The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) presents
22 October – 16 November 2002
Compiled by Richard Sherman
Edited by Kimo Goree
International Institute for Sustainable Development
Editor's note: Welcome to the fifth issue of Climate-L News, compiled by Richard Sherman. If you should come across a news article or have a submission for the next issue, please send it directly to Richard. CLIMATE-L News is an exclusive publication of IISD for the CLIMATE-L list and should not be reposted or republished to other lists/websites without the permission of IISD (you can write Kimo for permission.) If you have been forwarded this issue and would like to subscribe to CLIMATE-L, please visit http://iisd.ca/scripts/lyris.pl?join=climate-l.
Funding for the production of CLIMATE-L (part of the IISD Reporting Services annual program) has been provided by The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General Support for the Bulletin during 2002 is provided by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, Swan International, and the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES). If you like CLIMATE-L News, please thank them for their support.
1) KEY TO GLOBAL WARMING PREDICTION WITHIN REACH, Scienceblog, November 16, 2002
2) U.S. STATES COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE ON THEIR OWN ENS, November 15, 2002
3) NEW ZEALAND TO RATIFY KYOTO PROTOCOL BY CHRISTMAS, Planet Ark, November 15, 2002
4) JAPAN INDUSTRY MINISTER PROPOSES COAL TAX, Reuters, November 15, 2002
5) EUROPE WIND ENERGY SECTOR GROWS 40 PCT YR/YR-STUDY, Planet Ark, November 15, 2002
6) PAYING THE PRICE TO KEEP COOL, New Zealand Herald, November 15, 2002
7) RESEARCHER: PREPARE FOR GLOBAL WARMING, CNN, November 15, 2002
8) CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSE BILL 2002, New Zealand Herald, November 15, 2002
9) ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS FAIL TO SWAY GOVT ON KYOTO, ABC, November 14, 2002
10) TOKYO TO MAKE CO2 CUTS MANDATORY FOR MAJOR FIRMS, The Asahi Shimbun, November 14, 2002
11) AMA URGES GOVT TO RATIFY KYOTO PROTOCOL, Abc, November 14, 2002
12) $100 M BIOCARBON FUND AIMS TO LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING, ENS, November 13, 2002
13) ANDERSON SPEAKS ON KYOTO IN EDMONTON, Calgary Cbc, November 13, 2002
14) CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN FARMING COULD OFFSET CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS, VOA, November 13, 2002
15) FOES OF KYOTO PROTOCOL AIM TO STIR UP DOUBTS, The Globe and Mail, November 13, 2002
16) GOVERNMENT OUTLINES PLAN FOR RESEARCH ON WARMING, New York Times, November 13, 2002
17) INVESTORS GO GREEN WITH TRADEABLE CARBON RIGHTS, Business Times, November 12, 2002
18) KOREA SENDS RATIFICATION OF THE KYOTO PACT TO UN, JoongAng Ilbo, November 12, 2002
19) WORLD BANK EXEC TO CORPORATIONS: TAKE NOTICE: The Japan Times, November 9, 2002
20) CAN CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECTS DETER CLEAN TECHNOLOGY? Edie, November 8, 2002
21) INDONESIAN WILDFIRES ACCELERATED GLOBAL WARMING, ENS, November 8, 2002
22) COMMISSION WELCOMES OUTCOME OF CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE (COP 8) Europaworld, November 8, 2002
23) EAST EUROPE'S CHANGE OF CLIMATE, UPI, November 7, 2002
24) BP BUYS EASTERN CREEK CREDITS, Sydney Morning Herald,November 6 2002
25) PEOPLE AND CLIMATE CHANGE PLACE HEX ON AUSTRALIA, New Zealand Herald, November 6, 2002
26) CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIATS TO COME UP IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, Z News, November 6, 2002
27) MOOSA WELCOMES OUTCOMES OF CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE, South African Press Association, November 3, 2002
28) RICH GAVE IN AT CLIMATE TALKS TO PROTECT KYOTO PACT, Forbes, November 2, 2002
29) UK UNIMPRESSED WITH CLIMATE CHANGE MEET, The Hindu, November 2, 2002
30) DELHI CLIMATE DECLARATION ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY, Rediff, November 2, 2002
31) BRUNEI CONSIDERS KYOTO PROTOCOL, ternet: and Mailww.iht.com/articles/75755.htmlBrudirect.com, November 2, 2002
32) SCIENTISTS SAY A QUEST FOR CLEAN ENERGY MUST BEGIN NOW, New York Times, November 1, 2002
33) GOLD STANDARDS FOR KYOTO PROJECTS, Edie, November 1, 2002
34) KYOTO PACT BACK ON AGENDA, IPS, November 1, 2002
35) POOR COUNTRIES WON'T FACE TOUGH KYOTO TARGETS, CTV, November 1, 2002
36) DISSENT CLOUDS DELHI CLIMATE DECLARATION, ENS, November 1, 2002
37) UN-BACKED CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING URGES ACTION TO LIMIT GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, United Nations, November 1, 2002
38) MINISTERS CALL FOR EFFECTIVE ACTION IN LIMITING EMISSIONS AND REDUCING VULNERABILITY TO CLIMATE CHANGE, UNFCCC, November 1, 2002
39) ALTERNATIVE ENERGY NEEDED TO CURB GLOBAL WARMING: SCIENTISTS, Xinhua News, November 1, 2002
40) DELHI CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS LACK URGENCY, WWF, November 1, 2002
41) COP 8: THE CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS ENDED WITH A DISAPPOINTING RESULT, Danish Presidency of the EU, November 1, 2002
42) KYOTO PLUS WILL FAIL TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE, Edie, November 1, 2002
43) CLIMATE DEAL DEADLOCK IN DELHI, BBC, November 1, 2002
44) INDIA REFUSES TO COMMIT TO CLIMATE CLEAN-UP, Business Standard, October 31, 2002
45) KYOTO ENERGY CREDITS CRUCIAL, ANDERSON SAYS, The Star, October 31, 2002
46) RUSSIA SEEKS COMMITMENTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE, The Hindu, October 31, 2002
47) ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS REDRAW CLIMATE CHANGE DECLARATION, EU Business, October 31, 2002
48) GLOBAL EFFORTS TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE SHIFTING INTO ACTION, ANNAN SAYS, United Nations, October 30, 2002
49) 2002: NATURAL DISASTERS SET TO COST OVER $70 BILLION, United Nations Environment Programme, October 29, 2002
50) PM WANTS TO RATIFY KYOTO BY END-DECEMBER, Reuters, October 29, 2002
51) 'INCLUDE KYOTO PROTOCOL IN DELHI DECLARATION', Outlook India, October 29, 2002
52) STOP GLOBAL WARMING OR NY SUBMERGES - GREENPEACE, Planet Ark, October 28, 2002
53) MALTA'S CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECT, Times of Malta, October 27, 2002
54) RUSSIA SAYS WOULD DECIDE ON KYOTO PROTOCOL WITHIN A YEAR,Outlook India, October 26, 2002
55) US REJECTS POSSIBILITY OF SIGNING KYOTO PROTOCOL, Sydney Morning Herald, October 25, 2002
56) KEMP URGES GREENHOUSE CUTS, News.Com.Au, October 25, 2002
57) GOVERNMENTS PREPARE FOR KYOTO PROTOCOL STARTING GUN, Europaworld, October 25, 2002
58) UN: WORLD MAY FAIL TO MEET GREENHOUSE-GAS TARGETS, Reuters, October 24, 2002
59) UK CLIMATE CHANGE LEVY STILL THREATENS ALUMINIUM, Planet Ark, October 24, 2002
60) US REFUSES TO BUDGE ON KYOTO PROTOCOL, UPI, October 24, 2002
61) BEYOND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: CLIMATE TALKS OPEN IN INDIA, ENS, October 23, 2002
62) DEVELOPING NATIONS URGE RATIFICATION OF KYOTO PROTOCOL AT INDIA CONFERENCE VOA, October 23, 2002
63) IMPLEMENT KYOTO PROTOCOL BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE IOL October 23 2002
64) INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES MUST SET A GOOD EXAMPLE AT COP8, The Mainichi Shimbun, October 22, 2002
65) THE ADAPTATION COP by Dr Saleemul Huq, Daily Star, November 15, 2002
66) LABOUR IS PRO-KYOTO, IF ONLY . by Hassan Yussuff, The Globe and Mail, November 12, 2002
67) PUTTING A PRICE ON THE FOREST, Latin America press.org, November 10, 2002
68) WHAT WAS NEW IN DELHI by Duane D. Freese, Techcentralstation, November 6, 2002
69) A NEW TACK ON WARMING by Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times, November 4, 2002
70) COPS HAVE SET IN MOTION ACTION AT NATIONAL LEVEL, Financial Express, November 1, 2002
71) MESSAGE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL TO THE EIGHTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, DELIVERED BY MR. NITIN DESAI, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS, United Nations, October 30, 2002
72) KYOTO IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS by Margaret Beckett, Hindustan Times, October 28, 2002
73) A QUESTION OF ANSWER: 'NEED TO LOOK BEYOND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL', Gulf News, October 28, 2002
1) KEY TO GLOBAL WARMING PREDICTION WITHIN REACH Scienceblog November 16, 2002
The search for a Holy Grail of climate science may be nearing an end, if an MIT-led project is launched by NASA to measure soil moisture-data needed to predict global change, assess global warming and support the Kyoto Protocol. That measurement has been missing from the array of clues-rainfall, atmospheric chemistry, humidity and temperature-used by scientists to predict change in the local and global climate. Using soil moisture, they can calculate evaporation-the process that links the water, energy and carbon cycles-giving them a better understanding of global change.
"Soil moisture has been one of the Holy Grails. The community of Earth-system scientists has been trying to measure it for a long, long time, but couldn't because it's so expensive," said Dara Entekhabi, a hydrologist and professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT. "We have a measurement for rainfall, atmospheric chemistry, humidity and temperature, but surface soil moisture has been missing." The Hydrosphere State mission (Hydros), selected by NASA from 18 competitors, would be launched upon mission approval by NASA in 2007. Hydros would measure soil moisture globally from a satellite in near-Earth orbit. The satellite will be equipped with a reflector antenna (the same type used to send cell phone signals), weighing less than 40 pounds and measuring six meters in diameter. The antenna will rotate at 15rpm to scan the Earth, measuring how much water is contained in the soil on which we walk, farm and build our houses.
The project will cost $218 million to design, build and launch by a team of scientists from MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Center for Space Research, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center, the Canadian and Italian space agencies, and the University of Montana. The Department of Defense, which could use soil moisture data to determine if terrain is passable and to make weather predictions, is a funding partner as well. Entakhabi is principal investigator on the project.
NOT JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET
Soil moisture gives important clues to weather, because it affects climate in a big way. If pushed just a little one way or the other, it can have a profound effect. Take the drought in the Midwest in 1988. That started with a small area over the Midwest: the soil became dry and there was less evaporation, which meant less precipitation. Soon, crops and cattle were dying as the drought spread. The opposite happened in 1993, when the Mississippi River flooded for weeks on end. "Soil moisture tells us the state of the surface land. In the same way that temperature tells the state of the surface oceans, soil moisture controls the rate of the water cycle, which affects weather and climate and how much evaporation takes place," said Entekhabi.
In addition to measuring soil moisture, Hydros would also tell scientists whether the surface soil moisture is frozen or not. In forests this can help scientists determine the length of the growing season, telling them whether a forest is a net source or net sink of carbon. During the growing season, carbon is sequestered in forests through the process of photosynthesis, when plants use carbon dioxide, sunlight and water to create biomass. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 called for each participating country to have a quota for carbon emission, a system that presumes all atmospheric carbon has been accounted for. If industry is a carbon source, a forest could be a carbon sink, offsetting the carbon released by industry. Without proper measurements, the Kyoto agreement won't be able to balance the books.
"It's like having a bank account and not knowing whether someone is depositing into it or withdrawing from it. You can't balance your bank statement," said Entekhabi. "We need this if we're going to stabilize the amount of carbon in the atmosphere." Hydros is part of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) program, characterized by medium-sized missions capable of being built, tested and launched in short time intervals. Hydros is one of three ESSP finalists, at least two of which are expected to be approved for flight next year. The others propose to measure the salinity of the ocean and create an atmospheric carbon dioxide profile. MIT scientists have been developing the algorithms required for the operation over the past 10 years. Two years ago, when Entekhabi heard about NASA's ESSP, he organized the group of about 30 collaborators to run Hydros through the program. The data will be processed at MIT, the University of Montana, Goddard and the Canadian Space Agency. Components of the satellite will be provided by industrial firms, such as Spectra-Astro; the satellite will be launched on a NASA-owned Taurus rocket.
2) U.S. STATES COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE ON THEIR OWN
November 15, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC, November 15, 2002 (ENS) - With the U.S. federal government dragging its feet on addressing the Earth's warming climate, some states are not waiting for the feds to tell them what to do. State action on the issue has been intensifying in the past few years, according to a new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change released Thursday. The report, "Greenhouse & Statehouse: The Evolving State Government Role in Climate Change," examines case studies of nine states that have taken efforts to mitigate climate change. The case studies examined in the report are Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.
Still, the positive momentum of these states should not overshadow the federal government's failure to take the lead on the issue, says Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
"State initiatives are getting us started on the path of reducing greenhouse gases," Claussen said, "but state action is not a substitute for a comprehensive national strategy." There is little sign of a national strategy, Claussen added, despite the latest proposal by the Bush administration to further studying the effects and causes of global warming. The administration's draft plan, released on Monday and available online at: www.climatescience.org, is a broad outline for new research aimed at clarifying the human role in global warming. It calls for exploration of temperature trends in the upper and lower atmosphere as well as improvements in monitoring systems that track global warming and in computer models that simulate climate change.
Many environmentalists blamed the Bush administration for undermining progress at last month's United Nations conference on climate change and see this proposal as more of the same. There are lots of uncertainties with global warming, Claussen said, "but it is very important to balance that with the certainties." "The administration is clearly focused on the uncertainties," she said. The continued reluctance of the U.S. federal government to tackle the issue tends to dominate the debate, said the report's author Barry Rabe, and the role of states is often overlooked. State activities should not be ignored, he said, as individual U.S. states are contributing more to climate change than many countries. Texas, for example, annually emits more greenhouse gases than France. Wisconsin tops Uzbekistan in its annual emissions. "There are obviously limitations to what can be done at the state level, but there are some very interesting possibilities," said Rabe, an environmental policy professor at the University of Michigan. "All of this could provide potential models for future action at the federal level." Rabe found that states have a variety of interests in addressing climate change, including the potential for rising sea levels, the effect of changing climate patterns on agriculture and the need for stable, renewable energy supplies.
Linking climate change policies, either explicitly or incidentally, to economic development strategies is a common feature across the states. In Texas, for example, climate change policy has emerged from the state's promotion and development of renewable energy sources, primarily wind power. The development of renewable energy was not driven by a specific policy aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, rather it was part of a larger energy restructuring bill that included renewable portfolio standards (RPS). These standards require that 2.2 percent of the state's electricity portfolio must come from renewable energy sources by 2009.
The program has been so successful, Rabe said, that the state "is thinking it didn't set the bar high enough." Some 16 states now have enacted legislation similar to the Texas model. In Wisconsin, mandatory reporting for large carbon dioxide generators, which began in 1993, has given the state and reporting firms a clear measure of their emissions. Wisconsin is the only state with this requirement. It has provided a basis for the state to develop a registry, Rabe said, that will allow any firm in the state to report reductions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, with the prospect of future credit for action.
New Jersey offers a look at a comprehensive, multi-sector strategy largely driven by fear of how sea level rise might affect this low-lying state on the Atlantic Ocean. New Jersey's long-standing concern about climate change took new shape in 1998 when Robert Shinn, then Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, issued Administrative Order 1998-09 that established a goal of reducing the state's total greenhouse gas releases to 3.5 percent below 1990 levels by 2005, the Pew report explains.
This order was supported by then Governor Christine Todd Whitman, who is the current federal EPA administrator, and endorsed by what Rabe calls "an unusual coalition of industry representatives and environmental groups."
To combat climate change, New Jersey officials have pursued a variety of initiatives, including the creation of covenants. Under these agreements, organizations sign a pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the state goal. Although voluntary, several private companies as well as all of New Jersey's 56 colleges and universities have signed on to the covenant. Yet there are clear limitations facing state policies, Rabe said. Funding is a primary barrier facing state led efforts, and increasing budgetary pressures could imperil future climate change policies. U.S. state governments are mandated by law to balance their budgets, and many used an array of last gasp measures to bridge revenue shortfalls last year. Fragmentation is another fundamental concern for policies originating at the state level, Rabe said. There is the potential that a "patchwork quilt" of state regulations and policies could increase compliance costs and create reporting and monitoring difficulties.
Some states remain hostile to policies on climate change. In 1999, 16 states passed legislation or resolutions highly critical of the Kyoto Protocol and opposing its ratification. The increase in state activity detailed in the report does, however, reflect a positive shift in the American public's view of climate change.
A common feature among the nine states studied in the report, Rabe said, is a "remarkable amount of bipartisan support" for the policies. "This is not an issue dominated by one party at the state level," he said.
This shift, Claussen explained, is the result of greater public support, increased confidence in the science behind global warming and a growing belief by the business sector that this issue cannot be ignored.
"It is now okay to talk about climate change," she said. In a related, but separate effort, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the National Association of State Energy Officials have collaborated on an online database of state led energy programs that deliver emissions reductions.
It can be found at: http://www.pewclimate.org/states/index.cfm
"Greenhouse & Statehouse: The Evolving State Government Role in Climate Change," is online at: http://www.pewclimate.org/projects/states_greenhouse.cfm
3) NEW ZEALAND TO RATIFY KYOTO PROTOCOL BY CHRISTMAS
November 15, 2002
WELLINGTON - New Zealand said yesterday it would ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by Christmas now that the government had received final legal authority. The protocol's ratification was a campaign promise of the minority, centre-left, Labour-led coalition government in the mid-year general election but it needed the support of the Green Party to ensure final passage. "The government will ratify the Protocol soon...In doing so we will join the majority of developed nations, including many of our trading partners," Energy Minister Pete Hodgson said. A spokesman for Hodgson said the ratification would take place "certainly before Christmas".
The 1997 Kyoto pact aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the developed world, which account for the overwhelming bulk of the gases, by 2012 to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels. New Zealand opposition political parties and some business groups have opposed ratification while major trading partners, including the United States and Australia, remain outside the agreement. So far, 98 nations have ratified the controversial protocol, which needs at least 55 states contributing at least 55 percent of the industrialised world's 1990 greenhouse gas emissions to come into force. The United States, the world's biggest polluter has refused to ratify the protocol because of fears it will damage its economy, but the agreement is expected to come into force next year when the Russian Federation ratifies it.
New Zealand produces between 70 million to 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. About half of its greenhouse gases come from the methane and carbon dioxide emissions of more than 50 million sheep and cattle, whose products earn around one-third of New Zealand's export earnings. The government announced plans last month for a carbon tax to be levied sometime after 2007, which will raise energy prices between six and 19 percent. However, New Zealand expects to earn as much as NZ$1.4 billion ($696 million) from carbon sink credits generated by its vast commercial forest plantations.
4) JAPAN INDUSTRY MINISTER PROPOSES COAL TAX
November 15, 2002
TOKYO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Japan's trade and industry minister, Takeo Hiranuma, proposed on Friday introducing a tax on coal in part to fund environmental policies to reduce gases that cause global warming.
The proposal, submitted to a panel of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's top economic advisers, said fuel taxes should be reviewed to seek a fair burden among different types of energy sources. Hiranuma's report, co-authored by Environment Minister Shunichi Suzuki, did not mention any specific tax rates. But the daily Mainichi Shimbun said on Thursday that the ministry was considering a tax of about 700 yen ($5.81) per tonne, totalling about 80 billion yen a year. Unlike oil and natural gas, there are no taxes on coal in Japan.
A half of the revenue would go into the Environment Agency's projects to reduce greenhouse gases, the newspaper said. A separate report by Suzuki said the proposed revision of the fuel taxes, including the introduction of the coal tax, was the first phase of a three-step approach to achieving Japan's target under the Kyoto Protocol of reducing greenhouse gas emission by six percent from 1990 levels. The first phase is due to be completed by the end of 2004, while the second phase, which includes the implementation of a more comprehensive environmental taxation system, is planned for 2005-2007. ($1=120.43 Yen)
5) EUROPE WIND ENERGY SECTOR GROWS 40 PCT YR/YR-STUDY
November 15, 2002
LONDON - Europe's wind energy industry grew by 40 percent over the last year mainly as a result of new wind farms in Germany and Spain, a European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) study showed. Installed capacity rose 40 percent to 20,447 megawatts (MW) from 14,652 MW between October 2001 and October 2002 in the 21 countries included in the study, Brussels-based EWEA said in a statement. It said Europe accounted for 74 percent of world growth in the first nine months of 2002 and that capacity on the energy-hungry continent could rise to 100,000 MW by 2010. "This European success story for wind energy is just the beginning. The value of the market could rise to 58 billion euros from 20 billion if the appropriate policies are put in place," EWEA Chief Executive Corin Millais told Reuters.
Germany was the leading country with 10,650 MW of installed wind capacity by October 2002, or half of Europe's wind energy, and Spain was number two with 4,079 MW, according to the study. The study also showed the value of the global wind industry could rise to 130 billion euros by 2010 from a current level of 25 billion euros, corresponding to nearly tenfold rise in capacity to 230,000 MW from a current level of 27,000 MW. The European sector is set to benefit from a European Union target to take 22 percent of its electricity from renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biomass power. The target is part of a move to meet a United Nations agreement, the Kyoto protocol, to reduce the amount of polluting greenhouse gases emitted by developed countries by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Greenhouse gases are produced by burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and are widely blamed for contributing to global warming
6) PAYING THE PRICE TO KEEP COOL
New Zealand Herald
November 15, 2002Internet: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?reportID=57030&storyID=3004462
New Zealand is on track to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to curb emissions of the "greenhouse" gases blamed for global warming, by the end of the year. On Wednesday night, Parliament passed the Climate Change Response Bill, the legal framework for ratification of the protocol. So New Zealand is headed for a future in which the right to emit greenhouse gases is no longer free. The Government justifies this on the grounds that global warming is a threat to the mild and equable climate on which the economy depends. The problem is the apparent acceleration in the pace of warming. Eighteen of the 20 warmest years of the 20th century occurred after 1980. Climate scientists say this is linked to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases work like the glazing that traps the sun's warmth within a glasshouse.
