1.1. U.N. climate deal retreats as Bonn talks end
6 August 2010, Reuters
U.N. climate talks have moved backward rather than forward toward a hoped-for deal later this year as nations make slow progress on pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions and add more proposals to the working document.
As talks in Bonn on a new climate treaty draw to an end on Friday, the frustration of delegates with the process this week is clearly felt, and a deal in Mexico this year seems unlikely.
This week’s meeting is the penultimate before a meeting set for the end of November in Cancun, Mexico.
"I came to Bonn hopeful of a deal in Cancun, but at this point I am very concerned as I have seen some countries walking back from progress made in Copenhagen," said Jonathan Pershing, the U.S. deputy special climate envoy.
A new climate text under discussion has increased to 34 pages from 17 as new proposals are added or old ones reinserted.
It is a blueprint to guide negotiators in overcoming rifts between rich and poor nations when they meet again at the next session in October in Tianjin, China.
The European Union’s co-lead negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger accused some countries of adding text in a "tit for tat" way.
"It is important in Tianjin to turn that spirit around."
U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said this was the last chance for countries to add to the text.
"If you see the bigger picture, we have progress here in Bonn. It is hard to cook a meal without a pot and governments are much closer to actually making the pot," she said.
The pace of negotiations has slowed as some countries have gone back on issues agreed last year in Copenhagen such as monitoring and measuring greenhouse gas emissions and ways of cutting emissions from rich nations and developing countries.
"The mitigation discussion even went backwards and became more polarized," said Gordon Shepherd at campaign group WWF.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) was also reopened over the definition of what it covered.
The Alliance of Small Island States complained rich nations’ emissions cut pledges fell short of what was needed.
"We cannot anticipate any major shift from what we had in Copenhagen, which was a 12 to 18 percent reduction when the IPCC called for 25 percent. We are far from that in the aggregate figures," said the group’s chair Dessima Williams.
The U.S. said the talks focused too much on putting the onus on only rich nations to deliver cuts, rather than all countries.
Climate finance is also an area of disagreement. The Copenhagen Accord last December set a long-term goal of raising $100 billion a year by 2020 to avert the effects of climate change and a short-term goal of $10 billion a year by 2012.
Pershing said some countries were seeking "staggering sums out of line with reality."
Another setback to the talks arose from the lack of legislation to curb emissions in the United States. The U.S. Senate dropped efforts to put emissions curbs in an energy bill that is now focused narrowly on reforming offshore drilling, but the country has said it will stick by its 2020 target for reducing emissions.
"It has been taken as a signal by some that the process should be slowed or we should wait for the U.S.," Williams said.
1.2. Governments must ramp up climate change talks ahead of Cancun meet – WWF
6 August 2010, WWF
WWF says governments who participated in the third Bonn climate change talks this week now must ramp up their negotiations, or they will waste a crucial opportunity to move forward in Cancun later this year.
"Governments can and must make progress on areas such as adaptation, finance and ending deforestation at COP 16 in Cancun," said Gordon Shepherd, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative. "But they will have to increase their efforts now and start seeking areas of convergence in a much more serious way." Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) is an example where agreements already achieved in Copenhagen have been opened up again on such basic issues as the definition of what it covers.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) inter-sessional in Tianjin, China later this year is the last opportunity for these governments to resolve any outstanding issues in time to agree to a good package to address climate change in Cancun at COP16. Such a package would be a major stepping stone to a legal-framework to be adopted at COP17 next year.
"It was worrying to see that the discussions in Bonn that moved behind closed doors did not progress issues adequately. The mitigation discussion even went backwards and became more polarized,” Shepherd said. “We cannot afford these snail-paced negotiations and they must speed up, or we’ll lose all momentum in this process.”
"Parties also need to make progress in other areas such as the sources for climate finance and not just wait for the UN Advisory Group on Finance (AGF)," said Shepherd.
It is important for governments to move away from the "all-or-nothing"-approach at the UNFCCC, and seek breakthroughs for a balanced Cancun package in areas such as forest protection, adaptation to inevitable threats from climate change, and the beginning of real flows of finance for climate action, WWF says.
2.1. No emissions cuts for Europe at climate talks
6 August 2010, FOEE
International climate negotiations ended today with Friends of the Earth Europe criticising Europe and other rich industrialised countries for trying to avoid making any emission reductions.
Research released during the latest talks in Bonn, Germany shows how a number of serious loopholes in the Kyoto Protocol seriously threaten efforts to tackle global warming. The loopholes could be used by the European Union, and other countries with historical responsibility for climate change, to maintain current emissions levels. Together they more than outweigh the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions pledged in Copenhagen last year.
David Heller, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe , said: “It’s outrageous that loopholes in the targets mean Europe won’t even fulfil the commitment it has made to an inadequate 20% reduction in emissions by 2020. The massive amount of offsetting allowed in the agreement cancels out all meaningful reductions. Developed countries must stop hiding behind technicalities in the negotiations and close these loopholes. Europe must commit to 40% emissions cuts by 2020 without offsetting.”
For the EU, the biggest risk is access to international offsetting where developed countries buy carbon credits from developing countries to avoid cutting emissions themselves. Offsetting could account for up to half of the target for the industry and power sector covered by Europe’s emissions trading scheme. It could be as much as two thirds of emissions reductions for other sectors.
2.2. Spurned Chinese developers blast U.N. CO2 rulings
6 August 2010, Reuters
Developers behind the 19 Chinese wind and hydropower projects rejected by a U.N.-backed clean energy investment panel have accused the board in charge of making arbitrary and non-transparent rule changes.
