Eco Digital Blog

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, June 11, 2010 - 00:56

BP-USA is awarded an Honorary Fossil Award from CAN International for fostering our addiction to fossil fuels, an 
addiction that is driving global warming towards dangerous climate change and lies behind the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico.

The consequences of forgoing a global agreement to move off fossil fuels and invest in a low-carbon future are clear – scientists have run the numbers.  Unless warming is checked temperatures will increase way beyond the threshold for catastrophic climate change. For some countries the toll is already mounting.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 01:06

As a low-key session in the all too familiar confines of the Maritim draws to an end, the pressures, ambitions and disappointments of Copenhagen are fading into the background. Green shoots are appearing in the LCA finance negotiations, where the dry discussions of institutions, functions, accountability and authority are turning into a rich and productive engagement. 

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 01:04

With an issue as serious as the survival of entire nations, you would think all governments would be able to negotiate the matter seriously and in good faith. However, as last night’s teeth-rattling exercise in negotiations dentistry showed, even agreeing a technical report about potential 1.5° C scenarios is not immune.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 01:00

Let’s face it, there hasn’t been that much progress here in Bonn to address the climate challenge. So ECO wants to share some thoughts about the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP).

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 00:58

As Ludwig observed the evening SBSTA session, his mood changed from mid-week ennui to the edge of irritation.  Clearly, what the OPECs need to do is take a lesson from the Annex I forest management folk. After all, fossil fuels are merely dead vegetation and we all know that emissions from dead vegetation need not be accounted for, or else only voluntarily. A well constructed forward-looking baseline, with all BAU fossil fuel burning incorporated into it, would obviate the need to account for any fossil fuel emissions.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 01:06

Last week ECO talked about the paper published last month by the European Commission, which analyses what a move to a 30% emissions reduction target on 1990 levels by 2020 would mean for the EU. The paper makes a good read and leads to a quite unequivocal conclusion.

The recession has made emission reductions much cheaper than originally estimated. At €81 billion per year by 2020, the total costs of a 30% reduction would be only €11 billion more per year than originally estimated for a 20% decrease. A move to 30% would also reduce spending on pollution control by €3 billion annually. In addition, health co-benefits would be as much as €8 billion in 2020.

Furthermore, the current 20%-by-2020 emissions trajectory would require major and expensive catch-up later on to attain the legislated emission reductions of 80-95% by 2050 at optimal cost.

Shorter-term economic impacts would also result from staying with the 20% target. Cash-strapped EU governments may rightly be scared by the estimate that revenues from the auctioning of emissions allowances may fall by up to €70 billion. Conversely, achieving a 30% emissions reduction target would reduce imports of oil and gas by €40 billion in 2020 at a reference price of $88 per barrel.

Keeping the 20% target would further perpetuate the low carbon price that has resulted from reduced production and over-allocation of emission permits to industrial sectors. The lower the carbon price, the lower the incentive for change and innovation.  While Europe traditionally considers itself a leader in green technologies, this cannot be taken for granted. Other countries are catching up fast.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 01:03

A group of workers were building a railway between two towns. Let’s say one town was called Copenhagen and the next was called Ourcommonfuture.  The railway workers had assembled sleepers (crossties) and rails and knew the distance between the towns.
After a while, some of the railway workers looked at the pile of construction materials. Some of them realised there weren’t enough materials,  and those who most needed to arrive at platform 1.5 in the next town asked for a review of the problem. If you were working on the new track would you agree to the review?
The railway bosses at Copenhagen 
secured broad agreement that we must limit warming to below 2 degrees, with a review of implementation and levels of ambition (considering 1.5) by 2015.  So ECO’s question for delegates is this: If your political leaders are serious about the Copenhagen goal and the review, then a workshop under SBSTA is a good way to focus on the technical and scientific challenges of reaching the goal, the size of the gap between current abatement efforts and the goal, and the opportunities to make up that shortfall.  These are essential elements to making sure we can reach our common future.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 01:00

Recently the mysteries of ‘land use, land use change and forestry’ (LULUCF) have come to broader attention.
ECO feels that full appreciation of the wonders of LULUCF is often hindered by the technical jargon that surrounds the subject.  To help move the process forward, we offer delegates this glossary of commonly used terms in the debate on forest management.

Forest management: Logging.
Sustainable forest management: Mostly logging.
Harvesting: Logging.
Temporarily destocked: Logged (usually logged natural forest).
Age class structure: Age of forest.
Wrong age class structure: Old trees 
= needs logging.
Conversion: Logging a natural, carbon and biodiversity-rich forest and 
replacing it with a low carbon, low 
biodiversity forest with no penalty (see also temporarily destocked, empty forest, displaced local and indigenous people and Australia).
Unique national circumstances: Need to log (often thought just to apply to New Zealand but can apply to any country wanting to log).

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 00:58

ECO congratulates Mr. Naoto Kan on his appointment as the new Prime Minister of Japan.
We wonder if Japan’s financial initiative to support developing countries, the so-called ‘Hatoyama Initiative’, will now be changed to the ‘Kan-Do Initiative’?
Last year in Copenhagen, ECO welcomed Japan’s $15 billion pledge for fast start finance. This represents half of the $30 billion commitment from the developed countries under the Copenhagen 

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 00:56

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