The most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, produced by burning billions of tonnes of fossil fuels each year. To figure out what will happen if we carry on like this, the United Nations set up the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, to distil some sort of scientific consensus that Governments can rely on when making policy. A lot of uncertainty surrounds projections about the extent and impacts of global warming. But the UN panel's bottom-line conclusion is that the planet will warm by between 1.4C and 5.8C this century. Not all climate scientists agree, though the sceptics are in the minority. If it is at the low end of that range, it will be more than twice as much warming as occurred in the 20th century.
If it is at the high end, it will be as much warming as has occurred since the last ice age. Climate Change Minister Pete Hodgson says that in New Zealand's case, climate change would not be all bad news.
Positive effects would be extended growing seasons and ranges for some plants and improved growth rates.
"The negatives are increasing temperatures to the point where there would be increased droughts on the east coast, increased rainfall on the west coast, increased storm events and increased biosecurity risks [of incursions of pests and diseases]," he says.
Over time, the effect would become more and more negative. Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, a lot of work has been done on harnessing renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind and wave power and bio-fuels. But adoption of these technologies has been limited. One reason they are not competitive is that the reigning technologies, such as internal combustion engines and steam turbines, benefit from the fact that their environmental costs are not sheeted home to their users. Greenhouse gas emissions from their use are diffused over the whole planet and accumulate in the atmosphere. So a kind of subsidy flows from poor countries to rich ones, and from future generations to the present. The question is how long can that free ride last. At Kyoto five years ago, 39 developed countries set themselves targets to reduce their emissions by the "first commitment period", 2008 to 2012.
New Zealand's target is to get back to 1990 levels. Overall the Kyoto targets are a 5 per cent cut from 1990 levels. But only from developed countries. It is estimated that developing countries' emissions, now about a quarter of the global total, will overtake developed country emissions within 20 years. The Bush Administration has cited the fact that developing countries have no Kyoto obligations as one of its reasons for walking away from the agreement. The United States produces about a quarter of global emissions.
So Kyoto's scope is limited, and its modest targets only nibble at the problem. If achieved, they would mean that whatever degree of global warming would otherwise occur by 2100 will occur six years later. So is the agreement worth it? No, say many business leaders. Yes, say the Kyoto defenders, because it's only a start.
The protocol, the product of years of arduous negotiation, is the first stage of a continuing process. The hope is that more countries will come aboard and more stringent targets will gradually be set. Kyoto has the weaknesses to be expected from compromises struck to secure voluntary agreement among nations, but it also has strengths.
It sets up systems to hold countries accountable for emissions, and creates mechanisms allowing them to reduce those emissions in a least-cost way. Countries which reduce their emissions by more than their Kyoto target will be able to sell their excess emission credits to countries which find it more difficult or expensive to reduce emissions. Another source of credits will be "forest sinks." Some changes in land use, such as planting a new forest, offset emissions by taking carbon dioxide from the air. For New Zealand, the credits from forests would more than cover the expected increase in emissions to 2012. This has given the Government a lot of leeway. It can ratify the Kyoto Protocol, confident that New Zealand will meet its obligations while shielding industries whose international competitiveness would be jeopardised if they were subject to the same carbon tax as the rest of us. A tax on the carbon content of fossil fuels is due to take effect in 2007. It will be capped at a rate that would add up to 6c a litre to petrol and 7c to diesel, and boost residential power bills about 9 per cent. All up, it would cost a typical household about $5 a week.
Critics say this will do little to alter behaviour. Rises in petrol and electricity prices make little difference to the amount people consume. But the point seems to be to put a carbon tax on the books. The rate can always be increased later. And the carrot is that revenue from the carbon tax and from the international sale of forest sink credits will be "recycled", Hodgson says. That might take the form of tax cuts.
7) RESEARCHER: PREPARE FOR GLOBAL WARMING
November 15, 2002
BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- A Tufts University researcher is hoping his study of the likely future effects of global warming will spur towns to start planning for the future. Paul Kirshen says increased coastal flooding and water quality and capacity that could overburden local governments. On the coast, sea levels are expected to rise up to one and one-half feet by the year 2100, Kirshen says. At the increased level, floods would be more frequent and storm surges far more damaging. The costs for addressing those potential problems won't be as heavy if preparations are made now, says Kirshen, who is a civil engineer. But Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, says the state's cities and towns all have budget problems and budget crises and are unlikely to set aside funds to address the issue now.
8) CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSE BILL 2002
New Zealand Herald
November 15, 2002Internet: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3004461&thesection=news&thesubsection=general&reportid=57030
The first piece of legislation establishing new powers and procedures related to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Other laws will follow- including a carbon tax on fossil fuels and industrial emissions, expected to increase petrol by 6c a litre and household power bills by 9 per cent. Progress: The bill passed its third and final reading on Wednesday night. Labour and the Greens supported the bill, with a total of 61 votes. The Progressive Coalition supported it, but was not in the House to vote. National, New Zealand First, Act and United Future, with 56 votes, opposed the bill. Aim: To set up structures for the new carbon trading system, created by the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries between 2008 and 2012 on average to 1990 levels.
Greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride.
How it works: Countries can use credits from forests, which soak up carbon dioxide, to reduce their obligations to cut emissions.
This means some countries, such as New Zealand, can end up in credit. How it affects us: In 1990 New Zealand emitted the equivalent of 73 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (mainly methane and nitrous oxide from animal "outputs", which are translated by formula into the currency of the new trade, carbon dioxide). Since 1990, emissions have risen to the equivalent of 79 million tonnes. If trading were to start now, New Zealand's aim would be to cut emissions by 6 million tonnes. But plantings put New Zealand in credit. By the time trading starts, it will have carbon credits to sell to other countries who need to get rid of a carbon debt. One Government MP estimated New Zealand could make $200 million to $300 million. The case against: Opposition MPs argue that the carbon-reduction measures will be hugely damaging to the economy, are unfair and will have very little effect. Critics also say the tax burden will be carried by those who are least to blame, such as medium sized businesses. The Government response: Ministers have decided agriculture will be exempt from the emissions charge in the first commitment period provided farmers start research to reduce agricultural emissions, which make up 55 per cent of New Zealand's estimated emissions. And large carbon-emitting companies such as Comalco and New Zealand Steel will be able to opt out of all or part of the emissions charge.
Pete Hodgson, Labour
"The Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement that offers any hope of progress. That progress will initially be modest, but it will be progress. The alternative is none. "We will be putting this nation in a position to make a measured transition to a carbon-constrained economy. "Some of our industries face competition from countries that will not have emissions targets in the protocol's first commitment period.
"We have designed our domestic climate-change policies to protect the interests of those industries and the economy while ensuring our emissions target can still be met."
Ken Shirley, Act
"I question the science of human-induced climate change. The protocol is unfair, it won't work and it will be very damaging to the economy. "There won't be reinvestment in our industries like the cement and steel industry. They are likely to relocate to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines that won't be subject to carbon tax regimes. "The Government has essentially appropriated the forestry carbon credit from private owners. They are stealing a property right and will use it to shield farmers and protect key industries."
Jeanette Fitzsimons, Greens
"The Kyoto Protocol is all there is. It is the international agreement that will limit climate change and while we don't agree with all the provisions of it, to not support ratification would take us back to square one.
"There are those who say we should not ratify it until absolutely every other country has. That would make us very bad global citizens. "It's really important that we add our weight, small as it is, to the global consensus to make binding measures to reduce our greenhouse emissions."
9) ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS FAIL TO SWAY GOVT ON KYOTO
November 14, 2002
The Federal Government has again rejected calls for the ratification of the Kyoto protocol on climate change at a meeting with environmental non-government organisations. Environment Minister David Kemp says the views aired by the lobby groups will assist the Government with its long-term policies on climate change.
But Dr Kemp says those policies will not include ratifying Kyoto. "There wasn't anything that we heard this morning that really changed anything in our thinking," he said. "We've got a very clear view on the basis on the analysis that we made that it is not in Australia's interests to ratify the Kyoto treaty."
10) TOKYO TO MAKE CO2 CUTS MANDATORY FOR MAJOR FIRMS
The Asahi Shimbun
November 14, 2002
Factories and offices in Tokyo will be required by law to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in an unprecedented move to achieve Japan's pledge under the Kyoto Protocol, sources said Wednesday. The Tokyo metropolitan government will revise a local environment ordinance as early as fiscal 2003 to force leading CO2 emitters to cut their emissions, the sources said. If the revised ordinance requires emission cuts from businesses that discharge large amounts of CO2, it would be the nation's first such legislation. The legislation will target about 1,000 factories and offices that emit a total of 10 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the sources said. Emissions from these facilities comprise 40 percent of the total CO2 emissions discharged by Tokyo's 800,000 businesses. Factories or offices that consume more than 1,500 kiloliters of fuel or energy annually when converted to crude oil, or those that use more than 6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually would fall under the legislation. The metropolitan government will establish an advisory panel this year to discuss the matter, the sources said. The panel will set emission-reduction targets and disciplinary measures for businesses that fail to meet their obligations, the sources said. Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, ratified by Japan in June, Japan pledged to reduce average annual CO2 emissions from 2008 to 2012 to a level at least 6 percent lower than the figure in 1990. Earlier this year, metropolitan government officials surveyed 1,000 factories and offices on their planned reduction targets. But the cuts in CO2 emissions eyed by the businesses surveyed amounted to only a 2 percent cut in annual emissions over the next three years. At a meeting of governors Wednesday, Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures agreed to reduce emissions from diesel-powered vehicles. Tokyo and Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures agreed to take steps to encourage purchases of so-called low-pollution vehicles and to install equipment to cut the discharge of particles from diesel-powered vehicles.
11) AMA URGES GOVT TO RATIFY KYOTO PROTOCOL
November 14, 2002
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called for the Federal Government to ratify the Kyoto agreement to avoid serious health implications. In an Australian first, scientists and leading health experts are discussing the serious population health risks associated with climate change. AMA president Kerryn Phelps says research shows there are many health problems associated with global climate change. "It has now indicated its willingness to proceed with environmental health as a major policy direction," she said. The AMA is calling on the Federal Government to examine its position on the Kyoto Protocol and increase funding for further research into the issue
12) $100 M BIOCARBON FUND AIMS TO LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING
November 13, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC, November 13, 2002 (ENS) - The poorest farmers and rural communities across the developing world will earn income from land management practices that keep the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere under a new multi-million carbon fund launched by the World Bank.
The US$100 million BioCarbon Fund has been in the works for months, and last week, it was publicly launched at the Katoomba Group Forestry Meeting in Tokyo, Japan. This working group, named after their first meeting place, Katoomba, Australia, focuses on innovative approaches to conserving the world's forests using market based mechanisms. The BioCarbon Fund is a public/private partnership that will finance the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through improved land management practices. As added benefits soil fertility and crop yield may increase, non-timber forest products can add to local livelihoods, and biodiversity is maintained.
"The BioCarbon Fund is an innovative example of making markets for global public goods," said Ian Johnson, World Bank vice president for sustainable development. "The Biocarbon Fund puts it all together by meeting the triple goal of reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere while reversing land degradation, conserving biodiversity, and improving the livelihoods of local communities in poor countries," he said.
The fund bases its activities on the fact that each year 20 times more carbon dioxide is exchanged between the atmosphere and the Earth's plants and soils than is released from the burning of fossil fuels. About a fifth of the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is derived from land clearing and other land management practices, climate scientists estimate. Sequestering or conserving carbon dioxide with such projects as planting legume trees across whole Kenyan landscapes, or planting indigenous tree species as forest buffers in Ugandan national parks, is the backbone of the BioCarbon Fund.
The threat climate change poses to long term development and the ability of the poor to escape from poverty is of particular concern to the World Bank. World Bank Group President James Wolfensohn said, "Continued global warming is in nobody's interest, but the simple facts of the matter are that developing countries will suffer the most damage, and their poor will be at an even greater disadvantage. I see the Bank's role in climate change as providing every opportunity to developing countries to benefit from the huge investment the OECD countries and companies must make in reducing climate change." The BioCarbon Fund will focus on projects that would not happen without the incentive provided by carbon finance. A recent World Bank study found that only 13 percent of all direct private sector carbon emission reduction dollars go to the developing world, a situation the fund's participants hope to change.
Daniel Murdiyarso, a professor at Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia, and a member of the BioCarbon Fund's Technical Advisory Committee, said, "The BioCarbon fund will make large parts of the developing world attractive for carbon investors, especially those countries with effective regulatory and institutional frameworks." Fourteen companies and governments have indicated their interest by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the BioCarbon Fund. The signatories range from power utilities to insurance companies, and include Caisse des Depots et Consignations and Eco-Carbone of France and Japanese utilities Chugoku, Shikoku, Okinawa, and Tokyo Electric; as well as the Mitsui company. Marsh Specialty Operations, the Rabobank of the Netherlands, Suncor Energy of Canada, St Microelectronics, the global reinsurer Swiss Re, and Sustainable Forest Management have also signed the agreement.
These potential participants are interested in obtaining emission reductions, or carbon credits to meet regulatory requirements or voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They may also wish to contribute to sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.
The Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change commits 37 industrialized countries to reduce their overall emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases during the period 2008 to 2012. Other countries have undertaken, or are considering, voluntary commitments to cut their emissions. "From the perspective of a development bank, carbon sequestration offers the greatest convergence between the carbon emission reduction market and sustainable development," said Ken Newcombe, the World Bank's senior manager for carbon finance. "Take the tantalizing image of private sector dollars flowing into such projects in the rural areas of the poorest countries. For example, in the Africa context we've already got a potential flow of projects even before we're out of the starting blocks."
The BioCarbon Fund will complement the two other World Bank managed carbon funds - the flagship Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF), and the Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF) launched in September at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
The BioCarbon Fund will be a prototype fund, designed to learn from the experience of doing real projects. It will focus on activities to retain or increase the amount of carbon in vegetation or soils, while the Prototype Carbon Fund covers energy related projects. "The BioCarbon Fund is unique in that it will have two windows for projects," said Newcombe. "One class of projects will be Kyoto compliant. But the second window will explore options that take us beyond the Kyoto negotiations and seek to extend the benefits that can flow from carbon finance." The Kyoto compliant window will provide emission reductions potentially eligible for credit under the Kyoto Protocol. These are limited to afforestation and reforestation activities in the first commitment period 2008 through 2012. These may be small-scale reforestation projects to restore landscape stability by reducing erosion and providing windbreaks, or agroforestry projects such as shade coffee, intercropping of trees with other crops, and the establishment of trees to help restore grazing lands.
The second window will explore options for carbon credits that, while meeting the triple goals of the BioCarbon Fund, achieve them by activities other than afforestation and reforestation. These projects produce emission reductions that may be creditable under emerging carbon management programs.
These may include restoration of degraded forests in developing countries by improved forest management and replanting or rehabilitation of dryland grazing lands by establishing shrubs and improving soil carbon.
Gatherings of The Katoomba Group are sponsored by Forest Trends, a Washington, DC based non-profit organization created in 1999 by representatives of conservation organizations, forest product firms, research groups, multilateral development banks, private investment funds and foundations. For more information about Forest Trends, please see http://www.forest-trends.org The Katoomba Group is online at: http://www.katoombagroup.com/
13) ANDERSON SPEAKS ON KYOTO IN EDMONTON
November 13, 2002
EDMONTON - The federal environment minister says there has been enough talking and it's time for action on the Kyoto Protocol. Next to nothing has happened using the voluntary approach," says David Anderson. "It's time to start face the reality of climate change and it can't be done by inevitable jawboning," he told a crowd of about 800 people at the University of Alberta during a two-hour panel discussion. But some of his opponents are suggesting the timelines are too tight. Mike Percy is the Dean of the School of Business. He says Canada needs to consider the global economy before the federal government signs the environmental treaty. "If Canada wants to deal with greenhouse gas emissions on a global basis; the thing to do is put one per cent of our GDP to foreign aid and invest in new technologies." But Anderson argues that many businesses are preparing for how to operate after Kyoto is ratified. He says he stands by the government's commitment to officially sign the accord before the end of the year
14) CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN FARMING COULD OFFSET CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS VOA
November 13, 2002
As farmers and ranchers struggle to earn a profit selling commodities in the ailing U.S. agricultural economy, many of them are looking for alternative ways to derive an income from the land. One promising new opportunity could be carbon sequestration. That's the technical-sounding name for a plan to reward producers whose crops take carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas - out of the air and store it, as carbon, in the soil. Sequestration provides a small but valuable counter to the industrial carbon dioxide emissions many experts believe are causing global warming. The Bush administration is funding more research into carbon sequestration and its potential role as part of a farmland soil conservation program, although critics say the White House policy on global warming may limit any economic benefits to America's farmers.
In a windy field off Interstate 29 in Moody County, South Dakota State University soil chemist Jim Dolittle is surveying the growth of test plots of switchgrass. "Most often when you're looking at a field, you're seeing the above-ground portion of a plant," he said. "But what you can envision when we pull a plant up here you can imagine about the same amount of root material growing below the soil. And that's what we're studying: how much carbon is being added to the soil by that below-ground root mass." Switchgrass, like other green plants, uses the sun's energy to take carbon dioxide from the air and build it into complex organic compounds. That's how plants grow. Carbon makes up about 40 percent of every plant. When crops are harvested or the plant dies, the root material rots. Some carbon dioxide is released into the air. But the rest of the carbon stays in the soil. This net movement of carbon from the air into the earth is the opposite of what happens when fossil fuels like gasoline and coal are burned. Combustion puts carbon dioxide into the air. Most scientists believe rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are a major contributor to global warming.
That's why scientists like Jim Dolittle are trying to develop ways to get more carbon out of the atmosphere and into the ground. Still, he says carbon storage in farmland isn't a fix for global warming, because it can't offset the high CO2 emissions worldwide. "We are talking about a small amount of carbon," said Jim Doolittle. "But if we can have that small amount constantly flowing back into the soil, are hopes are that we can effect the atmospheric concentration of CO2 for reducing the greenhouse effect." Studies by Professor Dolittle and other researchers suggest a larger role for conservation-style agriculture in the United States. The amount of carbon in the soil has actually dropped 20 percent since pioneers first tilled the virgin soils of the American prairie 200 years ago. Exposing the soil to the air meant more of the dead plant material there could decompose and release carbon dioxide. With less carbon, the soil also became less fertile.
Bill Hohenstein, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Global Change Office, says to reverse this trend, farmers must protect their soil carbon, using a variety of tillage practices. "Things like conservation or no-till," said Bill Hohenstein. "Or using winter cover crops. Those sorts of things are going to increase the organic content of the soil. And that's really what we're talking about when we're talking about soil carbon."
Beside soil carbon's agricultural benefits, it could also have a direct cash value for farmers. International efforts to reduce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide have spawned a worldwide emissions-trading market. Companies and manufacturers that are required to reduce their CO2 emissions could do it in two ways: either by filtering carbon dioxide as it leaves the smokestack which is expensive or by paying farmers to change their practices so cropland captures more CO2 from the air and stores it in the soil.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that based on the current price for so-called carbon credits, this could put an additional $300 million a year into American farmers' pockets. U.S. Department of Agriculture analysts predict that as the carbon-trading market expands, cash payments to U.S. farmers could grow into billions of extra dollars annually. But the analysts note that before the carbon-trading market really becomes viable, farmers need a way to prove how much carbon their soils are capturing. So the Bush administration is funding more research to scientifically document how - and to what extent - farming practices sequester carbon. "We will look to increase the amount of carbon stored by America's farms through a strong conservation title in the farm bill," said President Bush. "I have asked Secretary Veneman to recommend new target incentives for landowners to increase carbon storage."
But another White House policy may limit the benefit farmers would get from carbon sequestration. The Bush administration has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement on reducing greenhouse gases. The treaty officially recognizes carbon sequestration in farmland and crafts policy for carbon trading. If the agreement goes ahead without the United States, it couldn't require American CO2 emitters, the world's most prodigious, to cut emissions. Farmers fear that would significantly reduce demand for carbon credits, meaning they would earn less money. However, experts say eventually there will be more pressure for U.S. polluters to cut emissions and pay farmers to sequester carbon. Neil Cohn works for Natsource, a brokerage and consulting firm for emissions trading. "The Kyoto Protocol is, of course, one of the biggest drivers in the climate change process," said Neil Cohn. "It is not the only driver. And while the U.S. has backed out of the Kyoto Protocol Process, there will continue to be legislation on carbon constraints in the U.S., and this market is continuing to develop."
As the carbon-trading market develops, work at South Dakota State University and other research centers is revealing more clearly that agriculture has an important role in reducing greenhouse gases. SDSU soil chemist Jim Dolittle says that by adopting simple conservation practices, farmers can simultaneously improve the quality of the soil and help to combat global warming. But experts say it could take five to 10 years before farmers will get direct cash payments for it.