Most said they had no choice but to reapply to try to earn internationally tradeable carbon offsets they said were needed to make their projects viable.
At its meeting in Bonn, Germany, at the end of July, the Executive Board running the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) examined the documentation of 19 Chinese CDM applicants.
The panel said none of them managed to pass muster, even after revisions.
A manager at one of the rejected projects, the Mudanjiang Xiaoguokui wind power plant in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, accused the executive board of moving the goalposts.
"The EB has changed the rules and we didn’t know about that when the projects were first proposed," he said.
The CDM encourages investors from industrialized countries to fund clean-energy projects in the developing world by offering carbon credits known as certified emission reductions (CERs). The CERs can then be traded or used to comply with binding Kyoto Protocol emissions targets in rich nations.
China has generated more than half of the CERs so far in the scheme, but it has been widely criticized for exploiting the mechanism and flooding the market with cheap and dubious credits from projects that do little to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Chinese applicants have also been accused of deliberately under-reporting tariffs paid for renewable power in order to pass the CDM’s tough "additionality" test, designed to ensure that projects would only be viable if they receive CERs.
The board, which has been under pressure to get tough on "sub-prime carbon," stripped 10 Chinese wind farms of CDM financing at the end of last year, prompting angry reactions from Chinese officials.
Lian Xingtan, chairman of the Shuanghekou hydropower project in Chongqing in southwest China, said the EB’s standards were unrealistic.
"Their standards are totally divorced from reality. We started our application in 2006 and they use 2006 rates of investment and 2009 power tariffs to make their calculations."
One developer blamed the auditing company responsible for drawing up and submitting the project documentation. U.N.-approved auditors are known in U.N. jargon as "designated operational entities" or DOEs.
But Lucy Deng, technical manager in charge of CDM accreditation with auditors Det Norske Veritas in Beijing, the DOE behind one of the rejected projects, said many of the problems were a matter of bad timing.
"The EB issued an ‘information note’ saying that if the tariffs for wind and hydro projects in certain provinces exceeded its new benchmark they would be rejected," she said.
"We actually canceled a number of projects when we knew of the decision, but the rejected ones were submitted before the information note was issued."
Despite tougher CDM rules, project managers insisted their projects would not be viable without CDM accreditation.
"Since the project was rejected, our expected return on investment will be cut massively," said Wang Chaofeng, manager of the Nanlinghe hydropower plant in the southwest province of Yunnan. Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6751BC20100806?type=GCA-GreenBusiness
2.3. Japan to subsidize CO2-cut studies: report
8 August 2010, Reuters
Japan has selected 15 groups of companies to conduct feasibility studies for emission-cutting projects in nine developing countries to promote clean-energy technologies, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
Since U.N. climate talks have stalled, Japan is hoping that contributions to cut greenhouse gas emissions abroad will produce carbon credits to offset emissions at home over the next decade as an alternative to the U.N.’s existing complex carbon market.
If the proposed 15 projects all proceed, they would reduce an estimated total of 5 to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun daily said.
That would amount to less than 1 percent of Japan’s annual greenhouse gas emissions currently. But the daily said these CO2 cuts enabled by Japanese technologies, subject to bilateral negotiations, could allow for offsetting emissions by Japanese industry.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has said it will announce on Tuesday which companies are to conduct the studies and benefit from 500 million yen ($5.85 million) in government subsidies.
The daily said the 15 projects included forest preservation, geothermal power, energy-saving technologies in homes and in industry.
The companies included Tokyo Electric Power Co, Tohoku Electric Power Co, Electric Power Development Co, Mitsubishi Corp, Marubeni Corp, Nippon Steel Corp, Taiheiyo Cement Corp, Toshiba Corp and Nomura Research Institute Ltd.
Nine countries are targeted, four of which have reached basic agreement with Japan on offset schemes — India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Negotiations are to proceed with China, Peru, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, the daily said.
Japan, the world’s fifth-largest emitter, has pledged to cut its emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, a target too tough to meet with local efforts only.
Japan is already a major buyer of carbon offsets from U.N.-approved clean-energy projects abroad and those via bilateral agreements with East European countries.
3.1. Comparison tool: EU 2050 energy roadmaps
6 August 2010, Greenpeace
Does the Energy [R]evolution path to a 100% renewable energy future measure up to other EU energy roadmaps? This interactive tool allows you to compare the Energy [R]evolution report 2010 and other recently published EU energy roadmaps.
The comparison includes the following studies:
• International Energy Agency (IEA): World Energy Outlook 2009, 2009: 450ppm scenario
• Greenpeace/European Renewable Energy Council (EREC): Energy [R]evolution for the EU 27, 2010: Energy [R]evolution scenario (E[R])
• Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE)/SEI: Europe’s Share of the Climate Challenge, 2009: 100% renewable energy (RES) scenario
• European Climate Foundation (ECF)/McKinsey: 2050 Roadmap, 2010: 80% renewable energy scenario
• Eurelectric (Eur): Power Choices, 2010: Power Choices scenario
More at: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/policy-papers-briefings/energy-roadmap-comparison-tool-v2007-29-07-10
4.1. United Nations Climate Change Conference – October 2010
4-9 October 2010
The fourteenth session of the AWG-KP and the twelfth session of the AWG-LCA will take place from Monday, 4 to Saturday, 9 October 2010 at the Tianjin Meijiang Convention and Exhibition Center (MJCEC), Tianjin, China. The above-mentioned sessions will be preceded by preparatory meetings of the Group of 77 and China, the African Group, the small islands developing States and the least developed countries from Tuesday, 28 September to Sunday, 3 October 2010.
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected].