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  UNFCCC - COP5 Negotiations    Thursday, 4 November
 
 
"EU research for climate policy - Where are we now?"

Dr. Phillippe Ciais, Professor at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environment, gave an in-depth overview of scientific research regarding the potential for carbon sinks in Europe. Possible sinks include the atmosphere, as is the primary concern at the Conference, however, it is believed that the oceans may be absorbing up to 40% of carbon emissions, that rivers can play a role in absorbing and exporting a portion of carbon emissions, and that sinks associated with forested areas differ in their rate of carbon absorption depending on the type of forest (re: boreal, temperate, tropical) and the type of natural resource management practised there (re: clear cutting, monocultures, natural, etc). These facts combined with current studies display great uncertainty in quantifying identified carbon sinks, their potentials for absorption, and hence add to the debate surrounding measurement of carbon emissions, the use of Kyoto mechanisms, and emissions trading.

Dr. Ciais then introduced a new effort to combine climate studies regionally, through an initiative called CARBOEUROPE. Carboeurope is to manifest as a cluster of regional projects with a purpose of synthesizing study in 5 key areas: the study of ecosystem processes, chrono-sequential fluxes, ecosystem fluxes, regional carbon balances and continental estimates. Taking an integrated approach, Carboeurope involves 10 EU countries co-operating with other developing countries and countries with economies in transition, 25 research laboratories, 2 private companies, and 80 scientists with the aim of studying macro-ecological carbon transport.

Another concerted effort to include science in the policy arena is ACACIA - A Concerted Action Towards a Comprehensive Climate Impacts and Adaptations Assessment for the European Union [http://www.uea.ac.uk/env/jei/acacia/]. ACACIA is an action funded by the European Commission's DGXII Environment and Climate Programme, to review current knowledge of the potential for climate change impacts in the EU, and to provide clear specifications for future in-depth assessments needed for policy development surrounding climate change.

This side event presentation of EU-backed collaborative efforts in climate change science signalled the EU's investment in the research and development of practical ways to move toward viable compliance mechanisms, laying the necessary groundwork for potential emissions trading in the future. The event was chaired by Julia M. Kundermann, Scientific Officer, Climate and Natural Hazards, European Commission.

Modeling International Negotiations: The Case of Global Climate Change

This side event was sponsored by The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) and the Center for International Climate and Energy Research (CICERO). Speakers presented a research project n modeling international negotiations and the case of global climate change. Arild Underdal, CICERO, presented an overview and the conceptual framework. Steinar Andresen, FNI, gave a presentation on "Indispensibility or Indefensibility? The United States and the Climate Treaty Negotiations." Andresen is pictured below with Lasse Ringius, CICERO, who discussed "The EU's Policy: What is Behind the Empty Rhetoric?" and Arild Moe (arild.moe@fni.no, image on the left), FNI, addressed "The Development of Russia's Positions: The Lack of Driving Forces (until now)." Moe noted that Russia has only recently become a major player in the emerging international climate regime and said the reasons for the change is the introduction of the flexibility mechanisms, particularly joint implementation and emissions trading. He said that given the Russian economy's combination of extreme energy inefficiency and dramatic fall in economic activity, Russia has much to gain from the implementation of these mechanisms.
For more information, contact FNI at sentralbord@fni.no or visit http://www.fni.no/; CICERO can be reached at admin@cicero.uio.no or http://www.cicero.uio.no.

Interview with Dr. Hermann Ott

 

Dr.Hermann Ott, Wuppertal Institute, co-author of The Kyoto Protocol: International Climate Policy for the 21st Century (1999) and a proposal for a European Leadership initiative, talks to Peter Doran about the outcomes from COP-5, responses to the proposal and strategic developments among the climate change NGO community

Climate Action Network press conference

The Climate Action Network convened a press conference in order to provide an assessment of the Conference, identify what governments need to do domestically, and highlight looming dangers for the Kyoto Protocol. Lars Georg Jensen, WWF, said the Kyoto Protocol process was suffering from "political schizophrenia." Jenson said that Ministers need to give their officials more guidance to cure the schizophrenia, f not, the Protocol could become a "licence for industrialized nations to increase not reduce their CO² emissions". Parties must also "ensure that non-sustainable energy technologies like nuclear power aren't foisted on developing countries under the guise of climate protection." The NGO representatives lamented the lack of progress made on technology transfer and capacity building and the postponement of discussions on caps. They said CDM discussions had left developing countries "out of the loop." From left to right: Athena Ronquillo, Greenpeace, Lars Georg Jensen, WWF, and Katherine Sliverthorne, CAN

EU press conference

  

Satu Hassi, Minister of the Environment and Development Cooperation, Finland, on behalf of the EU, said the Union's Ministers were satisfied with the outcome of the Conference. She said the most important decision taken was that which empowered the COP-5 President to take all necessary steps to intensify the negotiating process.

German press conference

  

Jürgen Trittin (center), German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, held a press conference in order to brief reporters on the outcomes of COP-5. He reaffirmed Germany's commitment to reduce CO² emissions by 25% by 2005. When questioned about the debate over the role of nuclear energy in mitigating CO² emissions, Trittin reiterated that the use of nuclear energy would not lead to sustainable development.

Stabilization of CO² in the atmosphere

  

Geoff Jenkins, Head, Climate Prediction Programme, Hadley Centre, UK, for Climate Prediction and Research, discusses stabilization of CO� in the atmosphere and the impact of climate change on society. For more information contact Geoff Jenkins at gjjenkins@meto.gov.uk

Interview with Zammit Cutujar

 

Michael Zammit Cutajar, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, speaking with ENB writers Juliette Voinov (left) and Paola Bettelli (right) about the outcomes of COP-5.

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