15) FOES OF KYOTO PROTOCOL AIM TO STIR UP DOUBTS
The Globe and Mail
November 13, 2002 Internet: http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/PEstory/TGAM/20021113/UKYOTM/national/national/nationalTheNationHeadline_temp/20/20/39/
OTTAWA -- Foes of the Kyoto Protocol, including Imperial Oil and Talisman Energy, are sponsoring a gathering in Ottawa today of scientists skeptical of the treaty as part of a last-ditch effort to derail Canada's ratification of it. Organizers have rounded up approximately 25 scientists and engineers who are prepared to assail the scientific premises underlying Kyoto in an attempt to raise public doubts about the need for the treaty. Eight will be on hand in Ottawa to speak to reporters, and other academics and engineers will be available by phone to attack what organizers call the "fatal flaws" of Kyoto and the "myths of climate change" that they say have so far been ignored in debate over the treaty. The event comes at the eleventh hour of Canada's ratification debate. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is determined to see Canada officially endorse the deal before the end of 2002, five years after this country inked tentative support for the treaty at a December, 1997, meeting in Kyoto, Japan. Organizers hope to sway the minds of Canadians before MPs and Senators vote on Kyoto ratification in late November or early December in a ballot that Mr. Chrétien hopes will affirm his plans to ratify. (The Prime Minister does not need parliamentary approval to ratify Kyoto, but would like its backing.) "There's a lot of people who are prepared to vote on this even though they don't have enough information -- and that's not a very responsible thing to do," says Evan Zelikovitz, whose public affairs firm APCO Worldwide is organizing the "Kyoto's Fatal Flaws Revealed" press conference. The scientists and engineers speaking out include the high-profile U.S. Kyoto skeptic Dr. Fred Singer as well as Dr. Madhav Khandekar, a former research scientist with Environment Canada. The speakers are not being paid for their comments, but the cost of staging the Ottawa event is being borne by a group of contributors including Imperial, Talisman and a group of Canadian lime producers.
Producing lime -- used in applications ranging from water and sewage treatment to power generation -- is very energy-intensive, and the federal government's own research suggests the lime industry will be among those hardest hit under Kyoto. Ratification obliges Canada to make deep reductions of between 20 to 30 per cent in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2012 but business groups fear the cuts will unduly handicap the economy and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Environmentalists say Kyoto critics are grasping at straws by assembling their own cadre of experts to try to undermine an international consensus in support of action on climate change.
16) GOVERNMENT OUTLINES PLAN FOR RESEARCH ON WARMING by Andrew C. Revkin
New York Times
November 13, 2002
The Bush administration, saying there are still many uncertainties about threats posed by human-caused climate change, has outlined a broad, years-long research agenda on global warming. Among many other goals, the draft plan calls for new work to be completed in the next four years to clarify how much of the warming since 1950 has been caused by human actions like emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide or soot; to explain differing temperature trends in the upper and lower atmosphere; and to improve computer models that simulate climate and monitoring systems for tracking the real thing. The proposal was lauded yesterday by industry officials and some scientists who have long questioned the mainstream view that global warming is mainly caused by people and poses big risks. But many climate experts said the proposal mainly rehashed issues most scientists consider settled. For example, they pointed out, big international and national panels of climate experts concluded in the past two years that at least half of the warming measured since 1950 was indeed caused by human actions, namely smokestack and tailpipe emissions.
The plan, which was posted Monday night on a Commerce Department Web site, climatescience.org, will go through months of public and scientific review before it is finished in the spring. It is already the focus of intense interest by scientists and lobbyists from environmental groups and industry, dozens of whom are among the 700 people already signed up to debate the plan at a Washington workshop in early December. "I see this helping in the development of a more robust observational foundation for understanding the climate system," said Dr. John R. Christy, who has questioned the accuracy of models and surface temperature readings and runs the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. But Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences at Princeton who has long advocated acting promptly to reduce emissions, said: "The plan veers off into emphasizing what we don't know at the expense of a thorough description of what we do know. If you strip away the rhetoric, there's a valuable agenda of research here to pursue. The danger is that while they're continuing to do the research, the window of opportunity to avoid dangerous global warming is closing."
Bush administration officials who wrote the plan said it pointed out important gaps in climate science and a clear path toward filling them. Among other things, it attempts to organize research efforts on climate in more than a dozen government agencies, said Dr. James R. Mahoney, the assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and the director of the effort. "The key here is how do we move forward," said Dr. Mahoney, who directed a similar research program on acid rain in 1988. "Let us try to frame the questions that need addressing and, in some orderly way, determine what we know and what we don't know - and what can we reasonably expect to learn in the next two to four years." Some experts on global change said the research plan was deeply flawed because it ignored findings of a decade-long federal assessment of potential impacts of climate change around the United States that was published in 2000 by the Environmental Protection Agency. That assessment has been attacked by industry lobbyists and some scientists as overly apocalyptic and shaped by Vice President Al Gore, and they have strongly pressed the Bush administration to expunge it from any new documents. Dr. Mahoney said the previous climate-impacts assessment contained much high quality work that was left out to avoid new conflicts. "The important thing is to say how can we move ahead without fighting the old battles," he said. Other experts said they doubted the new approach would speed action. It does not differ much from strategies set more than a decade ago by the first Bush administration, which also called for reducing uncertainties and improving the accuracy of projections, some experts said. As a result, they said, the new research program is unlikely to answer a central question first posed by President Bush in a Rose Garden speech in June 2001: how much human interference with the climate system is too much? "If you only talk about reducing uncertainty, that's very appealing to folks who don't want to act on climate change because it implies we can wait," said Dr. Roger A. Pielke Jr., an expert on environmental risks at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and one of three authors of "Prediction: Science, Decision Making and the Future of Nature" (Island Press, 2000).
17) INVESTORS GO GREEN WITH TRADEABLE CARBON RIGHTS
November 12, 2002
WORRIED about the ethical issues of your investments? Well, there is a more socially responsible investment you may want to consider. It is tradeable 'carbon rights', which could prove to be one of the most rapidly expanding asset classes of the future. For South-east Asian investors in particular, buying carbon rights based on regional forestry resources could be an ideal investment in preserving the region's environment - and a chance to make a profit in the process.
Early stages: There is no point in rushing out to buy just yet, as the market is still in its earliest stages of development and it is very much an institutional investor play, just like many other so-called 'alternative asset' classes. But experts envision the growth of a market running into possibly hundreds of billion of dollars, where tradeable carbon rights could be securitised and packaged for retail investors. Insurance companies and pension fund investments in these instruments could also offer indirect access. Put simply, tradeable carbon rights are claims on carbon-conserving or 'carbon-sequestering' assets such as forests. The potential buyers are industrial companies which, in order to meet their environmental obligations under the Kyoto Protocol - or other international regimes to control greenhouse gases - could trade a purchase of carbon assets in one part of the world for the right to continue polluting in another. That is not as environmentally bad as it sounds because the whole exercise is meant to balance out, with carbon 'sinks' - such as forests - helping to absorb pollution on a global basis.
Since it is clearly difficult for buyers in, say, the US, Europe or Japan to find sellers of such rights in Asia, Latin America or Africa, there is obvious scope for a major trading market to develop, where primary transactions among corporate players and, say, farmers, can be converted into liquid secondary market activities. Once brokers, dealers and other market makers get involved, a whole range of investors can then come in, as they do in many other traditional commodity markets. The potential of this fascinating, and as yet little-known, market came into clearer perspective last week when the so-called Katoomba Group held its fifth annual meeting at the United National University in Tokyo. The Katoomba Group was launched by Forest Trends, a body based in Washington DC which describes itself as a non-profit organisation created by leaders from conservation organisations, forest product firms, research groups, multilateral development banks, private investment funds and foundations. The Katoomba Group itself (named after an aboriginal site near Sydney) brings together representatives of forestry and finance companies, environmental policy and research organisations, governmental agencies, as well as business and non-profit groups. It enables former 'enemies' such as conservationists and multinational corporations to find common ground, as Minoru Makihara, chairman of Mitsubishi Corporation, remarked at the meeting. (Japan has often been the subject of forest conservationists' ire for its logging activities in South-east Asia and elsewhere.) If conservation is to take firm hold among world business leaders and investors, it is essential to 'give value' to forests and other parts of the environment, suggested Mr Makihara. Up to now, forests - especially so-called 'old growth' forests containing the most valuable hardwood logs and which are invaluable repositories of bio-diversity - have been more often plundered than preserved, not least in South-east Asia. Mark Campanale of Henderson Investors recalled in the Tokyo meeting the great timber boom (and bust) of the early to mid-1990s when Malaysian and other timber companies made vast profits out of logging, before the 'meltdown' came. By listing their shares, they were able to leverage their operations, buying forests as far afield as the Solomon Islands or Africa in some cases. Forests are 'still seen as areas of speculative gain' said Mr Campanale. Ken Newcombe, the World Bank's senior manager for carbon finance, suggested at the Tokyo meeting that a lot more ''private dollars' from major corporations around the world need to be attracted into responsible forestry management. Tradeable carbon rights could be one way of achieving this. To set the ball rolling, the World Bank launched a US$100 million Biocarbon Fund at the Tokyo meeting. This will help create a supply of tradeable carbon rights in the developing world, which currently are in short supply relative to demand from industrialised countries in the run up to implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Apart from providing value sources of carbon to offset polluting emissions, forests have value for pharmaceutical and cosmetic producers, as well as tourism groups, that might be prepared to invest in securities that preserve forests.
Logging rights: But there are problems. Timber barons may prefer to lease out forests to loggers rather than get involved in trading carbon rights. Small holders may be more willing to do so - enabling them to preserve their resources - but land reform is not proceeding at a fast enough rate to suggest that they can swing the balance. The answer seems to be to appeal to the venal instincts of forest owners so that selling carbon rights becomes as attractive as selling logging rights. This is where the new market comes in. The billions of dollars controlled by institutional investors around the globe suggests that it could be a potent one in time.
18) KOREA SENDS RATIFICATION OF THE KYOTO PACT TO UN
November 12, 2002
The government said yesterday that it has handed in the instrument of ratification for the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The protocol was approved by the National Assembly last month. Under the framework, which links greenhouse gas emissions and economic development, South Korea is required between 2008 and 2012 to draw up and regularly update "national and regional programs containing measures to mitigate climate change and measures to facilitate adequate adaptation to climate change." It must cooperate in scientific and technical research and promote sustainable maintenance and development of systematic observation and data archives to reduce climate uncertainties.
South Korea is not among the 38 developed countries that agreed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, relative to the levels emitted in 1990 by at least 5 percent. The United States had pledged a 7 percent reduction, while Japan promised 6 percent cut. Russia vowed to maintain its greenhouse gas emission unchanged from the 1990 level. Negotiations on emission cuts are to take place every five years. The Foreign Ministry expects that South Korea will likely be obligated to make reductions between 2013 and 2017. Since 1998, a government commission led by the prime minister has been working on measures to reduce greenhouse gas emission here
19) WORLD BANK EXEC TO CORPORATIONS: TAKE NOTICE:
The Japan Times:
November 9, 2002
It would be wise for Japanese firms to invest in so-called carbon funds soon so they can meet greenhouse gas emissions targets more cheaply and on schedule, according to Ken Newcombe, manager of one such fund run by the World Bank. The international institution opened the $180 million Prototype Carbon Fund in April 2000 to finance energy-related projects to reduce emissions of global warming gases in developing countries and thus mitigate climate change. The fund was closed earlier this year. Investors in the fund -- private-sector companies and governments of industrialized nations -- are expected to be able to obtain credits for emission cuts from those projects under the clean development mechanism of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. "It is very smart for Japanese firms to invest heavily in the Prototype Carbon Fund before prices start going up and get emission-reduction (credits) in time (for) the first commitment period (of between 2008 and 2012)," said Newcombe, who was visiting Tokyo for the announcement of another new carbon fund by the World Bank.
Prices for emission-reduction credits are widely expected to rise as international and domestic rules regarding carbon credits become clearer and more players engage in carbon-related activities on a global basis. Credit for reducing 1 ton of carbon dioxide emissions is currently priced at $5 to $7 at the PCF, which includes the fund's management costs. The price would be attractive to Japanese companies that face higher costs if they try to reduce emissions domestically, according to Newcombe. In addition, energy-related projects take a couple of years -- even in the best business environment -- before they actually reach the point where they achieve the intended emission cuts, Newcombe said. "Even if companies and governments invest heavily two years from now, they can get only a small proportion of emission reductions in those projects before 2012," Newcombe said.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol requires signatory industrialized countries to achieve quantitative greenhouse gas emission-reduction targets, including for carbon dioxide. Under the protocol, Japan is required to cut emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 6 percent from 1990 levels between 2008 through 2012. Many experts consider the target a tough challenge. Earlier this week, the World Bank launched the $100 million Bio Carbon Fund, which is designed to finance afforestation and reforestation projects that could be used to obtain credits for carbon dioxide emission cuts, with a view to operations starting early next summer.
The World Bank made the announcement in Tokyo because it believes the proposed fund will attract the interest of Japanese firms, Newcombe said. In fact, of the 14 companies and governments that have shown an interest in the fund, four are Japanese utilities -- Tokyo Electric Power Co., Chugoku Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Okinawa Electric Power Co., and trading giant Mitsui & Co.
The Bio Carbon Fund is the third carbon fund set up by the World Bank, following the PCF and the Community Development Carbon Fund launched in September. In contrast to the PCF, which invests in large-scale energy-related projects, the other two funds aim to channel money into smaller-scale projects that serve rural areas in smaller and poorer countries, Newcombe said. Experience from the PCF shows investors are interested in bigger projects in major countries, including Mexico and Brazil, because the benefits from smaller projects are relatively small despite substantial transaction costs. And smaller, poorer countries, which account for some 80 percent of developing nations, face difficulties receiving the benefits of carbon financing, Newcombe said. "Small countries have only small projects to offer," he said. "And transaction costs of small projects are significant unless special provisions are made to reduce costs to bundle together small projects and present them as a group to investors." The World Bank hopes private-sector financial institutions will take over its role of managing carbon funds in the future, limiting the bank's role to long-term projects in poorer countries that private-sector institutions do not want to cover, he said.
20) CAN CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECTS DETER CLEAN TECHNOLOGY?
November 8, 2002
A new study explores the potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction projects to speed up the flow of clean technologies to developing countries. Only by selecting appropriate baselines from which to calculate emissions reductions can projects succeed, warns the report, where poor choices of baseline bring additional costs and disfavour innovative, clean technology.The report, released by US organisation Environmental Defense, explores the potential for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to advance the flow of new, clean technologies to developing countries. CDM is one of the trading tools of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Can the CDM Spur the Diffusion of New Technologies? A Case Study from the Aluminium Sector explores a case study of an aluminium smelter project in South Africa, highlighting problems encountered in designing a large-scale project that promotes sustainable development, reduces greenhouse gases and minimizes CDM transaction costs.
The study finds that many of the difficulties encountered arise from the fact that CDM projects occur in host countries with no obligation to fit emissions reductions to a finite emissions budget. The absence of a budget forces project developers and CDM accrediting bodies to undertake complicated baseline and verification programs to certify the value of the projects. These checks bring additional costs. The study concludes that appropriate baselines should be selected to reduce costs and in addition, reward innovative firms who are the first to introduce a newer, cleaner technology or process to the developing world.
21) INDONESIAN WILDFIRES ACCELERATED GLOBAL WARMING
November 8, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC, November 8, 2002 (ENS) - Wildfires that scorched parts of Indonesia in 1997 spewed as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire planet's biosphere removes from it in a year, shows new research published this week. The fires, which destroyed thousands of forest acres and left peat bogs smoldering for months, released as much as 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon - mostly in the form of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) - into the atmosphere. A team of scientists led by Susan Page from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom attempted to estimate the mount of carbon released by the 1997 fires, and their potential effects on global warming. In an article published in the November 7 issue of the journal "Nature," the researchers conclude that these fires were "a major contributor to the sharp increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations detected in 1998."
From 1997 to 1998, the growth rate of CO2 in the atmosphere nearly doubled, from an average of 3.2 gigatons per calendar year to 6.0 gigatonnes, the highest value on record. Most of the carbon released in the Indonesian fires came not from burning trees but from smoldering peat bogs which lost between 25 and 85 centimeters (about 10 to 33 inches) of their depth in the fires. Tropical peatlands form one of the largest land reserves of organic carbon. Peat is a carbon rich soil made of compacted, decayed vegetation. Peat bogs like those found in Indonesia normally support lush swamp forests over peat deposits that can be up to 20 meters (66 feet) thick. But when forest clearing, drainage and drought begin to dry out these peatlands, they become susceptible to fire - as was demonstrated during the 1997 El Niño driven dry season.
Using satellite images of a 2.5 million hectare study area in Central Kalimantan, Borneo, from before and after the 1997 fires, the researchers calculates that about 32 percent, or almost 800,000 hectares, of the area had burned. Peatlands accounted for 91.5 percent of the burned area, or about 730,000 hectares. "Using ground measurements of the burn depth of peat, we estimate that 0.19-0.23 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon were released to the atmosphere through peat combustion, with a further 0.05 Gt released from burning of the overlying vegetation," the team wrote in the "Nature" article. "Extrapolating these estimates to Indonesia as a whole, we estimate that between 0.81 and 2.57 Gt of carbon were released to the atmosphere in 1997 as a result of burning peat and vegetation in Indonesia," an amount equal to between 13 and 40 percent of the average annual carbon emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels around the world.
The CO2 released by the fires was more than all the carbon taken up by all living things on the planet - collectively known as the biosphere - in a single year. The 1997 fires were therefore likely responsible for the massive boost in CO2 emissions seen in 1997-1998 - the largest annual increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration detected since records began in 1957, according to the researchers. Indonesia's 1997 and 1998 fire seasons were massive, destroying about 10 million hectares (38,600 square miles) of Indonesia's national forests, recognized as one of the world's centers of biodiversity. More than 20 million people were exposed to breathing extremely high levels of pollutants known to cause both acute and long term health effects. Schools and businesses were closed in Malaysia and people were advised to remain indoors.
But the problem did not end with the easing of the dry El Niño weather pattern. Wildfires, mostly sparked by humans clearing forest for agriculture, and exacerbated by increased logging in the years following the fires, caused major problems again in 2000, and problems may be cropping up again this year.
These fires destroy some of the habitat on which a variety of endangered species, such as bears, elephants, rhinos, tigers and orangutans, depend. Birute Galdikas, a primatologist who began her orangutan research in 1971, said the number of orangutans in Indonesian Borneo has been halved in the past decade, partly due to the fires as well as logging and mining. But besides the catastrophic effects that tropical wildfires may have on biodiversity, researchers must consider the impact that relatively small areas of fire may have on the planet as a whole, through their contributions to global climate change. Natural, undamaged peat swamp forest is "essential to maintain high water levels, protect the peat carbon store and facilitate future carbon sequestration from the atmosphere," the researchers conclude.
That position is echoed by an essay that accompanies the "Nature" article, written by two scientists from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. The researchers, David Schimel and David Baker, note that Susan Page and her colleagues have shown that "abrupt events can have an appreciable effect on the carbon cycle." "Most observing systems and modeling strategies assume that, to affect the carbon cycle, processes must occur over thousands of square kilometers or more," they write. "But especially in areas of high carbon density, catastrophic events affecting small areas can evidently have a huge impact on the global carbon balance." The Indonesian wildfires show that attempts to slow the rate of global warming will have to focus not only on reducing direct human caused carbon emissions from factories, power plants and vehicle tailpipes, but also on efforts to stem the unsustainable destruction of massive carbon stores such as those found in tropical forests and peat bogs.
If tropical peat forests continue to be destroyed by logging, development and fire, "there will be a continued release of carbon through decomposition of the exposed peat surfaces that, in turn, will place this large carbon store at further risk," write Page and her colleagues. "Tropical peatlands will make a significant contribution to global carbon emissions for some time to come unless major mitigation, restoration and rehabilitation programs are undertaken."
22) COMMISSION WELCOMES OUTCOME OF CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE (COP 8)
November 8, 2002
The 8th Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention concluded on 1st November with the adoption of a Ministerial "Delhi Declaration ". It calls for all countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in the face of growing evidence of the damage done by climate change, and the need for greater efforts to combat climate change in coming decades. "Recent flooding and extreme weather events in many parts of the world have dramatically shown how vulnerable human societies are to climate change", said EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström. "Floods, droughts and other adverse impacts have caused thousands of human casualties and billions of Euro in damage. Science tells us that these events are likely to become more frequent and intense in many areas as the climate warms. We need to act together in the international community to deal with this global threat."
Around 170 countries, which represent more than three-quarters of the world's population, met in Delhi for the 8th Conference of the Parties. The meeting made good technical progress on monitoring and agreed to work to increase public awareness of climate change. During the final Ministerial segment of the meeting, Ministers discussed the disturbing findings of the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which show that most of the acceleration in global warming is man-made. "The EU ratified the Kyoto Protocol on 31st May this year. It has met its existing commitment under the UN Climate Convention to stabilise its greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels," confirmed Commissioner Wallström. The EU is putting in place a wide range of measures to ensure that it can meet its 8% reduction commitment under the Kyoto Protocol. The Delhi Declaration recognises that actions are already taking place to cut greenhouse gas emissions in developed and developing countries, and all countries agreed to increase the exchange of information on these policies in order to develop an effective response to climate change.
Furthermore, Ministers recognised that developing countries are most affected by climate change, as they have fewer resources to adapt to the changes that are occurring, and the EU confirmed its commitment to provide its share of $410 million of funding per year as from 2005 to support action in developing countries.
One of the conference's biggest accomplishments was making the Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism fully operational. The CDM will channel private-sector investment into emissions-reduction projects in developing countries. In this way, it will promote sustainable development in these countries while offering industrialized governments credits against their Kyoto targets. The first projects are now likely to be approved during the first quarter of 2003. The next meeting of the Convention's parties will be held in Italy in December 2003.
