Eco Digital Blog

Submitted by ECO Editor on Monday, May 31, 2010 - 06:43

ECO has always called for “rules before targets” when it comes to land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). We certainly don't want to repeat the mistakes of Kyoto, when LULUCF rules were negotiated specifically to allow countries to meet their emissions reduction targets, rather than to aid in climate change mitigation or adaptation.  In that light, it makes sense for the Chair of the AWG-KP to call for rules to be finalized.

While ECO applauds the push to finalize text here in Bonn, agreeing the current LULUCF proposal would be even worse than the status quo. The proposal currently tabled would frame rules that actually allow countries to increase emissions and not account for them. This will seriously undermine targets for Annex I countries before they are even finalised. We assume this isn’t what the Chair of the Kyoto Protocol really wants to see.  In fact, it contrasts rather dramatically with the approach being proposed for REDD, which starts from the assumption of emissions reductions from non-Annex I countries.

Forest management accounting rules on the table from Copenhagen allow countries to hide or ignore substantial increased emissions from forest management in their baselines. Around 400 MT annually could be released without being accounted for, equivalent to 5% of the total 1990 emissions of all Annex I parties, and a significant fraction of their proposed reductions post-2012.

Instead, what we need is a strong and unambiguous commitment to deliver emissions reductions and increases in removals in this sector, in the form of a goal in the LULUCF framework. We also need to see protection for existing forest carbon stocks. We urge all parties to consider the consequences of enshrining hidden emissions increases into a climate deal and to instead move rapidly to reduce emissions from land use, land use change and forestry.

ECO has always called for “rules before targets” when it comes to land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). We certainly don't want to repeat the mistakes of Kyoto, when LULUCF rules were negotiated specifically to allow countries to meet their emissions reduction targets, rather than to aid in climate change mitigation or adaptation.  In that light, it makes sense for the Chair of the AWG-KP to call for rules to be finalized.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Monday, May 31, 2010 - 06:11

While seriously short of the mark, some limited progress was made on climate finance in Copenhagen. Developed countries promised to mobilise $100 billion per year and resolved to establish a new fund to deliver it.  All that opens the door to to fast-forward, not slow-walk, this building block in 2010. Cancún must offer more than just a flashback, a rehash of weak pledges. To unlock wider progress in the negotiations, Cancún will need to deliver a robust agreement on:

* Financing institutions, including establishment of a new fund under the UNFCCC and provisions for its  governance.

* Scaling up new, additional and predictable climate finance through innovative sources, using the finance targets agreed in Copenhagen as a milestone for progress.

* Institutions, guidelines and procedures for measuring, reporting and verifying support for climate actions as well as the actions themselves, including a registry for both actions and support.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Monday, May 31, 2010 - 06:07

As delegates return to the Maritim today for another round of climate talks, the Gulf Coast is busy coping with the biggest environmental catastrophe in the history of the United States. This catastrophe was caused by oil, which likewise is a leading cause of the climate catastrophe all at the Maritim are working so diligently to avoid. What started as an explosion in an offshore rig that killed 11 people, has now turned into over a month of oil gushing into a fragile yet highly productive marine environment housing important fisheries that employ and feed thousands of people, attract tourists to its beaches, serve as a spawning ground for the endangered Bluefin tuna, just to name one of hundreds of notable fish, birds and invertebrate species that have heretofore been mostly oil-free.  Now, sadly, the spill is swirling around in one big oily mess.  Only time, the Gulf currents and the unpredictable course of a very active tropical storm season will tell the final tale, but the financial impacts are already calculated in the billions, as well as uncountable losses to already overstressed ecosystems.

So ECO is left wondering at this point: will the US learn from this catastrophe and finally pass its climate bill to reduce emissions and provide finance for climate action? Will this be a wake up call for the US that helps realize the benefit of strengthening their 2020 target?

It has been nearly a year since the US House of Representatives passed its version of a climate-energy bill.  And since that time, ECO has eagerly searched for signs that the US administration is making progress in prioritizing climate change on the Senate's agenda. Some were even naive enough to believe that a bill would be done in time for Copenhagen last year.

But as we all know, it wasn't. The Senate had other fish to fry and could not be bothered with climate change legislation.  But now that seafood from the Gulf, which provides 30% of the national total, may be coming with more than enough oil to fry itself, will the picture change?

On one hand, the news is good: Americans are waking up to the costs of their dangerous addiction to dirty fuels and looking for a new way forward. The President is finally feeling the public pressure to pass a bill that will promote clean energy and reduce emissions.

But in other ways, the news does not look good.  Some is primarily domestic in scope.  The most recent version of the Senate bill allows revenue sharing of oil royalties with the states, which will increase pressure even more dangerous and expensive offshore drilling.  ECO guesses that potential compromise will be less popular now.

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