Our Planet is Worth Saving

The benefits of taking serious steps to solve global warming far outweigh the costs, says the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its World Energy Outlook 2009 Climate Change Excerpt report released yesterday.

A tool for the IEA’s regular projection of global energy use and global warming pollution, its report this time is particularly significant as the IEA has often been criticised for inflating costs and underestimating benefits. In this instance, the IEA used a measure of 450 ppm when the latest science shows the world needs to find a way to stay below 350 ppm to avoid even costlier effects of climate change. Hence, the IEA’s findings are actually quite “conservative” which make them even more compelling.

The IEA report provides the first analysis to account for the global impact of the financial crisis on energy emissions and the first time that they broke down their 450 ppm scenario on a country-by-country basis.

Looking at 2010 to 2030, the report found:

  • A total additional investment of $10,500 billion will be needed to bring global emissions slightly below current levels
  • Savings in energy costs will be $8,600 billion
  • Reduced costs of local air pollution will be $40 billion in 2020 and $100 billion in 2030
  • Every year of delay will increase the energy sector’s mitigation costs by $500 billion.

Measures that provide economic benefits in the medium term will already yield positive results for the climate. Yet, it has to be noted that for staying below 2oC with good certainty, actions greater that those estimated by the IEA are required. Even so, based on its analysis it is fair to say that costs will remain reasonable compared to the massive benefits of taking action.

Other findings of note state:

If we do not take action we are headed for a 6°C world (a 1,000 parts per million one)

We can get onto a path to solving global warming with the right investments. Clearly it requires a large investment and political focus to drive these results but it pays off. Energy efficiency is the dominant source of reduction (65% of the reduction in 2020), followed by renewables (17% of the reduction).

Oil imports are reduced. In the industrialised countries imports are reduced by 7 million barrels per day in 2030 below what they were in 2008; in China and India oil imports are lowered by 10%. These kinds of energy security benefits and consumer savings drive tremendous public support for climate action in many nations.

Big reductions in local air pollution as a result of taking action on global warming pollution. In 2030, sulphur dioxide emissions are 29% lower, nitrous oxide emissions are 19% lower and particulate matter is 9% lower. This saves $200 billion in 2030 for the cost of pollution control and lessens the impact of smog and other air pollutants that contribute to asthma, death and lost work days (just to name a few).

Hence, it is loud and clear that taking action on global warming at Copenhagen is a good investment for the world – the balance sheet is positive. The IEA’s new analysis adds to previous assessments which stated that addressing global warming saves countries money compared to continuing with the current business-as-usual pathway. And this does not include the costs of global warming impacts which will tip the balance sheet even further in favour of taking action.

The IEA’s report shows that addressing the climate challenge can reap financial benefits. As a clear and strong outcome in Copenhagen will unlock this potential, ECO calls on world leaders to focus on driving these solutions.

Bangkok, ECO 9 – text – table
Source: World Energy Outlook 2009 Climate Change Excerpt

Tick Those Kyoto Boxes

It is high time that certain rules and issues under the Kyoto Protocol get resolved if countries are to complete them by Copenhagen. Some of these have been discussed for two years or more and Bangkok needs to bring these to a close. After all, the more time spent talking about base year, for example, the less progress there is on discussing level of ambition.

ECO urges parties to tick these boxes in the three remaining days of Bangkok:

Aggregate target of at least -40% from 1990 by 2020
Developing countries are stepping up with their action and industrialised countries need to do the same. You made a pledge to limit warming to 2oC, remember?

Five-year commitment period
Shorter commitment periods mean matching targets to the latest science. Parties backing an eight-year commitment period will have to wait six years between the IPCC’s fifth assessment report and the start of commitment period three.

A mid-term review ending no later than 2015
To ensure that the best science is reflected as soon as possible, a review of commitments in the second commitment period would make sense, immediately following the IPCC’s report.

1990 base year
Come on Canada. Are you really going to hold up 191 countries on this issue just to try to “hide” your embarrassing emission increases since 1990?

Expressing quantified emission targets in percentages
Here again, Canada is holding up progress. Japan is the only other country to not know whether targets should be in percentage decreases or tonnage decreases. Japan’s government is barely a month old. What is Canada’s excuse?

As some Parties have commented, using existing Kyoto guidelines just make things easier. Resolving these here will make the road to Copenhagen not quite so steep.

Youth Sound the Alarm

Today the international youth delegation will sound the alarm to the world, declaring “no confidence” on the road to Copenhagen. A young person from every continent will join together to say they are not being dramatic. They will state what they see as obvious; what is likely to come out of Copenhagen will not secure their future.

But they have not given up hope. The youth believe that an acceptable outcome from Copenhagen is still possible. Specifically, they would like to remind delegates (once more) that to secure the survival of all nations and peoples, global warming must be kept below 1.5 degrees; this means stabilising CO2 in the atmosphere at 350 ppm.

But since none of the Parties here seem to want to step up and lead to this, it is time for someone else to show climate leadership.

Today, a new way will be proposed. The youth will lead. Please follow.

At a press conference at 1.30pm today, the youth will categorically remind leaders what an inadequate outcome in Copenhagen would mean to the nations of the world. It will then outline steps that must be taken to achieve a deal that puts everyone on the road to a secure future. They will show how youth all over the world are already taking action to achieve this future and are coming together to solve the climate crisis.

They will show what it means to lead!

Memo to Annex I Delegates

Your government signed up to the Bali Action Plan. By doing so, it agreed that developed countries would make commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the 25-40% range by 2020 (even though science showed the need for cuts to be above 40%). That should be your benchmark for ambition, not developing country actions. Your government also agreed that developing country actions were to be enabled and supported by finance provided by developed countries.

If your instructions here say something different, you are at the wrong negotiations. Please check that you have been given the right instructions and that you are indeed in the right building in the right city. The last time we checked, the World Trade Organisation was still headquartered in Geneva.

A Call for Climate Justice

Bangkok, ECO 9 -text-pic

On Monday, outside the conference centre under heavy rain and storms, about 3,000 climate fighters called for climate justice and urged those inside to finish the job to get a fair, ambitious and binding conclusion. Colourful banners, costumes and simple slogans dotted the scenes of the rally. A grand blue ball imprinted with carbon reductions and marked with huge footprints created waves and waves of applause urging delegates to “keep the ball rolling” inside the fence.

Download file: http://Eco9-1.pdf

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