23) EAST EUROPE'S CHANGE OF CLIMATE
November 7, 2002
SKOPJE, Macedonia, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The 185 member states of the U.N. Climate Change Convention met last week in New Delhi to contemplate what steps may be needed to implement the Kyoto protocol, already ratified by 95 countries, including the members of European Union. Signatories have 10 years -- starting in 2003 -- to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases. In the decade or so of transition, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have suffered droughts and floods in equal measure. They attribute this shift in climate patterns to global warming. Ironically, the crumbling of their smokestack industrial infrastructure reduced their emissions by 38 percent between 1990-2000, according to a report presented at the conference. In Estonia, transition's poster kid, emissions declined by 56 percent, according to the official Estonian News Agency, or ETA. The OECD countries increased their emissions by 8.4 percent over the same period. This disparity between rich and poor nations in Europe casts a cynical light over the EU's constant environmental castigation of East Europeans. The EU adopted the Kyoto protocol in May and committed itself to a total reduction of 8 percent of emissions by 2012. Even if wildly optimistic forecasts regarding car usage and the restoration of Central and East Europe's manufacturing base are met, emissions would still be well in compliance with annex I of the Kyoto protocol, which lists the reductions required of the candidate countries. This cannot be said about present EU members and other rich, industrialized polities. Lawmakers in the former communist bloc are aware of it. "We must calculate and anticipate the maximum possible improvement for our own industry so that in a few years we don't find ourselves purchasing (pollution) quotas," Viktor Shudergov, head of the Russian Federation Council Science, Culture, Education, Health, and Ecology, said in a recent media interview. "Russia is currently the world's major supplier of oxygen in the atmosphere. Other countries are using Russia's biological resources to develop their industries. "The United States has every possibility to reduce its own emissions but refuses to do so. It would have been more useful if the main source of ecological pollution, the United States, had participated (in the Kyoto agreement)." Central and East Europeans have a few things going for them as far as the environment goes. Public transport is more developed in the countries in transition than in the rest of the continent. Industry -- rebuilt from scratch -- invariably comes equipped to minimize pollution. Private cars are less ubiquitous than in Western Europe. Vast swathes of countryside remain virtually untouched, serving as "green lungs" and carbon sinks. If, as the European Commission, the EU executive, envisions, a community-wide regime of emissions trading is established, the countries east of the Oder-Neisse line could well benefit as net sellers of unused quotas. Romania's Ziarul Financiar newspaper reported last year the country's government negotiated the sale of some $20 million in carbon dioxide emission rights to Japan. A similar deal -- this time for about $4 million -- was struck with the Swiss. The money was used to refurbish the decrepit central heating systems in a few townships. The interesting twist is that the very enhancement of the energy efficiency of the antiquated pipelines freed portions of the emissions quota for sale. It is telling that Romania was unable or unwilling to sell its emissions to Britain, Denmark, or the Netherlands, all of which host functional emissions-trading pilot projects. The trading rules are so complex -- certain sectors and gases are excluded and fiendishly intricate auctions regulate the initial allocation of quotas -- that many potential buyers and sellers prefer to abstain. Estonia circumvented the nascent exchanges altogether. It convinced the Dutch, Finns, Germans and Swedes to invest in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Estonia. The reductions, according to the Baltic News Service, will be applied to the quotas of the investing nations. Still, the political leadership of most countries in transition understands it has at least to be seen to be supportive of the Kyoto process. Russia announced in the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, last September its intention to ratify the protocol by the end of the year. It will also host next year's International Conference on Climate Change. Its Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov boasted of a one-third reduction in emissions in recent years. Environment ministries -- a novel fixture -- have proliferated throughout the region and, backed by the international community, have become assertive. The Croatian minister of environment, for instance, warned his own government in March, in his first national report on local climate changes, of international sanctions due to a considerable increase in the emissions of noxious gases since 1990. According to the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe, many countries in the region -- including three New Independent States, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic -- have completed national climate change action plans. Hungary, Kazakhstan and Russia are preparing theirs. The British Broadcasting Corp. says Slovenia is working on a program of its own, though in compliance with the Kyoto requirements. Less scrupulous politicians regard the environment as another way to extract funds from Western governments and multilateral lending institutions. Especially active are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank. The former approved $12 million to Vetropak Straza, Croatia's only glass factory. The money will be invested in a new technology with less harmful emissions. Together with Citibank, the EBRD is committed to financing the $470 million conversion of the Bulgarian thermal power plants, Maritsa 2 and 3 to more efficient and less polluting coal burning. The EBRD is collaborating with the Dutch to establish a carbon credits market exclusive to its client states -- the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Pollution-phobic European countries -- mainly in Scandinavia -- work with the World Bank and match its funds in specific environmental undertakings. Thus, the Danish Agency of Environment has financed 13 projects in Bulgaria last year, part of $18 million it has granted that country alone since 1995. It is now assisting Bulgaria in its application for World Bank funds to counter the effects of past pollution.
24) BP BUYS EASTERN CREEK CREDITS
Sydney Morning Herald
November 6 2002
Australian waste-to-energy operator Global Renewables has signed an emissions trading agreement with BP for 1.05 million tonnes of greenhouse abatement with an option for a further 50,000 tonnes. The deal has been done along the lines of the emissions trading regime established under the Kyoto Protocol. Australia, which is not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, is likely to be banned from participating in international emissions trading by the European Union. However, the deal with BP is an Australia-only arrangement that cannot be affected by the EU ban. Under the arrangement, BP will buy the 1.05 million tonnes of greenhouse equivalent abatement to write off against its Ultima fuel. Ultima is a greenhouse-friendly fuel with which the company promises to offset petrol emissions by buying greenhouse abatement. Global Renewables did not say at what price the ERU's (emission reduction units) had been traded. However, chief executive John White said it was "a few dollars a tonne". Internationally, ERUs trade at between $3 and $10 a tonne.
The deal with BP will stretch over a three to five-year period. Dr White said the agreement was a breakthrough because most of the ERU deals up to now had involved carbon sinks. The Global Renewables deal trades off the waste-recycling and energy-production equipment being installed at Eastern Creek near Sydney. That plant, the first of many planned by Global Renewables, produces energy and fertiliser from household waste via an accelerated decomposition process. The process sorts recyclables and can reduce landfill waste by up to 80 per cent. Last week Hastings Funds Management committed itself to investing $60 million in Global Renewables to take a 50 per cent stake.
25) PEOPLE AND CLIMATE CHANGE PLACE HEX ON AUSTRALIA
New Zealand Herald
November 6, 2002
CANBERRA - The "lucky country" is unlikely to be so fortunate in the next 100 years as Australia's big cities sprawl even further and the warming Earth dehydrates its resources, hammers health and lashes the continent with a 21st-century equivalent of fire and brimstone. Two new studies, on population growth and climate change, predict the nation will have a harder time preserving its standard of living as plague, pestilence and disaster increasingly become part of life. This means, the federal science agency CSIRO says, that Australians will have to start making decisions now about the kind of life they want their grandchildren to inherit. A CSIRO report to be released in Sydney tomorrow by Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock says Australia could cope with a population of 50 million by the end of the century, although its estimates are based on an upper limit of 32 million by 2050.
But even at the lowest projected population of 20 million, the Australia of two generations hence would face serious challenges - including the management of the potential mega-cities of Sydney and Melbourne, whose populations could reach 10 million each. Key areas at risk include air quality, stocks of oil and fisheries resources. "We'll have to take a long, hard look at our infrastructure, lifestyle, energy usage, international trade and technology," says researcher Barney Foran, co-author of the CSIRO study. "The real challenge ... is how we reduce the volume of energy and materials we consume, while still maintaining our standard of living." Foran says Australians must recognise that their lifestyles and behaviour will decide the nation's future, because the long-term consequences to the continent's social, economic and environmental systems can be set by short-term choices.
And Australia's need to earn more and more foreign exchange to pay for imports and to service international loans will exact a growing toll on the finite resources that provide the nation's wealth. CSIRO's message is underlined by another report from Climate Action Network Australia, focusing on the potential impact of climate change on the nation's health in the coming decades. It projects a general increase of 6C by the end of the century, reducing rainfall and promoting wild swings in weather that will batter Australia with more droughts, storms, floods and tropical cyclones. "None of these changes are in doubt, and all of them impact on human health," the report says. "Apart from contributing to illness and death in Australia through localised air pollution, the burning of fossil fuels is bringing a whole new range of risks to the health of the public by creating climate change."
The report says all manner of disease - infectious, food, mosquito and waterborne - will be affected by predicted changes in climate, in most cases increasing both deaths and the incidence of potentially fatal conditions. It is probable, for example, that bacterial diseases in food, such as salmonella, will increase, especially in temperate zones. The costs will be huge, the report says. Mosquito-borne Ross River virus infection already costs Australia up to A$5.7 million a year, and the report says the disease could spread with climate change. This year Tasmania - which was free of the virus until 1994 - reported its largest-ever outbreak of Ross River fever. Other likely blows include an increase in waterborne diseases, more frequent algae blooms along the continent's coastline, and a higher risk of Ciguatera food poisoning from large reef fish and Mackerel as the sea warms.
The report warns that the incidence of floods, cyclones, drought and bushfires will increase, and that as the weather becomes hotter and drier, air pollution will become a greater problem. It says that more dust in the air from hotter and drier conditions, for example, clearly contributes to asthma. Hayfever and related illness could also rise. "The only silver lining in this dark cloud is that there may be a decrease in winter-related deaths in Australia," the report says. But it says the extent of the trade-off is not clear, because it is hard to predict whether a fall in deaths from winter respiratory diseases will outweigh any potential increase in deaths from heat-related stress.
26) CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIATS TO COME UP IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
November 6, 2002
Government today said that in accordance with a decision taken at the recent UN conference on climate change here, national climate change secretariats will be set up in all developing countries to help generate public awareness about the issue. In a significant decision to promote involvement of all stake holders, including NGOs, inter-governmental organisations, institutions and public, national climate change secretariats will be set up in developing countries under a five-year work programme adopted by the conference, an official release said here today.
Under this programme, education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information and international cooperation will be supported to increase people's understanding of the climate change issues, the release said. Capacity building, to adapt to changes brought about by climate change, in the developing countries and in countries with economies in transition will be assisted to develop and implement cost effective and country-driven approaches in furtherance of the principles of sustainable development, it said adding implementation of the work programmes will require the strengthening of national institutions and capacities and establishment of a mechanism to provide and exchange information.
Under this programme climate change issues will be integrated with the curricula at all educational levels and across disciplines and the third assessment report of the inter-governmental pael on climate change will be translated into various languages for wider distribution.
27) MOOSA WELCOMES OUTCOMES OF CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
South African Press Association
November 3, 2002
Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Valli Moosa has welcomed the outcomes of the Climate Change Conference he attended in India during the past week. Speaking in New Delhi on Sunday, Moosa characterised the conference as a step in the right direction in a concerted effort to combat impending threats of climate change. In a statement issued in Johannesburg, Moosa said the Delhi declaration was significant as it clearly supported the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). "The realisation of the strong linkage between climate change and sustainable development is crucial in ensuring that we reorganise our resources in a manner to meet climate change imperatives in the future." In one of the roundtables chaired by Moosa, the conference highlighted the fact that the outcomes of the WSSD were seen as a means of achieving a dual objective -- of producing sustainable development and climate change benefits. Moosa said the declaration underlined this point strongly, especially for countries such as South Africa that were faced with major sustainable development challenges.
"Also of importance is the fact that the declaration affirms New Partnership for Africa's Development as a key delivery mechanism for the economic and social development of Africa. " This was a clear recognition that the developing countries that would bear most of the adverse impacts of global climate change should be assisted with financial and technological resources for adaptation programmes. The declaration underlined the urgency for parties to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to commit countries to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, as soon as possible. "We need effective policies, both nationally and internationally to achieve the objective of the climate convention. Therefore, entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol is a necessary first step to action on climate change."
28) RICH GAVE IN AT CLIMATE TALKS TO PROTECT KYOTO PACT
November 2, 2002
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Rich countries, led by European Union members, said they agreed not to press poor nations to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases after a disagreement threatened to derail the process of tackling global warming. Ministers and delegates from 185 countries ended 10 days of talks at a United Nations conference on climate change in the Indian capital late on Friday saying all parties had emerged winners. The conference is probably the last major climate meeting before the 1997 Kyoto pact on cutting greenhouse gas emissions is expected to take effect next year.
Industrialised countries led by members of the European Union, Canada and Japan, which went along with a consensus on the declaration at the end of the conference, said the declaration "lacked vision and action for the future" as it failed to include any new commitments on poor countries to cut emissions. The bickering and bargaining between rich and the poor countries stretched the conference beyond its schedule late into Friday night before the wealthier nations gave in. In the end, the Delhi Declaration included technical issues such as methods to measure emission of greenhouse gases, cooperation between the rich and poor countries over climate change and said environmental policies should take economic and social development into account.
The European Union said it would have been "disastrous" if the conference had failed to agree on the declaration. "It would have been a big failure not to have one (declaration)," Thomas Becker, deputy head of the E.U. delegation, told reporters. "A failure would have been disastrous for the Russian ratification (of the Kyoto Protocol)." Becker said the industrialised countries would, however, continue their efforts in the future to get at least some of the wealthier developing countries to make extra efforts to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
"POOR DIDN'T BUDGE"
The Kyoto pact aims to cut greenhouse emissions from the developed world, which produce the bulk of the gases, to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. But it does not yet set emission restrictions for developing countries and some industrialised nations want them to do more. The United States, the world's biggest air polluter, refuses to ratify the Kyoto deal, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy and wants major developing nations China and India included in the any emissions pact. With the United States opposing it, a complex weighting system based on 1990 greenhouse pollution levels means the pact would founder without support from Russia. Despite some domestic opposition, Moscow has backed the treaty and says it may ratify it as early as this year after a debate in Russian parliament.
Developed nations want some of the world's poorest but most populous countries, including India, to do more to cut their greenhouse pollution. But developing countries say doing so could sabotage the very economic growth essential for them to advance to the stage that would allow them to cut output of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, that fuel global warming. Indian Environment Minister T.R. Baalu, president of the conference, said poor countries "did not go back even an inch from their position". "All the parties to the conference are winners," Baalu told a news conference. "There are no losers as far as the Delhi Declaration is concerned."
29) UK UNIMPRESSED WITH CLIMATE CHANGE MEET
November 2, 2002
New Delhi, Nov 2. (UNI): Britain today said the meeting of COP-8 on United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that concluded last night, with the adoption of the Delhi Declaration, was a useful exercise though unspectacular. Margaret Beckett, who led the British delegation at the COP-8, said the issues at stake were neither pressing nor high profile like at Bonn or Marrakesh, but the technical progress made at Delhi will help to make the Kyoto Protocol a success when it comes into force.
The Declaration made important points about setting climate change in the context of sustainable development. It also focussed on the needs of developing countries trying to adapt to climate change.
She said it was good to have agreed upon the statement about the importance of climate change and the international process needed to combat. "Climate change is real and its impact is being seen already," she said referring to the events in Sundarban islands due to the rising sea level.
On the COP-8 success, the British delegation said the main business of the week had been technical moving the Convention and Kyoto Protocol processes forward. Notable progress had been made on putting the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) into operation. The approval of the first report of the CDM Executive Board established at COP-7 showed that the prompt start of the CDM should see projects coming through the system next year. This will result in real investment benefits for developing countries and help developed countries to meet the Kyoto Protocol commitments.
30) DELHI CLIMATE DECLARATION ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY
November 2, 2002
The Delhi Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development was unanimously adopted by 169 countries participating in the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change in New Delhi on Friday. The document focuses on technology transfer and capacity building as demanded by developing nations. After extended negotiations, the key demand of developed countries for inclusion of 'a dialogue on further commitments by developing countries upon entry' in the Kyoto Protocol was dropped.
The demand had met with stiff resistance from China and the Group-77 developing nations, including India.
In the declaration, parties that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol strongly urged parties that have not to ratify it in a timely manner.
The Kyoto Protocol, which commits a country to the principle of multilateralism in addressing and resolving various issues of global concern, was adopted in 1997 and aims at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Welcoming the consensus on major issues, conference president and Indian Environment Minister T R Baalu said, "It provides a new direction to our common approach to combat climate change." The declaration, marking the culmination of ten days of nerve-wracking negotiations and hard bargaining, expressed deep concern over the negative impact of greenhouse gases on developing countries. Seeking to balance the concerns of both developing and developed countries, the document noted that efforts are being made by all to mitigate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
Conceding to G-77's demand, it recognised Africa as the region suffering the most from the adverse impacts of climate change and poverty. An Indian official said the biggest accomplishment of the conference was making the Kyoto protocol's clean development mechanism fully operational. The CDM will channel private sector investment into 'emission reduction projects' in developing countries to promote sustainable development. The conference also concluded three years of work for reporting and reviewing emission data from the developed countries. The meeting also provided guidance to the global environment facility on the priorities for two new funds -- the special climate change fund and the least-developed countries fund.
31) BRUNEI CONSIDERS KYOTO PROTOCOL
November 2, 2002
Bandar Seri Begawan - In a reaffirmation of concern and commitment towards international efforts in addressing climate changes, the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation is preparing for Brunei's accession to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. This will be done based on priorities, taking into account the availability of technical resources at the department's disposal to meet the obligations. Among the obligations would be to undertake a study to produce a national inventory of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases.
On Kyoto Protocol, the department is to view that any international initiative for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions should also involve all industrialised nations, an authoritative source said yesterday. According to sources, domestic action to reduce emission of green house gases should also be an initial prerequisite whilst all offshore reduction through mechanisms under the Protocol should be supplemental to domestic action only. Sufficient financial and technical resources should also be made available to facilitate transfer of new technology, joint research, adaptation programme and capacity building for developing countries. As a country that has yet to realise its full economic and industrial potentials, the department does not wish to see Brunei commit itself to an agreement that would impede its economic growth and sustainable development. At this stage, the department would not welcome any re-negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol that attempts to commit developing countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, especially when not all developed countries have committed themselves to their obligations.
Brunei acknowledges the fact that human activities have led to an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. "We share the concern of the international community that the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere could create potentially damaging changes in climate and local weather patterns," sources added. Brunei through various sectors has implemented measures and programmes that are related to the climate change issue, though not necessarily a response to it. These include forest conservation in which Brunei has been able to preserve its forests that function as carbon dioxide sinks. More than 70 per cent of Brunei's land area is still under forest cover. Brunei Shell has embarked on a programme to reduce emissions from venting and flaring. Continuous venting and flaring is proposed to be eliminated beginning 2003 and 2008, respectively. Through ISO 14001 and its Corporate Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) plan, Brunei Shell has also set energy reduction targets and define energy efficiency programmes. Meanwhile, the government encourages the use of clean and efficient technology by other industries as well as the energy sector. In Brunei, energy is primarily generated from natural gas (which is one of the most efficient and cleaner fuels). Alternative sources of energy are also being explored, notably the use of solar energy for lighting and heating purposes. Vehicle emissions are also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. In this regard, Brunei has continuously been improving its transportation infrastructure, notably improving its road network to reduce traffic congestion. Public transport system has also been significantly improved.
32) SCIENTISTS SAY A QUEST FOR CLEAN ENERGY MUST BEGIN NOW
New York Times
November 1, 2002
Meeting the world's rising energy needs without increasing global warming will require a research effort as ambitious as the Apollo project to put a man on the moon, a diverse group of scientists and engineers is reporting today. To supply energy needs 50 years from now without further influencing the climate, up to three times the total amount of energy now generated using coal, oil, and other fossil fuels will have to be produced using methods that generate no heat-trapping greenhouse gases, the scientists said in today's issue of the journal Science. In addition, they said, the use of fossil fuels will have to decline, and to achieve these goals research will have to begin immediately.
Without prompt action, the atmosphere's concentration of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, is expected to double from pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, the scientists said. "A broad range of intensive research and development is urgently needed to produce technological options that can allow both climate stabilization and economic development,"the team said. The researchers called for intensive new efforts to improve existing technologies and develop others like fusion reactors or space-based solar power plants. They did not estimate how much such a research effort would cost, but it is considered likely to run into tens of billions of dollars in government and private funds. The researchers, a team of 18 scientists from an array of academic, federal, and private research centers, said many options should be explored because some were bound to fail and success, somewhere, was essential. The researchers all work at institutions that might themselves benefit from increased energy research spending, but other experts not involved in the work said the new analysis was an important, and sobering, refinement of earlier projections. As they now exist, most energy technologies, the scientists said, "have severe deficiencies." Solar panels, new nuclear power options, windmills, filters for fossil fuel emissions and other options are either inadequate or require vastly more research and development than is currently planned in the United States or elsewhere, they said.
The assessment contrasts with an analysis of climate-friendly energy options made last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international panel of experts that works under United Nations auspices. That analysis concluded that existing technologies, diligently applied, would solve much of the problem. One author of the new analysis, Dr. Haroon S. Kheshgi, is a chemical engineer for Exxon Mobil, whose primary focus remains oil, which along with coal generates most of the carbon dioxide accumulating in the air from human activities. Still, Dr. Kheshgi said on Thursday that "climate change is a serious risk" requiring a shift away from fossil fuels. "You need a quantum jump in technology," he said. "What we're talking about here is a 50- to 100-year time scale."
Dr. Martin I. Hoffert, the lead author and a New York University physics professor, said he was convinced the technological hurdles could be overcome, but worried that the public and elected officials may not see the urgency. In interviews, several of the authors and other experts said there were few signs that major industrial nations were ready to engage in an ambitious quest for clean energy. Prof. Richard L. Schmalensee, a climate-policy expert and the dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, said the issue of climate change remained too complex and contentious to generate the requisite focus. "There is no substitute for political will," he said. The Bush administration has resisted sharp shifts in energy policy while Europe and Japan have accepted a climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, that includes binding deadlines for modest cuts in gas emissions. At international climate talks that end today in New Delhi, leaders of developing countries rejected limits on their fast-growing use of fossil fuels, saying rich countries should act first. President Bush has called for more research, led by the Energy Department, on many of the technologies examined in the new analysis. But some energy and climate experts said the extent of the challenge would likely require far more focus and money than now exists. Among the possibilities are space-based arrays of solar panels that might beam energy to earth using microwaves.
The panel described various nuclear options, including the still-distant fusion option and new designs for fission-based power plants that might overcome limits on uranium and other fuels. Planting forests, which absorb carbon dioxide, cannot possibly keep up with the anticipated growth in energy use as developing countries become industrialized and as global population rises toward nine billion or more, the panel said. Some environmental campaigners criticized the study's focus on still-distant technologies, saying it could distract from the need to do what is possible now to reduce emissions of warming gases. "Techno-fixes are pipe dreams in many cases," said Kert Davies, research director for Greenpeace, which has been conducting a broad campaign against Exxon Mobil. "The real solution," he said, "is cutting the use of fossil fuels by any means necessary."
