Tag: usa

China and Germany Climate Policies Draw Clean Energy Investment at Expense of U.S.

In his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama introduced the idea of “winning the future” to the American public. ECO welcomes this race, and humbly suggests a focus on climate policies could help him achieve this seemingly paradoxical goal. To win the race, the U.S. will need to actually join it. A recent Pew and Bloomberg New Energy Finance report shows that the U.S. has slipped down to number three in private investment in clean energy development, such as small-scale solar installations, launching Germany into the number two spot.  Until 2008, the U.S. had held the top spot, a spot now firmly held by China. Globally, 2010 clean energy finance and investments grew by 30 percent to a record $243 billion.

Why is the U.S. competitive position ‘deteriorating’, ECO wonders?

The report concludes that climate policies matter to investors.  Pew’s Clean Energy Program Director attributed the decline in investments in the U.S. to a ‘weak and uncertain’ policy framework. China, Germany and India are rising in investment rankings because they have adopted policies such as renewable energy standards, carbon reduction targets and/or incentives for investment and production.

In the race to win the future, the US seems to be running with its shoes untied.

The report – Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2010 edition – is the second annual compilation of clean energy investments (which includes renewables and energy efficiency). Last year’s reportmade big waves in the U.S. when it announced that China had taken over the lead.Now the gap has widened and the US is falling even lower down the rankings.

ECO has to wonder when U.S. elected officials will wake up to that fact that the real ‘job killer’ is not carbon regulation.  It is the failure to join the rest of the world in the race to the new energy future


Japan Takes 1st Place Fossil of the Day for KP Attack, U.S. Scores 2nd and 3rd

8 December 2010

Cancun, Mexico – Japan earned a 1st place Fossil for its continued efforts to kill the
Kyoto Protocol by preventing a second commitment period from moving forward.
The United States, fresh off its first, and 1st place, Fossil in Cancun yesterday, earned
its first 2nd and 3rd place Fossils for slowing technology transfer and developing
country adaptation support.

The Fossils as presented read:
"The United States wins the 3rd place Fossil. Congratulations US - Technology
transfer has been a core commitment since the beginning of the Convention, and
we’ve already wasted too much time discussing how to do it. A workable proposal is
finally on the table and everyone else is willing to go with it and establish the new
technology mechanism here in Cancun. But yesterday, you made it clear that in your
view, the Parties should only ‘consider’ establishing it.

That’s strange, given that the Copenhagen Accord clearly states that leaders agreed to
‘establish a Technology Mechanism’, ‘operational immediately’. We are surprised
you are going back behind what heads of state already agreed to and try to renegotiate
a deal struck a deal struck among world leaders. For the last year, most parties in the
technology negotiations have been working hard to answer the remaining questions
and a lot of progress was made in Cancun. While everyone else is being flexible, your
obstructionism is blocking any progress.

The US championed the need for a technology center and network and you are
developing some regional center pilots, so why the heartburn on the proposal on the
table? Concerns by US clean tech companies about being under a burdensome and
bureaucratic UN body are misinformed; what our warming world needs is precisely
what a multilateral mechanism can deliver: coordinated planning and implementation
to speed-up and scale-up the what poor countries and communities need to transition
quickly to a low-emissions future."

"The USA wins the 2nd place Fossil for delaying agreement on the establishment of
an Adaptation Committee, which is demanded by developing countries to improve
coherence and coordination of adaptation under the Convention. The US continues to
insist on clarification of the functions and asked in Cancun whether this could not be
dealt with under SBSTA, an approach which they had rejected some years ago when
it was on the SBSTA agenda. The Convention process requires a dedicated
institutional arrangement on adaptation which can initiate further action, not limited to
technical advice. This function cannot be fulfilled by existing institutions outside the

"The 1st place Fossil goes to Japan. Although the Minister arrived on Sunday, Japan
has not yet changed its position of rejecting to put its target for the second
commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which virtually kills the future of the
Kyoto Protocol. Despite the plea from all around the world, even in the midst of the
isolation (with hidden allies consisting of Russia and Canada), Japan's inflexibility
endangers the whole discussion of the future framework at CANCUN, which the earth
desperately needs."

About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and
individual action to limit human-induced 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.


Related Member Organization: 

Fast-Start Disclosure

ECO is in shock!  Are we really witnessing a race to the top for the transparency of fast start finance?

After months of pestering developed countries about fast-start disclosure, the United States – a country not known for its climate leadership – says it will disclose so much information that the Dutch fast start finance website will put up ‘under construction’ signs. 

Todd Stern stated at the finance meeting in Geneva that the US would undertake a ‘very detailed document’, much to the shock (and possibly horror) of its Umbrella Group colleagues. 

ECO understands the US will proudly announce that much of its fast-start finance is ‘new and additional’.  That’s easy to do when your previous climate finance contributions are close to zero.  On the other hand, this doesn’t help the comparison of additionality of different rich country contributions.  Only a fair common baseline across all contributing countries will allow that.  What’s actually additional gets even more complicated because the US seems ready to double-count funds for its G8 Food Security commitment towards its fast start package.

If the EU wants to call itself a climate finance leader, a common baseline to measure ‘new and additional’ is a real test of its conviction, and would pressure other rich countries to follow suit.  That’s the race to the top these talks actually need.   ECO would like to remind parties that disclosure and transparency is the first step towards creating accountability and confidence.

Whilst the EU worries about being put in the shade by the US report, they have an opportunity to reclaim their leadership on climate finance by agreeing internally a fair and common baseline for additionality and proposing it for adoption by all parties in Cancun.  ECO understands the EU has considered a common baseline proposal to be included in the EU Fast Start Finance report which could nudge the US to the same starting position.  We’ll know when that report is finalised by mid-November.

Finally, developed countries have no leg to stand on regarding MRV of actions if they cannot be transparent in their support.  We will know more in Cancun about US and EU commitment to transparency of both sources and uses of their fast start
finance, and that will be the time to check in on whether the Brollies have taken heed as well.  So stay tuned to your fast start finance channel right here in ECO!

Related Newsletter : 

Presentation - Building on Kyoto - Dec 2004

While the Kyoto Protocol is not yet in force (due to the unilateral declaration by the George W. Bush Administration of the United States that it would not follow the Kyoto Protocol, as well as delay in Russiaís ratification of it) already many difficulties have been overcome, with deailed operational rules for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol having been agreed upon at the Seventh Conference of the Parties (COP7), and more than 120 countries having ratified it.  This indicates that the large majority of the countries and people of the world are strongly in support of the Kyoto Protocol as the only international system of rules that could allow us to confront global warming.



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