on getting your carbon price legislation through Parliament.  It was truly an achievement.  But Australia must not rest on its laurels, and has an important role to play in preserving the Kyoto Protocol, so as to provide the basis for a more comprehensive regime in the future.  Australia also has a crucial role to play in bringing together parties to ensure that a comprehensive regime is agreed as soon as possible – and should push for a mandate that ends in 2015 and maps out a clear pathway for  implementation by 2018 at the  latest.  As the most vulnerable developed country, Australia has the most to gain on a successful outcome in Durban.

Ukraine should move closer to the progressive countries in the EU by not only agreeing to a second commitment period of the KP, but also increasing its target to a more ambitious level relative to its business as usual emissions (forecast to be 54% below 1990 levels by 2020), showing flexibility on its ‘hot air’ and ensuring that carry-over AAUs are minimized.

India aims to be a global champion of the poor and vulnerable by working constructively in the multilateral environment. ECO agrees with India’s equity based approach and its demand for operationalisation, starting with its strong demand for second commitment period. But India needs to be more pragmatic on the issue of legally binding outcome under the LCA for a comprehensive future climate regime that protects the rights of poor communities and countries. 

Japan, Russia and Canada.  ECO joins many in worrying about the direction being taken by Japan, Russia and Canada.  As three heavily climate-affected countries, they should agree to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol since they haven’t offered any effective alternatives.

South Africa / COP Presidency.  There is wide appreciation for South Africa’s open and transparent approach in the run-up to Durban.  Now is the time to move out of pure ‘listening mode’.  In its Presidency, South Africa should keep focus squarely on open and transparent exchange that drives the negotiations to a positive conclusion, whilst its national delegation champions the positions of the Africa Group and particularly the interests of the poor.  ECO appreciates the scope of the work ahead and has confidence that South Africa can achieve its broad and ambitious goals in Durba

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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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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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