33) GOLD STANDARDS FOR KYOTO PROJECTS
November 1, 2002
A conservation charity has launched a new means of assessing emissions reductions projects, offering gold standards for those that are sustainable and particularly beneficial. World Wildlife Fund is awarding gold standards for selected greenhouse gas reduction projects under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI). CDM and JI allow governments and firms to offset their emissions through investment in clean technology projects. The charity launched the scheme at the UN's Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP8) currently being held in Delhi, India. The gold standard was developed by WWF following consultation with environmental, business and governmental organizations. It aims to ensure that CDM and JI projects provide both climate and sustainable development benefits. If designed correctly, argues the WWF, these projects can accelerate the spread of sustainable energy technologies. WWF and other groups are also concerned that the CDM/JI rules contain loopholes that are likely to create projects that have no net environmental benefit. They argue that some projects currently proposed would have occurred anyway and therefore offsets are claimed while emissions continue to increase. The gold standard outlines a series of criteria that should meet, including a clear focus on sustainable energy technologies, additionality and concrete sustainable development benefits. It also requires a high level of public participation, particularly by communities affected by projects. An independent international Standards Advisory Board has approved the standard and will oversee its further refinement.
34) KYOTO PACT BACK ON AGENDA
November 1, 2002
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (IPS) - Ten days of wrangling between rich and poor countries over who should take on the burden of controlling climate change ended Friday with one tangible result: the retention of the centrality of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which binds industrialised countries to curbing greenhouse gases. At one point, it looked as if the Kyoto Protocol would not even find mention in the otherwise unremarkable 'Delhi Declaration' adopted by delegates from 185 countries at the end of the eighth Conference of the Parties (COP-8) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Control (UNFCCC). But a tough stance taken by the European Union, the Group of 77 developing countries and China ensured that the resolution said: ''Parties that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol strongly urge parties that have not already done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in a timely manner.''
On the other hand, EU protests against linking climate change with sustainable development -- some activists say developing nations face more basic and urgent problems that global warming -- was given short shrift. The declaration calls for ''building on the outcomes'' of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in September. Right at the outset, U.S. officials declared that the country would never ratify the protocol and seemed to expend their energies on slowing down the process in whatever way it could. ''If COP-8 failed to make progress on climate change it was because the usual suspects in the fossil fuel lobby, particularly the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, worked to prevent any forward movement, '' said Steven Sawyer, international campaigner for Greenpeace International.
Sawyer said the fossil fuel lobby succeeded in stalling serious discussion on the recently released third assessment report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which called for urgent action and for starting a process to look beyond the Kyoto period that ends in 2012. The declaration's preamble cursorily refers to the IPCC, a scientific body mandated to report to the U.N. on climate change, saying mildly that its findings should be considered in the negotiations process. According to Kate Hampton, spokeswoman for Friends of the Earth International, the United States and Saudi Arabia, by manipulating disagreements, succeeded in driving a wedge between the industrialised countries and the developing countries. ''This has been good for the United States,'' Mexican Environment Minister Andre Avila said of the Delhi Declaration, which the charitable referred to as 'weak' and others as a 'cut and paste' job from earlier meetings.
About the only significant attempt to pin responsibility on the industrialised countries was in the issue of long-term emission cuts. The Delhi Declaration calls for action to fulfill the objective of the UNFCCC, but does not mention whether more countries, including developing ones, might eventually need to take action.
''Once again, the nations of the world have failed to take the steps needed to stop climate catastrophe. Millions of people around the world will pay for their delay, as emissions continue to rise,'' said Hampton. Hampton lamented the lack of preparation by governments for COP-8, while others activists said they were suffering from "conference fatigue" after the WSSD six weeks ago. But among the lobbies that came well-prepared was Saudi Arabia and that, according to Sawyer, was owing to the fact that it could rely on the best brains made available to it by U.S. oil interests. Sawyer said although much was being made on the progress of 'adaptation' at COP-8, the fact was that a ''lot of scientific and analytical work for serious adaptation programmes needs to be done first''.
All that had been thwarted, he said, ''by eternal wrangling over relatively small sums of money''. ''Contentious funding issues have been only partially resolved or deferred, with arguments centreing on the tone of documents and deferral dates rather than substance,'' said Hampton. Another claimed area of progress at the conference was the completion of all conditions for the Clean Development Mechanism, a mechanism that lets developed countries invest in clean technologies in the developing world and earn credits without actually cutting greenhouse gas emissions at home. ''We can start next year independent of whether or not the Kyoto Protocol comes into force,'' said German Environment Minister Jurgen Trittin.
But even here, negotiations on rules for the use of ''carbon sinks'' have been deferred after serious objections on the treatment of forestry and land use by several countries, including India. Trittin counted as progress the fact that reporting rules for industrialised and developing countries could be adopted in the Delhi Declaration and an international programme for public education and awareness agreed upon. He said there were strong indications that the crucial issue of Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and getting it past the critical threshold of accession by countries producing 55 percent of total emissions in 1990 was very strong at COP 8. Some Russian officials however said procedural delays could take another year. ''The fact is that if Russia does not ratify, then it can't sell emission rights to other countries and cant get any money,'' Trittin said.
But the biggest damper preventing the Kyoto Protocol from coming into force as scheduled next year is the United States. Although it is the world's biggest polluter by far, it refuses to ratify it the protocol fear that it would undercut economic growth. ''Our position is that the Kyoto Protocol is not fair, it is not affordable and it is not effective,'' said Paula Dobriansky, U.S. undersecretary of state for global affairs. Developing countries have been spared from cutting emissions till 2012 and are balking at even discussing the subject as the United States and other developed countries are demanding. On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said that climate change mitigation would only ''bring additional strain to the already fragile economies of the developing countries and will affect our efforts to achieve higher growth rates to eradicate poverty speedily''. But the real question that scientific studies and NGOs sought to drive home at COP-8 was whether the whole world, developed and developing, could afford not to take drastic measures to curb climate change, the effects of which were being felt in terms of changed seasonal cycles, freak floods and droughts. A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) study distributed at the conference said that global warming killed more than 9,000 people this year and caused damage worth 70 billion U.S. dollars.
35) POOR COUNTRIES WON'T FACE TOUGH KYOTO TARGETS
November 1, 2002
Developing nations won't be forced to undertake drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions under a compromise agreement reached Friday in New Delhi by environment ministers from 169 countries. The 10-day conference was held to work out the final details of 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which is expected to come into effect next year after ratification by Russia. Canada is expected to ratify the controversial accord later this year while it works toward the completion of an implementation plan. Developed nations, which account for most global greenhouse emissions, wanted a resolution requiring poorer nations to make extra efforts to cut their emissions. But developing countries argue that large greenhouse gas cuts would devastate their economies and undermine the growth needed to eventually cut emissions. "The parties that have ratified the KP (Kyoto Protocol) strongly urged parties that have not already done so to ratify it in a timely manner," the watered-down declaration said.
Under Kyoto's targets, Canada and other large polluters are required to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels. However, developing countries do not presently have targets and many industrialized countries, including Canada, wanted a declaration designed to encourage them to go further. "We all here know the unpleasant fact that without a substantial increase in global mitigation efforts, adaptation to climate change is a race that future generations are doomed to lose," said federal Environment Minister David Anderson, who represented Canada at the conference. "In that regard the third assessment report demands a policy response and our declaration is, regrettably, not such a response," Anderson added. So far, 96 countries have ratified the treaty. The United States and Australia are not supporting the treaty, claiming it would hurt their economies.
36) DISSENT CLOUDS DELHI CLIMATE DECLARATION
November 1, 2002
NEW DELHI, India, November 1, 2002 (ENS) - Negotiators at the United Nations conference on climate change emerged from last minute discussions today with consensus on a final resolution, but there is concern that the heated debate of the past 10 days has resulted in little progress. The flurry of debate over the final declaration illustrates the deep divisions between developed and developing countries, a gulf some believe the United States has helped to widen at the conference in New Delhi. "Once again, the nations of the world have failed to take the steps needed to stop climate catastrophe," said Friends of the Earth International climate campaigner Kate Hampton. "But it could have been worse, given the efforts of the fossil fuel lobby in the Saudi Arabian and U.S. delegations to kill Kyoto."
Environmentalists charge that the United States deliberately polarized the debate between developed and developing countries and spearheaded an effort to undermine progress in New Delhi. The United States refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol or commit to a formal agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions, despite being responsible for 25 percent of the global total. "The Bush administration, working closely with Saudi Arabia, has taken a number of steps at this meeting to obstruct the process," said Jennifer Morgan, director of WWF's climate change program. "They [worked] on a number of fronts to unnecessarily exacerbate tensions between developed and developing countries, sidetrack the science and keep countries from moving ahead."
Some 5,000 attendees from 170 countries attended the Eighth Conference of Parties (COP8) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was intended to provide a framework for moving beyond the Kyoto Protocol. Supporters hope the Kyoto accord, which limits the emission of six greenhouse gases, will enter into force next year. The conference, however, became a backdrop for heated debate over the varying roles developed and developing countries should play in addressing climate change and what commitments they are willing to accept. Delegates from the G77/China group of developing countries discuss the Delhi Declaration. The developing countries are concerned about the costs of mitigation measures such as emissions reductions and believe industrialized countries should shoulder most of the financial burden for climate change.
Although the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions are from industrialized countries, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told the conference, "developing countries will bear a disproportionate burden of the adverse impacts of climate change." When it issued a draft declaration that did not even mention the Kyoto Protocol, India drew the ire of the European Union and other supporters of the protocol. India, China and many of the G-77 developing countries ultimately agreed to language in the declaration stating that parties that already have ratified the protocol encourage others to ratify it in a "timely manner."
But there is no mention in the declaration of how developing countries should approach emissions cutting, something the European Union supported, and no consensus on how to move beyond the protocol, if and when it is ratified.
Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson must justify climate concerns to oil and gas producers before Canada ratifies the protocol. "The text of the declaration significantly lacks action and vision for the future," said EU spokesperson Thomas Becker. The European Union was joined by Japan and Canada in expressing disappointment with the declaration. American negotiators declared that the Delhi Declaration was "a balanced document for future course of action to deal with climate change." U.S. chief climate negotiator Paula Dobriansky maintained the Bush government's anti-protocol position. Charges that the United States inhibited progress at the conference through its refusal to commit to the Kyoto Protocol were brushed off by U.S. government officials. "The Kyoto Protocol is costly, ineffective and unfair," said the U.S. Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky. "It is also impractical and unrealistic. Climate change is a global phenomenon but the developing countries are not participating."
Indian Environment Minister and COP8 president T.R. Baalu, however, called the Delhi Declaration a "win-win" for all 186 members of the United Nations and a "major victory" for developing countries. The Delhi Declaration highlights the need for aid to help developing countries adapt to climate change and recognizes that Africa currently is suffering the most. The declaration agrees to move forward on curbing the emission of refrigerants that are responsible for climate change as well as ozone depletion. One of the conference's accomplishments was making the protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) fully operational. The CDM will channel private sector investment into emissions reduction projects in developing countries, offering industrialized governments credits against their Kyoto targets while promoting sustainable development. The first CDM projects are now likely to be approved during the first quarter of 2003.
German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin said the EU will build a coalition of countries willing to commit to timetables and targets for increasing renewable energy. The conference also concluded three years of work on the procedures for reporting and reviewing emissions data from developed countries. This unprecedented international system is intended to ensure that national data on greenhouse gas emissions are comparable and credible. This system is viewed as vital for safeguarding the integrity of the Kyoto agreement and promoting compliance with its emissions targets.
Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which many believed was imminent at the onset of the conference, looked less certain at the end of COP8. Canada and Russia had both indicated that they would ratify the treaty by year's end, providing the measure of support needed for it to enter effect. Both countries have been hit by debate over the economic effects of the accord, and Russian officials now say it could take at least a year for its government to decide on ratification. The 9th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP9) will be held in Italy in December 2003.
37) UN-BACKED CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING URGES ACTION TO LIMIT GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
November 1, 2002
Senior officials from some 170 countries attending a United Nations-backed meeting in New Dehli today adopted a Ministerial Declaration urging action to stem global climate change. The Declaration stresses that in addition to mitigation, high priority must be given to adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change. It reiterates the importance of implementing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and calls for early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which contains binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Declaration also urges governments to promote the transfer of technologies that can help reduce those emissions. "The New Dehli conference has achieved its main goals of further strengthening international collaboration on climate change while meeting the requirements of sustainable development," said Joke Waller-Hunter, the Convention's Executive Secretary.
The climate change conference, which began on 23 October and concluded today, also adopted a number of decisions related to the Kyoto Protocol. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), one of the meeting's biggest accomplishments was making the Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism fully operational. That structure will serve to channel private-sector investment into emissions-reduction projects in developing countries. The next meeting of the Convention's parties will be held in Italy in December 2003
38) MINISTERS CALL FOR EFFECTIVE ACTION IN LIMITING EMISSIONS AND REDUCING VULNERABILITY TO CLIMATE CHANGE UNFCCC
November 1, 2002
NEW DELHI, 1 November -- Ministers and senior officials from some 170 countries have adopted a Delhi Ministerial Declaration on climate change and sustainable development. It stresses that in addition to mitigation, high priority must be given to adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change. The Declaration reiterates the importance of carrying out all existing international commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It also calls for early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.
The Declaration further promotes less polluting energy and other innovative technologies. It urges governments to promote technological advances through research and development, to substantially increase renewable energy resources and to promote the transfer of technologies that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in major economic sectors, including through public sector and market-oriented approaches. "The New Delhi conference has achieved its main goals of further strengthening international collaboration on climate change while meeting the requirements of sustainable development", said Joke Waller-Hunter, the Convention's Executive Secretary. "Now the spotlight must focus on action to accelerate the transition to climate-friendly economies. Industrialized countries have only 10 years to meet their Kyoto emissions targets -- and the evidence today is that most of them still have a great deal of work to do to reduce their greenhouse gases", she said.
The New Delhi climate change conference, which started on 23 October and ends today, adopted a number of decisions on the institutions and procedures of the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol, which is expected to enter into force in the first few months of 2003, commits developed countries to reducing their overall emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases during the period 2008-2012. One of the conference's biggest accomplishments was making the Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) fully operational. The CDM will channel private-sector investment into emissions-reduction projects in developing countries. In this way, it will promote sustainable development in these countries while offering industrialized governments credits against their Kyoto targets. The first projects are now likely to be approved during the first quarter of 2003.
The conference also concluded three years of work on the procedures for reporting and reviewing emissions data from developed countries. The result is an unprecedented international system for ensuring that national data on greenhouse gas emissions are comparable and credible. This is vital for safeguarding the integrity of the Kyoto agreement and promoting compliance with its emissions targets. The Parties improved guidelines for reporting by non-Annex I Parties of the Convention. These guidelines should substantially improve the quality of reports and be a means of assisting non-Annex I Parties in identifying important needs under the Convention.
Other conference decisions will advance the implementation of the Climate Change Convention. The meeting is providing guidance to the Global Environment Facility on the priorities for two new funds -- the Special Climate Change Fund and a least developed country fund -- that were established last year. These funds will help developing countries adapt to climate change impacts, obtain clean technologies and limit growth in their emissions. Delegates also agreed on improved guidelines for national communications from developing countries. Governments issue these communications on a regular basis in order to share information with others about their climate change policies and activities. Another conference decision established the New Delhi work programme on promoting public awareness, education and training.
The Kyoto Protocol will enter into force 90 days after being ratified by 55 governments, including developed countries representing at least 55 per cent of that group's 1990 CO2 emissions. Ninety-six Parties have ratified, including developed countries accounting for 37.4 per cent of CO2 emissions. Poland and the Republic of Korea announced their ratification at the Delhi conference. The Russian Federation and several other countries are expected to ratify in the near future, pushing this percentage over the threshold. The Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 8) was attended by 5,000 participants from 170 countries and numerous organizations. Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee addressed the meeting on Wednesday, and some 65 ministers from around the world participated in the high-level segment. COP 9 will be hosted by the Government of Italy from 1 - 12 December 2003.
39) ALTERNATIVE ENERGY NEEDED TO CURB GLOBAL WARMING: SCIENTISTS
Xinhua News November 1, 2002
Regulations alone will not curb global warming, an international team of climate experts say. What is needed is the development of alternative energy technologies that permit economic development while simultaneously controlling climate change. In an article to be published in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Science, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and their collaborators evaluated the known advanced energy technologies for their capability to supply carbon-emission-free energy and their potential for large-scale commercialization. During the last century, the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide increased from about 275 parts per million to about370 parts per million. If unchecked, it will surpass 550 parts per million by the end of this century, the article says. Climate models and pale climate data indicate that 550 parts per million of carbon dioxide, if sustained, could eventually produce global warming comparable in magnitude to the global cooling of the last Ice Age. The most effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while continuing to support economic growth and equity is to develop revolutionary technologies for energy production, distribution, storage and conversion, the article states. Some alternative energy sources exist, such as wind power, solar and nuclear fission, but they are more expensive than fossil fuels and therefore less likely to be implemented on a grand scale. "An effective energy policy would not focus on just one of the many possible alternatives," the article says, "There is no clear winner at this time that could fully replace fossil fuels." Another possible approach is sequestration, where carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuels would be collected and stored intrees, oceans and other potential reservoirs. "While carbon capture and sequestration could eliminate the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, the technology is still in its infancy, and much work remains to make it viable," said Atul Jain, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Illinois and a co-author of the article. The message presented in the article is clear, Jain said. "To reduce carbon dioxide emissions and stabilize the climate, we must switch to alternative energy sources. We need to invest in new technologies and make them cost effective." The article concludes: "Combating global warming by radical restructuring of the global energy system could be the technology challenge of the century. Although regulation can play a role, the fossil fuel greenhouse effect is an energy problem that can't be simply regulated away."
40) DELHI CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS LACK URGENCY
November 1, 2002
As the 8th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) comes to a close, WWF is disappointed by the lack of urgency in addressing dangerous climate change impacts such as increased intensity of extreme weather events, coral bleaching and sea level rise. At the first international meeting since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), ministers voiced the need to address climate change as the number one threat to our planet, urging one another to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force. Progress at COP8 was slow, however, due to the efforts by the Bush Administration and its allies in OPEC to undermine negotiations, and a lack of political will from the rest.
"WWF welcomes Canada's further moves towards ratification and calls on Russia to ratify as soon as possible so that the Protocol can become international law," said Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF's Climate Change Programme. "Governments must think hard about the objective of this Convention to prevent dangerous climate change and consider the next set of actions, building on the Kyoto Protocol, if serious climate change impacts are to be avoided." The seeming attempt by the United States and Saudi Arabia to undermine the process was particularly noticeable as the two worked together in a series of well-coordinated steps to cast doubts on widely accepted scientific text (such as many IPCC findings), supporting each other repeatedly in negotiating sessions, and polarizing the North/South debate by actively provoking confusion and dissent.
Contrary to the Bush Administration's domestic message that developing countries must take on commitments, a key element of the Administration's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, negotiators in Delhi stated that developing countries should not take on commitments and mischaracterized others' interventions on this matter. This occurred at a meeting where North/South division did not have to be a major issue, considering that just least year, it was a North/South coalition that saved the Kyoto Protocol. "The Bush Administration, working closely with Saudi Arabia, has taken a number of steps at this meeting to obstruct the process," said Morgan. "They are working on a number of fronts to unnecessarily exacerbate tensions between developed and developing countries, sidetrack the science and keep countries from moving ahead."
Although COP8 was more of a technical meeting requiring fewer political decisions to be taken than previous COP meetings, it was an important milestone in the negotiating process. Key developments occurred on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), whereby developed countries can invest in projects in developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. WWF's concerns about the poor quality of projects were reflected by a number of countries and are likely to be considered by the Executive Board of the CDM. WWF's Gold Standard on Kyoto Projects that provides environmental and social criteria for projects was launched and welcomed by many. Discussions began on land-use change and forestry project rules in the CDM that will be finalized next year.
41) COP 8: THE CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS ENDED WITH A DISAPPOINTING RESULT
Danish Presidency of the EU
November 1, 2002
The 8th Conference of Parties under the UN Climate Convention in New Delhi ended on Friday, 1 November, after 10 days of hectic negotiation. After the conference, the Danish EU Presidency described the result as disappointing. The Director General of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Steen Gade, who headed the EU delegation at COP 8 on behalf of the Danish Minister for the Environment, Hans Christian Schmidt, said after the meeting: "The EU definitely expected the conference here in Delhi to take the global climate cooperation a step forward. Some progress has been made, but in my opinion, far too little." The EU was confident that a start would be made at COP 8 on discussion of the next step in the global cooperation. With the aim of kick-starting the discussions on further commitments to reduce emissions of climate gases after the Kyoto Protocol's first period (2008-2012), the EU Member States have introduced the concept "further action". At the same time, the EU has stood as a clear advocate of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by as many countries as possible in order to get the Protocol into force quickly.
The EU succeeded to some extent in moving the official result of the conference, a ministerial declaration called the Delhi Declaration, in the right direction. It has now been established that the Kyoto Protocol is the first step towards stabilisation of the global climate and that the scientific basis for the discussions shall be the report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. However, there is also a great deal missing from the declaration. Steen Gade says, "There is no reference to what must be done to further reduce climate gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol does indeed make requirements concerning reduction of climate gases, but the requirements are not big enough to enable achievement of the Climate Convention's ultimate objective of stabilising the global climate. The EU therefore wanted agreement that "further action" was necessary, but unfortunately we did not get backing for that."
"The Declaration is very much about the poor and poorest countries' development needs and states that the rich countries of the world must create opportunities for development by transferring technology, knowledge and financial resources. However, the message that we have a common responsibility for the state of the globe, and that that responsibility includes taking the next step towards a necessary stabilisation of the global climate, does not appear as clearly as we might have wished." The EU delegation found itself in a difficult negotiating situation as it gradually became clear that it was not possible to get through with the idea of taking the first step towards a discussion of the future commitments of the parties. The EU had to choose between accepting a less ambitious Delhi Declaration and totally blocking the adoption of a declaration from the 8th Conference of Parties. The latter would have been a feather in the cap of the USA and others who do not recognise the Kyoto Protocol as the framework for international efforts to prevent climate change. The EU therefore chose to accept a declaration that was not as strong as the EU wished. However, the EU succeeded in getting it stressed that parties that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol strongly urge other countries to do likewise.
The EU has promised to contribute USD 80 million to a new climate fund that will be used to help the least developed countries to create national programmes that will help with the adaptation to climate changes. The EU has thus clearly expressed its willingness to bear its part of the financial burden of the developing countries' contribution to the climate cooperation. All in all, the EU and five other countries will support the developing countries with USD 410 million. The EU did not achieve what it had hoped to achieve, but its ambitious line helped to prevent a step backwards in the process towards the final entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol is expected to enter into force within the coming year. "The disappointing result does not alter the positive fact that the EU Ministers expressed the EU's strong intention to drive the climate cooperation onwards. The continuing EU work in this area will help to push things in the right direction. There are grounds for hope."
42) KYOTO PLUS WILL FAIL TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE
November 1, 2002
Climate change abatement will not be achieved without fixed maximum atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, a global emissions budget shared between countries and timetabled reduction targets, according to a new report. The New Economics Foundation's report, Fresh Air: Options for the Future Architecture of International Climate Change Policy, examines eight proposals for structuring the next stages of climate change negotiations, including a continuation of the Kyoto approach. All but one is predicted to fail.
The report says that fixed global concentration targets are needed to stabilise greenhouse gases at safe levels. This entails the agreement of a global emissions budget to be shared between countries. For this to succeed, argues the report, a framework for convergence - where emissions are eventually allocated per capita - will be required to ensure developing countries agree to participate. Uncertainty over what is a 'safe' level in the atmosphere is no reason not to set targets, argues the report, where an initial target level could be modified in the light of new scientific findings. In terms of allocating emissions allowances between countries, the concept of convergence should be used, where a phased target of per capita output would ensure emissions were distributed fairly amongst the world's population.
Timescales are also crucial given the urgency of tackling rising greenhouse gases. The report urges a timetabled framework, with convergence fixed for an agreed date. Using the criteria set by the Foundation, all but one of eight proposals on how to manage climate change will fail, says the report. Kyoto Plus proposals are hampered by a lack of urgency and concentration targets, and also fail to offer an effective framework for bringing in developing countries, says the Foundation. Other proposals, such as Triptych, Price Cap and the World Resources Institute's Carbon Intensity proposal, also fall short. The Global Commons Institute's Contraction and Convergence is the only proposal to match the Foundation's criteria. GCI calls for fixed atmospheric concentrations, equitable allocations as requested by developing countries, and the potential for immediate implementation of a full-term framework. It also meets US criteria for participation, says the report, and its trading provisions would accelerate the development of zero emissions technologies.
43) CLIMATE DEAL DEADLOCK IN DELHI
November 1, 2002
Delegates attending the UN conference on climate change in Delhi are deeply divided over the text of the final resolution. Tough last-minute negotiations continued into the early hours of Friday, the summit's last day, as officials tried to hammer out a deal that all could agree on. Differences between India, the host country, and the European Union (EU) appear to have held up an agreement until now. Although environmentalists protested against US opposition to incorporating the Kyoto Protocol into the "Delhi Declaration", differences between India and the EU are the stumbling block.
India, acting on behalf of developing countries, wanted to put in place a system of funding cleaner technology projects in poorer countries. The EU, articulating the viewpoint of richer countries, demanded talks on future commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by developing countries. Correspondents say the focus appears to have shifted from US interest in preventing the inclusion of the Kyoto Protocol, which the USA has rejected, into the final resolution that should emerge from Delhi. Now, discussions appear to be more polarised along a North-South divide between developed and developing countries
44) INDIA REFUSES TO COMMIT TO CLIMATE CLEAN-UP
October 31, 2002
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's assertion at the global meet on climate change that the plea for extending negotiations beyond the Kyoto Protocol was misplaced did not deter the European Union and several other developed nations from proceeding with the issue. They maintained that the developing countries should also be involved in the mitigation of climate change effects. Ruling out any commitments on the part of the developing countries on the issue of mitigation, Vajpayee said their resource base did not allow them to meet even basic human needs. "Climate change mitigation will bring additional strain to the already fragile economies of the developing countries and will affect our efforts to achieve higher growth to eradicate poverty," he pointed out. Vajpayee argued that the per capita greenhouse gas emission in developing countries was only a fraction of the world average, and that the situation would not change for decades.
Besides, the greenhouse gas intensity of these economies at purchasing power parity was low, falsifying the plea that the emissions of the developing countries was unnecessary for their economies. Vajpayee was addressing the high-level ministerial segment of the eighth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This two-day seminar, coming after intense delegation-level talks, will reflect the political will across nations to implement the Kyoto Protocol. Besides, it will finalise the New Delhi Declaration, containing the outcome of the global meet that is being attended by around 5,000 people. Although the Prime Minister received support from the developing countries, the developed countries, notably the European Union, maintained that the contents of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change were inadequate and that more steps were required in the post-Kyoto period beyond 2012.
"We feel the process of making higher commitments for climate mitigation in the second (post-Kyoto) period must begin now. Although developed countries will have to take on additional responsibilities, the overall effort has to be a global one," said an European Union representative.
There is a growing feeling among the developing countries that the US, Saudi Arabia and Australia are spearheading the developed nations' campaign, forcing the poor countries to take on responsibilities for alleviating climate change. However, there are differences among the developed countries, with the European Union being annoyed at the US for walking out of the Kyoto Protocol. The ire against the US, in particular, was apparent in the statement issued by Greenpeace. "It seems they (the Americans) are here to sabotage, obstruct, weaken and delay proceedings," it said. United Nations framework convention on climate change executive secretary Joke Waller-Hunter, on the other hand, expressed hope that the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol was just a matter of months.
He informed the meet that the first project under the clean development mechanism would be submitted for approval in the first quarter of 2003. World Bank environment director Kristalina Georgieva revealed that the bank had last week signed an agreement with India's Infrastructure Development Finance Company to buy carbon emission credits worth up to $10 million, generated through investment in clean development mechanism-eligible projects. Georgieva welcomed the shift in focus on the adaptation aspect of climate change at the conference, vindicating Vajpayee's stand that concerns of the developing countries regarding vulnerability and adaptation to climate change needed to be addressed.
45) KYOTO ENERGY CREDITS CRUCIAL, ANDERSON SAYS
October 31, 2002
OTTAWA - The development of new energy fields in Canada and natural gas pipelines to the United States may depend on Canada getting credit for clean energy exports to the U.S. under the Kyoto protocol.
Environment Minister David Anderson raised the problem yesterday, talking to reporters from a meeting on climate change in New Delhi, India, where he has been campaigning to get Canada credit for clean energy exports to the U.S. Clean energy credits would allow Canada to count hydro-electricity and natural gas exported to the U.S. as a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
The way the protocol is currently written, a country cannot claim a clean-energy credit for power that is exported to a non-Kyoto country. That means Canada could not get credit for hydroelectric and natural gas exports to the U.S., which has refused to ratify the accord. Nevertheless, Canada has insisted it intends to count its clean energy exports to the U.S., to the annoyance of some of the other countries that have signed the agreement. Under the Kyoto protocol, Canada must cut average emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in 2008 to 2012 to 6 per cent below 1990 levels. That is more than a 30 per cent reduction from emissions projected for 2010 by economists.
Anderson warned that if Canada does not get credit for its clean energy exports to the U.S, this could endanger the development of new energy fields, and plans for new pipelines to carry natural gas to the U.S.
"We've got some pipelines that we're interested in, and we've got the development of new energy fields, and every time we do that, we have emissions," he said. "So we want to make sure that those emissions are counted off, at the very minimum." Anderson said Canada did not expect to get agreement on this at the New Delhi meeting, but that Canada's concerns are increasingly being understood. However, he said, there is a worry that changing it would have a destabilizing effect on the Kyoto protocol itself. "We're keeping it on the agenda, we're continuing to discuss and debate it, and we're hopeful that we are going to, in due course, get it," he said, adding that he hoped for a decision over the next three years.
Anderson told reporters that the reaction of provincial premiers to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's refusal to hold a first ministers' conference before he ratifies the Kyoto protocol had been blown out of proportion.
"This is about the future and about future generations; it's not about right now," he said. "True, some premiers would like to have a meeting, but not many expected it because he's said no previously."
Anderson pointed out that there will be a first ministers' conference in February. "I can't see that the difference between meeting him in December and meeting him in February is night and day," he said. "From their letter they wanted a meeting now - but that's a call the Prime Minister makes. It's his prerogative."
Anderson said that it is not the first time that the premiers have called for first ministers' meetings and that Chrétien has said no. "That's about the only thing that the premiers seem to agree on," he said, pointing out that their 12 principles were extremely general. "On the actual substance of what should be done ... the provinces have not come down, really analyzing the tough parts of our plan. As soon as we got to the tough parts of the plan, where there could be some impact or where there could be some benefit for one region or for one industry, they ran for the hills."There are now 96 countries that have ratified the Kyoto protocol.
46) RUSSIA SEEKS COMMITMENTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
October 31, 2002
New Delhi, Oct 31. (PTI): Russia today fell behind the European Union line and demanded commitments from all member countries of UN Conference on Climate Change to reduce Greenhouse Gases after 2012 when the Kyoto Protocol mandate ends. At a high level ministerial meeting Russia not only indicated at a renegotiation on Kyoto Protocol but also hinted that developing countries take up target reduction in the next commitment period beyond 2012. "There should be an all round acceptability of the Kyoto Protocol by the developed countries based on scientific research and evidence," Russia said at the meeting. Russia had earlier indicated it will ratify the Protocol by the end of this year but is now dilly-dallying saying it will take another year as its senate had to approve it first.
Russia's ratification of the Protocol is of utmost imporatance because only then Kyoto Protocol can come in force completing the reqiured one-third amount of global emissions. Pointing out that adaptation to the adverse impacts of the climate change, on which developing countries are concentrating in this session, is only second to mitigation, Russia said: "There is no future of GHG emission reduction without the active participation of the developing countries now - they need also to see the future prospects." "Even if we ratify the Kyoto Protocol, it will account for only one-third of the developed countries' GHG emissions and make the Protocol of just regional significance instead of global," it said.
47) ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS REDRAW CLIMATE CHANGE DECLARATION
October 31, 2002
NEW DELHI, Oct 31 (AFP) - Environment ministers from around the world meeting at a UN-sponsored climate change conference here framed a new draft declaration Thursday considered a compromise after an earlier version was heavily criticised by the European Union. The new draft makes a clear reference to the Kyoto protocol on global warming, which had earlier been omitted. T.R. Baalu, the president of the eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP-8, said there was no room for more commitments on emission reduction as demanded by some countries earlier in the day. "After taking into account various suggestions and inputs, we have tried to identify areas where there is a clear consensus. "These have been included in the revised proposal of the Delhi declaration on climate change and sustainable development," said Baalu, who is also India's environment minister.
"I feel the declaration is not the opportunity for including new processes and actions which could lead to new commitments or action or the involvement of developing countries in taking additional burden," he added. "What we have done is draw upon and build upon agreements, including those from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (in Johannesburg two months ago)," he said.
The draft urges countries who have ratified the Kyoto protocol strongly to urge other nations to do the same. The United States has not signed. The lack of reference to the Kyoto protocol in the first draft declaration had led to criticism by some countries that India had been influenced by the United States during the drafting. The new draft mentions that poverty eradication and sustainable development are crucial to the climate change problem. It added that the actions against climate change by different countries should take into account their specific conditions and problems of development. Greenpeace International's climate change policy director Steve Sawyer said the draft was very weak. "It is a virtually a cut and paste job done out of old conventions. It does not move us forward. There is no reference to the real objective of the convention. There is nothing here to protect us from dangerous climate change," he added.
He said the draft should at least acknowledge that "much deeper cuts were needed than the initial Kyoto targets."
Officials in the corridors of the venue of the meet said Canada was one of those countries which was not happy with the draft declaration as there was no reference to future emission reduction commitments needed on global warming beyond 2012. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, while opening the high-level ministerial round of talks on Wednesday, said actions on climate change should not lead to developing nations having to commit to similar reduction targets as those of developed nations. The European Union says the Delhi declaration should take into account the need for action beyond the Kyoto protocol's 2012 deadline for the initial commitment made by industrialised countries to cut greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. EU officials claim emission reductions under the Kyoto protocol are not enough to address climate change. Delegates were expected to debate the new draft declaration late into the night. It is due to be adopted before COP-8 winds up on Friday.
48) GLOBAL EFFORTS TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE SHIFTING INTO ACTION, ANNAN SAYS
October 30, 2002
Global efforts to combat climate change are shifting towards realizing existing international goals, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message to a key gathering in New Delhi on the leading treaty designed to address the weather phenomenon. In his message to the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mr. Annan said the gathering "marks a transition in which the focus is increasingly on implementation of what has been achieved." This effort encompasses many factors, including clear commitments by governments, mechanisms to ensure accountability, and the constructive use of partnerships between the public and private sectors, he added.
The Secretary-General called for concerted efforts to reach the goals of the Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, which contains binding targets on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The quest for sustainable development, he said, is essential "if we are to make a long overdue investment in the survival and security of future generations." The Secretary-General's message was delivered by Nitin Desai, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
49) 2002: NATURAL DISASTERS SET TO COST OVER $70 BILLION
United Nations Environment Programme
October 29, 2002
DELHI - Record-breaking rains, triggering devastating floods in Europe, destruction of homes across the Caribbean and life-threatening mudslides in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, have been a key feature of 2002.
Natural catastrophes, the vast majority of which have been weather-related, have cost countries and communities an estimated $56 billion during the period January to September 2002, a preliminary study shows. The final bill for this year's natural disasters could thus be over $70 billion. Typhoon Rusa, which hit the Republic of Korea in late August and early September, downed 24,000 power lines, destroyed 645 ships, resulted in the deaths of 300,000 livestock and cost $6.6 billion, the report says. Meanwhile, insured losses are running at an estimated $9 billion over the same period. For example, the August floods in Europe, the worst in 150 years, flooded buildings, swept away cars, damaged railway, power and communications lines and killed more than 100 people. Insured losses are to date estimated at between $2 and $5 billion.
The findings, announced at the 8th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in New Delhi, India, have come from experts at Munich Re.
The re-insurance company, a member of the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Finance Initiative, has since the 1970s been compiling annual records on natural catastrophes and their costs.
Thomas Loster, a member of the team, said: "There have been over 500 major natural disasters already this year, killing thousands of people, making hundreds of thousands homeless and affecting millions. Many of the atmospheric events we have recorded were extreme." "Rain intensities reached unique values, marking all-time records in the statistics of the meteorologists and climate scientists. There have been, for example, the floods in Chile, Jamaica, Nepal, Spain and France and the summer floods in Germany where annual precipitation averages were reached in the course of only one or two days. We have, once more, strong indications that global warming is increasing and will thus have serious affects on societies and economies alike", he said.
Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director, said: "Climate change, linked with human-made emissions, is already under way. The world is facing a rise in extreme weather events of the kind witnessed in 2002 that will impact on every facet of life including agriculture, health, water supplies and wildlife. It will be the poorer parts of the world, the poorer people, who will suffer most because they have neither the financial or other resources to cope." "The industrialized nations must do all they can to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, the first step of which is to ratify the Kyoto Protocol so it can come into force. However, we must go further and, at the same time, take action to help the poorer parts of the world adapt, to help them cope with the more unstable and more extreme environments likely in the coming decades", he said.
"Adaptation is one of the key themes of the Conference here in Delhi. The meeting does not come in isolation. It comes only weeks after the close of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) where we have been given the clear call to action to fight poverty and deliver sustainable development. We must urgently look at how to marry the issues and actions needed to deal with climate change with the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. We must also see how new funds, pledged in the run up to WSSD, can be harnessed with those agreed under the Kyoto Protocol so as to boost food, water and health security. That is the challenge of delivering sustainable development in a climate-changed world. This is not charity; the richer parts of the world have a debt to pay as a result of the gases they have been pumping into the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. It is high time that debt was re-paid so that developing nations can not only cope but also be helped onto a sustainable economic path, that avoids the mistakes made by industrialized nations", said Mr Toepfer.
He also unveiled a separate report at the meeting, Vital Climate Graphics Africa, which includes simple, clear and no-frill images on the likely impacts of global warming on this continent, including one on the numbers and location of people impacted by natural disasters between 1971 and 2000. The Vital Climate Graphics Africa have been compiled by UNEP's GRID-Arendal in Norway and are available at www.grida.no. The Munich Re report, part of its "Topics" series, says there have been an estimated 526 significant natural disasters in the first nine months of 2002 with the highest in Asia, 195; followed by the Americas, 149; Europe, 99; Australasia, 45, and Africa, 38. Over 9,400 people have been killed as a result, with the vast majority, over 8,000, in Asia. Economic losses are estimated at $56.4 billion with Europe suffering the most. Europe's economic losses for the first nine months of the year from natural disasters are so far estimated to be almost $33 billion followed by Asia, $14.8 billion, and North America, $7.7 billion.
Insured losses have so far cost the industry $9 billion with insured losses in Europe the highest at over $6 billion.
The report underscores the high level of rain-related natural catastrophes. One third of the 526 natural catastrophes in 2002 were floods. In total, there were more windstorm-related natural disasters. But floods killed more people and cost far more than windstorms, earthquakes or other natural catastrophes.
The report estimates that 42 per cent of fatalities; 66 per cent of the economic losses and 64 per cent of insured losses were due to floods. Windstorms, including hurricanes and tornadoes, accounted for 13 per cent of fatalities, 23 per cent of economic losses and 34 per cent of insured losses.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Some Other Significant, Weather-Related, Natural Catastrophes Around the World in 2002:
Between 11 January and 22 February, floods and landslides damaged or destroyed 100,000 houses in Indonesia and killed an estimated 150 people. There were also severe agricultural and infrastructure losses and drinking water was contaminated. Economic losses were an estimated $350 million. Insured losses were $200 million. The winter storm Anna, where wind speeds reached up to 180 kilometres an hour, caused damage to buildings and infrastructure in Germany and the United Kingdom. Three people died and economic losses are estimated at $500 million. Insured losses were $300 million.
Between March and April, parts of Ecuador suffered floods and landslides. 1,500km of roads were damaged or destroyed as well as losses to agriculture and fisheries. Twenty-three people died and economic losses are estimated at $13 million. Spain and the Canary Islands had record rainfall, triggering flash floods, in late March/early April. Houses and cars were damaged and 50,000 people without electricity. Economic losses are estimated at $100 million. Between late April and early May, tornadoes and severe storms hit several states in the United States damaging thousands of homes and killing 10 people. Economic losses are estimated at $1 billion with insurance bill priced at $855 million.
In June, floods and landslides claimed the lives of 500 people in central and west China. 1 .5 million homes were damaged and nearly 600,000 destroyed. There were also severe agriculture and infrastructure losses. The economic cost is estimated at $3.1 billion. Over 60,000 homes were damaged at 10,000 destroyed when floods and landslides hit parts of Russia including Dagestan between mid-June and mid-July. 340 towns were affected and bridges, roads, gas pipes and an oil refinery were damaged. 117 people were killed and economic losses are put at $450 million.
Between July and August, floods and mudslides triggered by record rainfall killed 1,300 people in Bangladesh, Nepal and parts of India including Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and East Bengal. Tens of thousands of villages were flooded and hundreds of thousands of houses destroyed. Twenty-seven people were evacuated or made homeless. One fifth of Bangladesh was affected. Economic losses are estimated at $80 million. The severest drought in a century affected 800,000 people in eastern and northern China, especially in Shandong, between August and September. Economic losses are estimated at $1.2 billion.
Hurricane Lili, which started sweeping over the Caribbean and the United States on 23 September, reached wind speeds exceeding 230km/hr. Oil ports were closed, 500,000 people were evacuated and there have been industrial losses. The economic cost is estimated to be $2 billion with insured losses in the region of $ 600 million.
50) PM WANTS TO RATIFY KYOTO BY END-DECEMBER
October 29, 2002
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Jean Chretien, brushing aside protests from the country's provincial governments, said on Tuesday he intends to ratify the Kyoto protocol (news - web sites) on climate change by the end of the year. The federal government only unveiled its plan for implementing Kyoto last week and the provinces -- which fear potential economic damage -- have called for more consultations before Ottawa formally signs on to the treaty. But Chretien, who has the final say on the matter, dismissed the idea of a delay and said the implementation plan could be further worked on after ratification. "My intention -- as long as something unusual doesn't happen -- is that we will ratify Kyoto before Christmas," he told reporters in French after a cabinet meeting. Provincial energy and environment ministers met their federal counterparts in Halifax on Monday to express concern about how they would meet Canada's Kyoto target of cutting carbon dioxide levels by 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2012.
Ottawa says that, in a worst-case scenario, ratification could cost Canada 240,000 jobs and C$21 billion ($13.5 billion) over a decade. The provincial ministers called for a special meeting between Chretien and federal premiers before ratification, an idea that does not enthuse Ottawa. The chief opponent of ratification is Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, who fears it could devastate the emissions-intensive energy industry in his province. In a speech he gave on Monday, Klein made clear he thought Chretien did not understand the impact Kyoto would have. "When I try to talk to the prime minister, it is not a very intelligent conversation...I get so frustrated and wrapped up trying to talk to him about this," he said. Chretien declined to comment on the remarks
51) 'INCLUDE KYOTO PROTOCOL IN DELHI DECLARATION'
October 29, 2002
The developing countries led by G-77 and China today demanded that the Delhi Declaration on Climate Change (DDCC) must incorporate a call "to urge ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by all parties that have not done so" and inclusion of Africa as the region most suffering from effects of climate change.
In their proposals with respect to the draft DDCC circulated by the President of the Eighth Conference of Parties (COP-8) T R Baalu, G-77 and China also called for a specific mention of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in it. Their proposals which seek major changes in the initial draft want it to be strengthened in terms of adverse affects of climate change and technology transfer to the developing countries.
Taking into account the specific needs and special situations of the LDCs and SIDS, the G-77 and China want adequate steps for adaptation to "adverse impacts of response measures". They also propose the call for full implementation of not only the convention but also Marrakesh Accords on the issue with establishment of "climate cells" in respective focal points of most vulnerable countries and setting up of disaster management centres. Countering the demand that developing countries should also give commitments on reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG), the group wants all parties should take into account their "respective capabilities" while addressing the issue.
The group's proposals stress on transferring of innovative technologies particularly in the energy sector. It is keen on technology transfer but not "through concrete projects" as it wants this transfer to be permanent.
Its particular concern is on financing and wants funding on an assured basis for implementation of adaptation projects. With this end, the Group stresses on implementation of Millenium Goals and Marrakesh Accords. Worried about how the response measures on climate change will affect the peculiar conditions of various LDCs and SIDS, the G-77 asks for support for assessing the consequences of such steps, including the economic, trade and social impacts. On the implementation of commitments by the developed countries under the convention, again the group in particular wants expedited mobilisation of financial resources and development and transfer of enviromentally sound technologies. It has asked for recognition of Africa as the most suffering from the impacts of climate change and poverty and development initiatives such as the New Partnerships for African Development to be supported in context of sustainable development.
52) STOP GLOBAL WARMING OR NY SUBMERGES - GREENPEACE
October 28, 2002
NEW DELHI - By the year 2080, Manhattan and Shanghai could be underwater, droughts and floods could become more extreme and hundreds of millions of people will be at risk from disease, starvation and water shortages. That is the picture that a Greenpeace senior official painted of the future if the world failed to take urgent steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming. "We're talking of about the submergence of islands, submergence of Shanghai, the submergence of Bombay, the submergence of New York City," Greenpeace climate policy director Steve Sawyer told Reuters late last week. "Manhattan would be under water."
Sawyer, who is in New Delhi for a 10-day annual U.N. climate change conference, said global warming would lead to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which in turn would cause a five to seven metre (16 to 23 ft) sea-level rise and the inundation of coastal regions. "Most coastal cities would be uninhabitable in their present forms...and that's a catastrophic change of the shape of continents." Some environmentalists have said that recent climate disasters around the world - from droughts in India, Australia and the United States to floods in Europe - have been graphic harbingers of some of the expected consequences of global warming.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that by 2100 global average surface temperature will be 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius higher than it was in 1990. Sawyer said an increase in temperatures would lead to more extreme droughts and a rise in frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones.
"What these temperature changes are going to do to the hydrological cycle, particularly in the tropics, is not a very pretty picture," he said. Between 2050 and 2080, tens of millions of people would be more at risk of malaria, coastal flooding and starvation and hundreds of millions of people would be at risk from water shortages, he said. Delegates from 185 countries are attending the climate conference, which is likely to be the last major climate meeting before the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is expected to come into force early next year.
The Kyoto Protocol aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the developed world by 2012 to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels. But the United States, the world's biggest air polluter, has refused to ratify the treaty, which it sees as flawed because it does not bind developing countries. It also says it would hurt the U.S. economy. The Earth Summit in Johannesburg earlier this year was widely criticised by environmentalists and vulnerable Pacific nations for barely touching on the problem of global warming. The United States was singled out for criticism.
53) MALTA'S CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECT
Times of Malta
October 27, 2002
The Earth's average temperature has risen by about 0.5°C over the past century. Human activity may be helping to accelerate this process. As a result, climate change may be inevitable. The root-cause of accelerated global warming is thought to be increased levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. While little can be done to control natural emissions, there is international agreement on curbing anthropogenic GHG emissions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) makes it mandatory to publish and make available to the Conference of the Parties, national inventories of anthropogenic emissions of GHGs by sources and removals by sinks. As a committed participant in the UNFCCC, Malta is preparing its First National Communication as required under Article 12. The associated project, the result of close collaboration between the Department of Physics, University of Malta, and the Ministry for Home Affairs and the Environment through MEPA, is funded by UNDP-GEF and started in June 2001. The National Project director is Ing. Ray Piscopo, director of the Environment Protection Directorate, MEPA. Dr Charles V. Sammut and Dr Alfred Micallef from the Physics Department at the University are respectively project manager and national consultant. Other experts are participating in the project, whose main tasks were entrusted to four working groups. Working Group I (National Greenhouse Gas - GHG - Inventory) has compiled a national inventory of GHG emissions for 1990-2000. This is available, along with many other documents and information from the project Website at james.phys. um.edu.mt/climate/. Working Groups II and III, respectively, GHG Abatement Analysis and Strategies, and Vulnerability and Adaptation, have also completed their tasks and presented their findings at a workshop last month. The presentations and associated papers are available on the project Website. Working Group IV has recently embarked on formulating a national action plan to enable Malta to tackle issues of climate change in conformity with the UNFCCC. For this purpose, the "Second National Climate Change Symposium: Towards a National Action Plan" is being held on Friday at the Radisson Baypoint Hotel. The symposium will bring together all stakeholders to discuss the results of the first three working groups and to make suggestions for a national action plan structure, which will form the basis of the final chapter of Malta's First National Communication to the UNFCCC.
54) RUSSIA SAYS WOULD DECIDE ON KYOTO PROTOCOL WITHIN A YEAR
October 26, 2002
Russia, which had earlier indicated that it would ratify Kyoto Protocol by November this year, today said it would decide on it within a year raising speculation that it was adopting wait and watch approach after the United States refused to ratify it. "We have sent the Protocol documents to different ministries for their assessment, as if we decide to ratify it, various domestic laws too would have to be amended and so it will take at least three months to one year to decide over ratification," Nikolai N Pomoshnikov, First Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia told reporters. Accepting that Russia too was facing adverse climate change impacts, Pomoshnikov said "there are floods and avalanches and some warming but the long-term impacts are still not clear and so there is a need to understand the implications of climate change." He informed Kyoto Protocol will be discussed at a special goverment meeting to be convened next month and then will be sent to the Parliament for approval.
Russia also anounced it will hold World Conference on Cimate Change in Moscow between September 29-Octobe 3, 2003. "It will be basically a scientific conference to understand not a political one where, scientists, stakeholders, businessmen and diplomats will discuss the Kyoto Protocol," Yu A Izrael, Chairman of the International Organising Committee said. The Moscow Conference will focus on Future of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the problems of the current and future protocols to the convention as well as possible alternatives to these and the increasing role of developing countries in solving the problem of climate change, Izrael informed.
The Moscow Conference on Climate Change will also discuss Kyoto Protocol and its development, UNFCCC, regional and global climate change - its data and monitoring, climate models and evauation of their reliability, extreme climatic events, and climate change predictions. It will also study the environmental, social and economic consequences of the climate change after the pre-industrial epoch, adaptation and vulnerability, criteria of dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and mitigation of the human induced impact on the climate system through economic approaches.
However, Izrael stressed that "there was no special connection between the Moscow Conference and Russia ratifying the Kyoto Protocol".
55) US REJECTS POSSIBILITY OF SIGNING KYOTO PROTOCOL
Sydney Morning Herald
October 25, 2002
The United States has firmly rejected signing the Kyoto protocol on global warming, saying the damage the treaty would cause to its economy would also hurt developing countries. "It will have the impact of doing significant harm to our economy. We will not sign an agreement just to say that we signed it," Harlan Watson, the senior US climate change negotiator, said on the sidelines of a UN conference in India on global warming yesterda. "There is a very tight linkage between growth in the developed world and the developing world. Every time the US economy is depressed, our imports are also depressed," Watson told reporters. Under the 1997 Kyoto agreement, rich industrialised countries would be committed to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases by a timeframe of 2008-2012. Kyoto is likely to go into effect next year if it is ratified by Russia. The treaty needs to be signed by countries that accounted for 55 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions in 1990.
US President George W Bush, who leads the world's largest polluter, walked away from the pact after he took office last year, sparking widespread criticism. Watson said the United States was committed to reducing greenhouse gas levels, but at sustainable levels. "We don't have to jump off the cliff. Action is required on climate change, not just pieces of paper. We are taking action to do that," he said. Watson said the Kyoto agreement would mean the equivalent of 70 million vehicles going off US roads. The United States has instead said it would reduce its greenhouse gas intensity - or the total level of gas per unit of its gross domestic product - in the next 10 years. The two-week New Delhi conference is aimed at discussing the implementation of the Kyoto protocol. Activists say the location of the New Delhi summit is significant, as South Asia is home to nearly half of the world's poor. Climate change is expected to affect developing countries the most as they lack resources to adapt to changing conditions or to protect themselves from the impact of floods, droughts and other climatic disasters. The developing world produces six times less pollution per resident than the industrialised world, according to the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But poor countries' emissions are increasing 3.5 per cent each year, compared with one per cent for the rich world, and the developing world is likely to account for most pollution by 2020.
56) KEMP URGES GREENHOUSE CUTS
October 25, 2002
AUSTRALIA will focus on urging developing nations to curb global warming as it faces continued pressure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol at New Delhi climate talks. Environment Minister David Kemp is en route to India this weekend for the eighth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 8). His main aim is to gain commitments from developing nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed for global warming. Australia is adamant it will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which is designed to cut emissions, as it stands. The protocol does not yet impose emissions restrictions on developing nations, instead putting the onus on industrialised nations to begin reducing their emissions.
57) GOVERNMENTS PREPARE FOR KYOTO PROTOCOL STARTING Gun
October 25, 2002
New Delhi climate conference to put spotlight on clean technology, adaptation and national action to cut greenhouse emissions. Anticipating that the Kyoto Protocol will come into effect in early 2003, the 185 member states of the UN Climate Change Convention are meeting in New Delhi from 23 October to 1 November to broaden the range of actions available to governments and civil society for addressing climate change. "By the time the Protocol enters into force, developed countries will have less than ten years to meet their Kyoto targets for greenhouse gases," said Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Convention. "The big question now is what practical actions these governments - including those that choose to remain outside Kyoto - are taking to lower their emissions."
The Kyoto Protocol will enter into force 90 days after being ratified by 55 governments, including developed countries representing at least 55% of that group's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions. As of early October, 95 Parties have ratified, including developed countries accounting for 37.1% of CO2 emissions. The Russian Federation and several other countries are expected to ratify in the near future, pushing this percentage over the threshold. "Progress on implementation is vital, and with our annual conference being hosted this year by India I hope and expect that there will be a strong focus on the concerns of developing countries," said Ms. Waller-Hunter. "These concerns include preparing to cope with global warming impacts, accelerating the transfer of climate-friendly technologies, and integrating climate policies more closely with sustainable development."
Recent climate disasters around the world - from droughts in India and the US to floods throughout Europe - have served as potent reminders of some of the expected consequences of global warming. The New Delhi conference will discuss how to build greater capacity, especially in developing countries, for minimizing vulnerabilities and preparing for worsening droughts, floods, storms, health emergencies, and other expected impacts. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, rising temperatures will increase the frequency and severity of heat waves. The intensity of tropical cyclones will likely worsen over some areas. Major climate patterns could shift, leading, for example, to greater annual variability in the precipitation levels of the Asian monsoon and thus more intense floods and droughts. Recognizing that many developing countries will need support to cope with such impacts, governments established an Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol to finance projects and programmes on adaptation.
Developing countries will also need better access to innovative technologies for reducing greenhouse emissions from energy and production. The Plan of Implementation adopted last month by the World Summit on Sustainable Development underlined the importance of developing cleaner technologies in key sectors such as energy. It also called for greater efforts to promote technology transfer, including through the private sector. Another key agenda item is the review of national communications containing emissions and other data from member governments. According to a report being considered at the meeting, the latest available data (2000) reveal that greenhouse gas emissions in the richest (essentially OECD) countries have risen by 8.4% since 1990 (the baseline year for Kyoto targets); this figure excludes sequestration by carbon sinks. Meanwhile, emissions in the economies in transition (Central/Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union) declined by 38% due to economic restructuring. The New Delhi meeting is known officially as the Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 8) and is likely to draw at least 3,000 participants. The high-level segment will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, 30-31 October. Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee plans to address the meeting on Wednesday, plus some 80 ministers from around the world are expected to participate in the high-level segment, thus adding political momentum to the decisions taken by the conference. In Europe, the European Parliament, on 24 October 2002, adopted a resolution on the EU's strategy for the new Delhi conference urging the EU to maintain its leading role in the negotiations and encouraging the COP-8 conference to adopt a decision on a review system for reinstatement for Parties who have dropped out of the scheme. The resolution refers to a previous resolution adopted on 26 October 2000 concerning climate change which stated, in particular, that carbon sinks are scientifically questionable and should be used in conjunction with monitoring and to a limited extent only.
MEPs called on the EU to insist, during the COP-8 negotiations, on the fact that action to combat greenhouse effects, in particular CO2, implies developing renewable energy resources. The House also called on the States that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol to do so as soon as possible and welcomed the Russian Government's political willingness to ratify the Protocol. Furthermore, MEPs called on the US Government to reconsider their decision not to participate. MEPs also pointed out that the Kyoto Protocol will be a completed process and become operational only once the issue of sanction arrangements and dispute settlement procedure is resolved
58) UN: WORLD MAY FAIL TO MEET GREENHOUSE-GAS TARGETS
October 24, 2002Internet: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021024/wl_nm/environment_climate_dc_5
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The world may not meet its targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions under a global pact unless the United States, the world's biggest polluter, reduces greenhouse gases, a U.N. official said on Thursday. If you look at the current policies taken in the U.S., it's unlikely the Kyoto (Protocol) targets will be met," Joke Waller-Hunter, executive secretary of the U.N.'s Climate Change secretariat, told Reuters. The 1997 U.N. Kyoto Protocol on global warming aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the developed world by 2012 to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels. Many scientists say greenhouse gases might cause disastrous global warning. But the United States, the world's biggest air polluter, has refused to ratify the treaty, which it sees as flawed because it does not bind developing countries. It also says it would hurt the U.S. economy. Waller-Hunter, in New Delhi for a 10-day U.N. climate-change conference of delegates from 185 countries, also said not all countries that had ratified the pact were on course to meet their commitments. "At the moment, not all parties are on track. Some do better than they're supposed to and some do less than they should do," she said.
Waller-Hunter said it was vital to keep the door open to the United States to draw it eventually into a common framework. "It's too early to pass judgement because there's a lot of work going on in the U.S. that goes beyond what the federal government committed itself to. We have also to look at initiatives taken by (U.S.) states," she said. "We should never exclude them (the United States) and hope for a more open attitude toward joining a common framework." To take effect, the Kyoto pact must be approved by states accounting for at least 55 percent of the industrialized world's 1990 greenhouse gas emissions.
US REJECTS SIGNING PROTOCOL
Without the United States, a complex weighting system means the pact would be dead without Russia. But Moscow has backed the treaty and says it may ratify it this year, virtually ensuring its implementation. The pact, a result of the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago, was signed by then U.S. President Bill Clinton but his successor, George W. Bush, pulled out of the treaty last year. The United States reiterated on Thursday it would not sign the protocol, saying it would cause significant damage to its economy. "We cannot meet the terms of the Kyoto Protocol that would have the impact of causing significant harm to our economy -- it's just not doable for us," Harlan Watson, senior U.S. climate change negotiator, said on the margins of the climate convention. "We will only agree to make commitments we can meet," he said. "The U.S. has its own plan to slow the increase in emissions... We don't have to jump off a cliff -- climate change is a long-term problem."
Waller-Hunter said it was important to meet the pact's objectives to reduce the risk of natural disasters, such as floods and droughts which threaten to strike both the developing and the developed world. Recent climate disasters around the world -- from droughts in India and the United States to floods in Europe -- have served as graphic harbingers of some of the expected consequences of global warming. "Temperature increases can range from 1.2 degrees and 5.8 degrees depending on the various scenarios but it's inevitable that some climate change will occur," she said.
59) UK CLIMATE CHANGE LEVY STILL THREATENS ALUMINIUM
October 24, 2002
LONDON - Despite changes in the UK's climate change levy covering primary aluminium smelters, downstream manufacturers still face paying the extra tax, Jim Morrison, President of the Aluminium Federation (ALFED) said. In ALFED's annual report, Morrison said that the original climate change proposals in 1999 were amended to cover primary smelters, who are heavy users of energy. The EU is now considering extending this amendment to aluminium recyclers, who still have to pay tax on the energy used to recyle metal - primary producers are exempt from this. "However, many of our members who are engaged in downstream manufacturing of aluminium products will stay pay the levy," he said.
The European Union (EU) climate change levy is imposed on industries that create high levels of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. Under the Kyoto protocol, the UK is committed to cutting its carbon emission levels by 20 percent by the year 2010. Under a subsequent 2001 agreement in the UK, companies who met preassigned emission targets received an 80 percent discount on the climate change levy, although the aluminium industry was not included in this. Morrison said that many downstream manufacturers are about to enter the first cycle of carbon trading. Also, the European Commission (EC) is proposing to introduce carbon trading based on absolute energy consumption. "We see this as another fiscal disincentive to the growth of aluminium, which would otherwise be environmentally beneficial. Ultimately, such an approach will force any expansion of the aluminium industry to be moved outside of the EU." "This will erode the EU manufacturing base and consequently pose a potential strategic threat," he said.
60) US REFUSES TO BUDGE ON KYOTO PROTOCOL
October 24, 2002
NEW DELHI, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The United States reiterated its stand on the Kyoto Protocol, saying it will not ratify the treaty that is aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. "The U.S. will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It won't be ratified today, not tomorrow and not during the first period of commitment," said Harlan Watson, a special representative for the Department of State. Speaking on the sidelines of a U.N. meeting on climate change, Watson said that signing Kyoto protocol would cause irreparable loss to the U.S. economy. "We don't want to sign a treaty that we cannot implement," Watson said. The governments of 185 countries are participating in the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. More than 4,000 delegates and observers have gathered for a 10-day meeting, the first COP summit since November 2001 when delegates completed three years of hectic negotiations on the operational details of the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 climate pact completed last year and endorsed by most of the world's countries. Until early this month, 84 parties have signed and 96 parties had ratified or acceded to the Kyoto Protocol that was adopted at the third session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Japan in 1997. The Kyoto Protocol is aimed at reducing emissions primarily of the developed nations by 5.2 per cent by 2012. India led a call to the developed countries to sign the Kyoto pact without delay. Inaugurating the 10-day conference, India Environment Minister T.R. Baalu said Wednesday that problems associated with climate change have become evident with the rise in temperature beginning to affect the physical and biological systems and frequent floods and drought wreaking serious damage. The Kyoto Protocol is subject to ratification, acceptance, approval or accession by parties to the convention. It shall come into force on the 90th day after the date on which at least 55 nations, accounting for 55 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in 1990, have signed the treaty. The 96 countries that have ratified the treaty account only 37 percent of global emissions. United States, with a 36.1 percent share of global emissions, has often said it won't sign the Kyoto Protocol. However, the Russian Federation with 17.4 percent and several other countries are expected to ratify in the near future, pushing this percentage over the 55 percent threshold. Industrialized countries that have signed the Kyoto protocol are required to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 2012 by more than 5 percent below levels measured in 1990. Watson said that the Bush administration planned to cut emissions with a national goal to reduce the GHG intensity by 18 percent over the next 10 years. However, Debbie Reed of the National Environment Trust said that Bush administration has never presented the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification. "In fact, the Senate has passed two resolutions asking Bush administration to re-engage itself in international negotiations and sign a binding treaty," Reed said. Kara Saul Rinaldi of Alliance To Save Energy said that Bush administration is also opposed to the three clauses referring to the Climate Change in the Energy Bill that is pending before the Senate that is trying to merge the Energy Bill of the House and the Senate.
But Watson said the climate change clauses in the Energy Bill are not in consistent with the energy policy spelled out by President Bush. A statement issued by the United States said that to increase the amount of carbon stored by America's farms and forests, the United States would invest up to $47 billion in the next decade for conservation on its farms and forestlands. "This partnership with farmers and small landowners will help protect land, water, and air, secure and enhance habitat for wildlife and greatly expand opportunities to store significant quantities of carbon in trees and the soil, as well as promote other activities to mitigate GHG emissions," the statement said. But environmental groups say the developed countries, especially the United States, producing majority of greenhouse gases will continue to avoid the protocol. "It is not the Senate but the Bush administration that is coming in way of the Kyoto protocol," Kate Hampton of the Friends of Earth International said. Hampton charged that Bush administration is pleasing the U.S. oil industry by walking out of the protocol, which the Clinton administration had agreed to. The non-governmental organizations at the UNFCCC meeting awarded "Fossil of the Day" award to the United States for being the worst delegation of the day. Hampton said that Washington was chosen for the award since it highlighted its energy policy, which is based on fossil fuels and nuclear power that contribute to the greenhouse gases. Canada was chosen for the second worst delegation for continuing to harp on getting credit for exporting gas to the United States that leads to less consumption of coal by the United States.
61) BEYOND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: CLIMATE TALKS OPEN IN INDIA
October 23, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC, October 23, 2002 (ENS) - World leaders have gathered in New Delhi, India to discuss climate change initiatives that move beyond the Kyoto Protocol, despite continued U.S. opposition to the agreement. The meeting, which began today and continues through November 1, comes in the wake of recent announcements of support for the Kyoto Protocol by Russia and Canada. Impending ratification by Russia and Canada will bring the international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions into effect in early 2003. The United States and Australia are the lone holdouts amid the 39 original parties. Both have refused to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol based on concerns over its economic impact.
The United States is responsible for almost 25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and environmentalists question how a global initiative on climate change can succeed without American support.
"By the time the Protocol enters into force, developed countries will have less than 10 years to meet their Kyoto targets for greenhouse gases," said Joke Waller-Hunter, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). "The big question now is what practical actions these governments, including those that choose to remain outside Kyoto, are taking to lower their emissions." Members are meeting in New Delhi for 10 days for the Eighth Conference of the Parties (COP-8) to the UNFCCC. Under the Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the UNFCCC, 37 industrialized nations have agreed to cut their emissions of six greenhouse gases linked to global warming: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride.
Thirty-nine nations were to have been governed by the original agreement signed in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, but the Bush administration in March 2001 said that the United States would not ratify the protocol, and earlier this year, Australia followed suit. The U.S. and Australia have argued that the Kyoto Protocol's focus on curbing emissions from industrialized nations, with developing countries asked to cut emissions later, placed an unfair burden on companies based in industrial countries. At the COP-8 meeting, a strong focus on the concerns of developing countries is expected, Waller-Hunter said. Topics will include preparing to cope with global warming impacts, accelerating the transfer of climate friendly technologies and integrating climate policies more closely with sustainable development. Environmental groups applaud a focus on helping developing nations, but insist that the developed world must show greater leadership.
"We should not be satisfied with a haphazard round of commitments by governments," said Kevin Baumert, coauthor of a new World Resources Institute report on climate change. "The dangers of climate change are too great and they fall disproportionately on the world's poor." The report's 17 authors from nine countries warn that the weak leadership from industrialized countries and the repudiation of the Kyoto Protocol by the United States could jeopardize any new efforts to address climate change. The report details seven approaches to climate protection, all building on the original Kyoto Protocol. Under the Protocol, ratifying nations agree to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide to an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels during the five year period 2008 to 2012. For the Kyoto Protocol to take effect, 55 governments, including developed countries representing at least 55 percent of that group's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions, must ratify the treaty.
As of early October, 95 parties had ratified, including developed countries responsible for 37.1 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Canadian and Russian ratification, expected in early 2003, will push the level of support for Kyoto above the necessary threshold for implementation. Russia accounted for 17.4 percent of global 1990 carbon dioxide emissions and Canada was responsible for 3.3 percent. In comparison, the U.S. accounted for 36.1 percent of the world's carbon emissions, and Australia contributed 2.1 percent.
Despite its lack of support for Kyoto, the U.S. will be following protocol issues at the New Delhi meeting, said Harlan Watson, senior U.S. climate negotiator and a leading member of the U.S. State Department delegation to the talks. "We're certainly not going to interfere, but we will be watching very carefully, obviously to protect our national interests," Harlan said.
Emissions trading will also be a hot topic at the conference, as members discuss the role of economic mechanisms to help developing countries absorb the costs of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The conference is scheduled to adopt operating rules for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a tool to finance projects in developing countries that reduce the manmade carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. These projects could include funding for carbon sinks - forest tracts or agricultural areas where growing vegetation absorbs carbon dioxide. Investment in these sinks could earn companies and nations carbon credits, allowing them to make fewer emissions cuts to meet the Kyoto Protocol's requirements - a concept that has generated a great deal of controversy. Environmental groups argue that effective CDM guidelines must generate new and additional carbon dioxide emission reductions, or promote investment in clean, renewable energy technologies. "To fulfill their responsibility in addressing the problem of global warming, governments must act decisively to improve the rules and ensure the environmental quality of the projects undertaken," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) climate change program. "It is New Delhi that will be remembered for either setting the Clean Development Mechanism, science and carbon sinks on the right track or creating bad precedents and stalling the debate while the earth continues to warm."
The emerging market for carbon credits is detailed in a new report from the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report outlines a set of strategies and methods for climate change mitigation measures that can also deliver sustainable development benefits. It will be presented at the conference but the IUCN is determined to showcase its ideas as a complement to, not a replacement for, emissions cuts. "Energy consuming sectors need to significantly reduce their emissions and this should be the most important undertaking of both governments and the private sector," said IUCN Director General Achim Steiner. "Efforts to reduce emissions should not be replaced by forestry or other land use activities that sequester carbon, thereby reducing greenhouse gases."
For more information on the World Resources Institute report on climate change, visit: http://pubs.wri.org/pubs_description.cfm?PubID=3762
For more information on the IUCN/UNEP report on mitigation measures, visit: http://www.iucn.org/info_and_news/press/carbonfpb.pdf
62) DEVELOPING NATIONS URGE RATIFICATION OF KYOTO PROTOCOL AT INDIA CONFERENCE VOA
October 23, 2002
Emissions by poor countries are increasing 3.5 percent each year compared to one percent for the developed world. A U.N. conference aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions to levels outlined five years ago in the Kyoto protocol has opened in New Delhi. One hundred eighty-five countries are participating in the 10-day meeting. U.N. experts and environmental scientists attending the conference say recent weather catastrophes around the world are directly linked to climate changes. They point to this year's widespread drought in India and the floods in Europe to stress that countries must act to reverse global warming before it is too late. So-called greenhouse gases are blamed by some scientists for causing what they see as global warming. The developed countries produce a majority of these gases, according to the United Nations.
So-called greenhouse gases are blamed by some scientists for causing what they see as global warming. Michael Williams of the U.N. Environment Program says there are widespread concerns that most countries are not moving fast enough to meet greenhouse gas emission targets set during the Kyoto, Japan climate conference. The Kyoto Protocol required industrialized countries to cut these emissions by an average of 5.2 percent from 1990 levels.
"Most governments have still to do quite a bit more. If they just stay in their current paths, they will miss their targets. So indeed it is 2002 at the moment, these targets come into effect in six short years, 2008 and 2012, so most governments have to take further action if they are going to hit those targets," Mr. Williams said. Developing countries, led by India, are urging western nations to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as quickly as possible. They say the change in weather patterns is hurting millions of poor people, who are the most vulnerable to disasters such as floods and heat waves. The New Delhi conference is also focusing on the urgent need for developing countries to switch to cleaner technologies. Emissions by poor countries are increasing 3.5 percent each year compared to one percent for the developed world, and could account for most pollution in less than two decades.
Noted Indian environmentalist R.K. Pachauri heads the Tata Energy research Institute. He says clean technology involving the use of alternate fuels must be made available to developing countries at a cheaper cost. "One realizes there are intellectual property rights, which are held by the private sector, but governments can certainly facilitate the transfer of these technologies, and I am talking about the developed country governments - which may involve a cost. But that is a cost that will bring enormous benefit at the local level in developing countries and also at the global level because it would help to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But to be honest, very little has happened in this area," Mr. Pachauri said. More than 90 countries, including India, have signed the Kyoto agreement. The United States has refused to ratify the Treaty, saying it will hurt the U.S. economy. U.N. experts are urging all nations to come on board, saying the long-term costs of refusing to halt environmental degradation will be very high.
63) IMPLEMENT KYOTO PROTOCOL BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE
October 23 2002
New Delhi - A high-powered United Nations conference on climate change opened on Wednesday with a call for all countries to implement the Kyoto protocol on global warming before it is too late. "We must bring into force the protocol without delay," said T R Baalu, India's environment minister, who was appointed conference president on Wednesday. "The rise in temperature is already beginning to affect physical and biological systems," Baalu told environment leaders from 185 nations. Baalu said the impact of climate change will be most felt in developing countries, as global warming would aggravate poverty and increase hunger through a rise in food prices.
'Those with the least resources have the least capacity to adapt and are the most vulnerable'. "But developed countries are required also to demonstrate their lead role in modifying longer-term emission trends, and in this respect they are committed specifically to adopt mitigation policies and measures," Baalu said. "Those with the least resources have the least capacity to adapt and are the most vulnerable." The two-week conference in New Delhi will discuss the implementation of the 1997 Kyoto protocol on global warming.
The agreement is expected to come into force next year after being ratified by Russia. Kyoto is opposed by US President George Bush, who leads the world's largest national polluter. The Bush administration says the agreement unfairly targets major economies. Mohamed Elyazghi, the outgoing president of the convention, urged all nations to sign up for Kyoto. - Sapa-AFP
64) INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES MUST SET A GOOD EXAMPLE AT COP8The Mainichi Shimbun,
October 22, 2002Internet: http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/archive/200210/23/20021023p2a00m0oa026000c.html
The Eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP8) will be convening in New Delhi, India from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1. At COP3 in 1997, the advanced industrialized countries adopted the Kyoto Protocol, which obliged them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. At COP7 last year, the rules for implementing the Kyoto Protocol were agreed upon. Hoping to take a first step toward preventing global warming, Japan and the members of the European Union tried to put the Kyoto Protocol into effect before the World Summit on Sustainable Development convened in South Africa this summer. However, the advanced industrialized countries failed to meet this deadline because Russia was late in ratifying the treaty, and are likely to miss their next target date (the end of this year), so the Kyoto Protocol will not take effect until next summer at the earliest. Due to these delays, the prospects for curbing global warming are not bright. The debate on clean development mechanisms, which will allow the advanced industrialized countries to satisfy part of their greenhouse gas obligations by carrying out emission reduction projects in developing countries, is unlikely to arouse much enthusiasm. The U.S., the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases, has walked out of the Kyoto Protocol. The developing countries, whose output of greenhouse gases is expected to surge in coming years, have thus far not been willing to take on the burden of reducing emissions. And Japan will not have an easy time in meeting its emission reduction target of 6 percent. Since Japan's greenhouse gas output was 8 percent above 1990 levels in 2000, Japan would have to slash its emissions by 14 percent in order to comply with the Kyoto Protocol. And Japan's new scheme for fighting global warming may not be viable. The scheme had envisioned that nuclear power plants, which generate electricity without emitting carbon dioxide, would be the trump card, and assumed that 10 to 13 new nuclear reactors would be constructed by 2010. But the construction of new nuclear power plants has ground to a halt as the public has grown deeply suspicious of nuclear power. In fact, doubts have been raised as to whether existing nuclear power plants will remain in operation. One could say that Japan's policy for fighting global warming has collapsed, and there is an urgent need for a complete overhaul. The global warming scheme had divided the period from 2002 to 2012 into three stages. The Environment Ministry had intended to implement a tax on fossil fuel consumption, and a global warming tax to promote energy efficiency, and the use of energy-saving technology, between 2005 and 2007, but it is now imperative that these taxes be rolled forward. Global warming is gradually worsening, and there has been a rash of abnormal meteorological phenomena around the world in recent months. It is only a matter of time before rising sea levels begin to affect island nations. It has become even more critical to implement effective policies for fighting global warming at an early date. Japan needs to reinforce its domestic programs, no matter how painful, and urge the U.S. to rejoin the Kyoto Protocol. At COP8, the advanced industrialized countries must set a good example in order to encourage the developing world to take on the burden of reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions.
65) THE ADAPTATION COP by Dr Saleemul Huq
November 15, 2002
Dr Saleemul Huq is Director, Climate Change Programme, of the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and chairman, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS). The just-concluded climate change convention in New Delhi saw the Kyoto Protocol inch closer to coming into force, writes Dr Saleemul Huq, as he analyses the Delhi Declaration and explains its implication for a least developed country like Bangladesh.
The eighth conference of parties (COP8) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in New Delhi, India from October 23 to November 1 and concluded with the Delhi Declaration and some agreements on the issue of adaptation to climate change. The significant issue discussed at the conference and their outcomes, especially for Bangladesh, are discussed below.
Kyoto Protocol The details the Kyoto Protocol were finalised and agreed at the seventh conference of parties (COP7) in Marrakech, Morocco in November last year. It was expected that by the COP8 the Kyoto Protocol would have come into force (it requires ratification by at least 55 countries who collectively account for at least 55 per cent of global emissions of greenhouse gases to come into force as a legally binding international treaty). With the withdrawal of the United States of America (USA) from the Kyoto Protocol it was always going to be difficult to reach this target (as the US alone accounts for a quarter of global emissions). However, it is hoped (and expected) that the target will be reached within the next few months (when Canada and Russia are expected to ratify, thus taking the total emissions over the 55 per cent-mark). The COP8 was successful in putting in place the procedures for the operation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol, which enables developing countries to benefit financially through projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Already many CDM projects are being undertaken in many developing countries (although Bangladesh has yet to have any) and it is expected that the market for such projects may hit several million dollars within a few years.
The issue of adaptation to climate change has been raised by the developing countries for some time and at COP7 in Marrakech several new funds were created to support activities on adaptation in developing countries. These include (i) the LDC fund for the least developed countries, (ii) the special climate change fund and (iii) the Adaptation fund under the Kyoto Protocol to use the proceeds of the "adaptation levy" placed on all CDM transactions. At COP-8 the issue of adaptation was given major significance by Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in his inaugural address as well as in the final Delhi Declaration. As a result of all this attention in Delhi, COP8 was being referred to (unofficially) as the "Adaptation COP". This has led to the recognition that while efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be continued (and indeed strengthened) there will still be some climate change for which the poor countries will be most adversely impacted-hence the need for them to undertake adaptation to climate change.
LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
The LDCs (consisting of 46 of the world's poorest countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa-but also in Asia- including Bangladesh) have only become an effective grouping with the larger developing countries group (which is called "G77 and China") in recent times and were quite effective in getting the new LDC Fund created at COP7 in Marrakech. Since then the LDCs held a very successful meeting in Dhaka in September 2002, hosted by the government of Bangladesh. At this meeting the LDCs launched the procedures for them to carry out national adaptations programmes of action (NAPAs). This was appreciated as a significant development at COP8 and the LDCs continued to be effective in the negotiations.
One of the major issues remaining to be discussed is how the developed countries (who have accepted national targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions) will enhance their reduction targets after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (which runs till 2008-2012). It also includes issues like how the developing countries can also join the Kyoto process to reduce their own emission and most importantly the role of the US who have still remained outside the Kyoto Protocol. These issues were not resolved at COP8, but informal discussions have begun and formal discussion is due to start from 2005.
Although the new funds created in COP7 in Marrakech in 2001, are only to be filled through voluntary contributions (and so far only the LDC fund has received around 10 million Dollars from Canada-while the special climate change fund has been promised around 400 million dollars a year starting from 2005), nevertheless COP8 was able to reach some agreement on how the funds would be used and operated. Thus they will be operated by the global environment facility (GEF) under guidance from the conference of parties of the climate convention and the LDC fund is being used, in the first instance, to assist all the LDCs to carry out their respective NAPAs. These are expected to be completed within the next year or two and will help the countries identify priority actions needed for adaptation to climate change.
FUTURE PROSPECTS AND ISSUES
In coming years the major debate will revolve around the role of developing countries in reducing emissions and how the targets (or pollution rights) will be distributed. One major argument put forward by the developing countries is that since the atmosphere is a common heritage of all mankind, the right to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere should be distributed on a "per capita" basis. This would mean that countries with high populations and low emissions (such as Bangladesh) would have high levels of unused permits to emit which could then be sold to countries with high emissions but low population (such as the developed countries). This argument (which is still not accepted in the negotiations yet) would make a significant difference for Bangladesh (as it would potentially be worth more than all the development assistance being received at present).
By hosting the first major LDC meeting in Dhaka in September, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Bangladesh has made a significant contribution to the cause of raising both concerns about impacts of climate change on the poor countries and also staked leadership role within the LDC group. This position needs to be consolidated through active involvement in future international negotiations as they unfold (in particular to push for the "per capita" allocation of emission rights). This will need capacity building of the Bangladesh negotiating team (including both government officials as well as other experts). At the same time Bangladesh needs to identify projects (and put in place the necessary government approval systems) to enable it to benefit from the CDM projects.
On the adaptation front Bangladesh also has a major role to play by virtue its recognised strengths in this field. It needs, therefore, to carry out its NAPA as quickly and well as possible, while also offering assistance to other LDCs to prepare their own NAPAs. Thus Bangladesh could get a significant portion of any further funds on adaptation to not only assist actions within Bangladesh but also to assist other LDCs. This will require Bangladesh to harness its existing capacities in both the government as well as non-government sectors to enable it to prepare its own adaptation plans and help others as well.
Thus, although climate change will mean considerable adverse impacts on a country like Bangladesh, nevertheless there are opportunities to both prepare the country to meet the impacts through adaptation as well as to play a more significant role in the international arena based on the considerable existing capacities that have already been built in the country over the last few years. However, it will require the requisite political will at the highest levels to make this happen.
66) LABOUR IS PRO-KYOTO, IF ONLY . .by Hassan Yussuff
The Globe and Mail
November 12, 2002
Hassan Yussuff is secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress. Working people know that ratifying the Kyoto Protocol is the right thing to do. We know that we are only borrowing the future from our children and we care deeply about their health and the environment we will leave behind. It's the right thing to do, but it won't be easy. While the direct impacts of Kyoto on the economy and jobs will be modest, moving to a more sustainable economy means real costs, which must be recognized by governments in a "Just Transition" plan.
The near hysteria in some business and political circles over Kyoto's estimated economic impacts and job losses is self-serving, but has also been fuelled by Ottawa's failure to come up with a detailed implementation plan. Ratifying Kyoto means we must reduce emissions, not that we must follow a particular path to that goal. It's misleading for Premier Ralph Klein and the oil and gas industry to assume that the burden falls on them. A sensible plan requires greater energy efficiency of all industries -- and households, too. Economic models that make reasonable assumptions, such as the introduction of a national emissions-trading system and Canadian purchase of international emissions credits, find that a probable negative impact is in the order of 1 per cent of GDP, a decade from now -- not a huge price to pay given the huge costs of climate change. Some models suggest we may even be better off, because reducing emissions will save money for many businesses. Either way, we must act at some point, and there are economic advantages to getting out ahead of Washington.
When it comes to jobs, there are grounds for real optimism. Many models find that the job gains will exceed job losses. While energy-intensive industries are also very capital-intensive and provide few direct jobs, Kyoto will boost labour-intensive green industries. A sensible implementation plan will reduce emissions by expanding public transit systems, retrofitting houses and commercial buildings for greater energy efficiency, introducing tougher building codes, switching from coal to gas for electricity generation, investing in renewable energy sources, producing more efficient vehicles, modifying industrial processes, and so on. Public and private investment needed to switch to a less wasteful and more energy efficient economy will create jobs, lots of jobs. That said, there will be transition costs. With no implementation plan, we don't know what they'll be. But emissions caps on the primary energy sector are probable, and could mean slower development of the oil sands and non-conventional oil and gas reserves. Very energy-intensive industries, such as iron and steel, could face higher costs and reduced production if the U.S. continues to do nothing about climate change. The Canadian Labour Congress and major Canadian unions, including the biggest in the energy sector, say we should ratify Kyoto, while ensuring that fully funded transition policies for workers are put in place. While job gains will likely outweigh losses, we'll need to retrain workers, help them move to expanding sectors, or compensate them for job loss or lower wages. If we implement Kyoto wisely, the burden of emissions reduction will be gradual and equitably shared. If we do it badly, workers and some regions will suffer. We should ratify -- keeping the impacts on workers and their families in mind in deciding how we meet our targets. A "Just Transition" must be a central to the Kyoto implementation plan.
67) PUTTING A PRICE ON THE FOREST
Latin America press.org
November 10, 2002
Interview: Ecologist Philip Fearnside
One way to encourage sustainable use of rainforest is to demonstrate the value of preserving it compared to the value of other land uses, such as agriculture. Experts speak of the "services" the forest provides - including its role in the hydrological cycle, biological diversity and absorption of carbon or avoidance of the release of carbon dioxide that would result from burning and clearing. Credits for avoiding carbon dioxide release came under discussion in negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, as carbon dioxide is a principal factor in the greenhouse effect. Ecologist Philip Fearnside, a US-born research professor at the National Institute for Amazon Research Institute, based in Manaus, Brazil, has worked for 26 years on Amazon issues. He spoke by phone with Latinamerica Press associate editor Barbara J. Fraser.
HOW DO YOU CALCULATE THE VALUE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES?
In the case of Amazonia, I talk about three classes of services - maintaining biodiversity, maintaining the water cycling functions of the forest and avoiding global warming. The carbon [global warming] part has progressed by far the most in terms of international negotiations. Biodiversity is further behind. The biodiversity convention has made some progress on agreeing about who has rights to biodiversity, but it doesn't have [incentives] for countries to maintain forests to preserve biodiversity. I've been working on quantifying in terms of willingness to pay. [Other people are] trying to figure out what the damages would be of losing different services - if you lose a forest, you lose watershed functions and other things. In global warming, you have a certain carbon stock. In the case of Amazonia, you have a water cycling function. But the value of the damages is much higher than what people are actually willing to pay.
WHICH COUNTRIES ARE MOST ADVANCED IN THE AREA OF ENVIRONMENTAL CREDITS?
Costa Rica and Bolivia are very anxious to have credit for carbon. Colombia is also interested. Costa Rica's the most advanced.
WHY IS PLACING A VALUE ON THE HYDROLOGICAL CYCLE SO IMPORTANT FOR BRAZIL?
A substantial amount of the south-central part of Brazil - São Paulo and places like that, where most of the country's agriculture is located - depends on water that comes from the Amazon rainforest. It's also important for hydroelectric dams in that part of the country. Brazil's population is very unevenly distributed, very much along the coast, and the Amazon is sparsely populated. But those other places, which have much more political weight than Amazonia, also depend on [Amazonia]. If you cut down the forest and turn it into a cattle pasture, you're going to have less water [in the south-central area]. In the last year, there was a lot of rationing of electricity in Brazil because there wasn't enough water in the hydroelectric dams (LP, June 11, 2001). That sort of problem is going to get worse if you keep on with deforestation.
HOW HAS BRAZIL INCORPORATED WATER CYCLING INTO NATIONAL POLICY? Brazil has made a lot of official statements about how deforestation is to be forbidden or reduced, but it hasn't actually happened. You have to be able to take some political risk. It would be worth much more than timber and even soybeans if you could get credit for avoided deforestation. Roughly 200 tons of carbon are avoided for every hectare of forest if you don't deforest it. At US$20 a ton, that's about $4,000 a hectare. That land is selling for $30 a hectare. [With a credit for avoided deforestation] you wouldn't get huge amounts of money, but you would get more than you would by cutting down the forest.
HOW DO YOU BEGIN TO PLACE A VALUE ON BIODIVERSITY FOR CREDITS OR TAX INCENTIVES? [Instead of] figuring out what all of these medicinal compounds and so forth are really worth, I try to figure out what people are willing to pay to maintain forests. There is a law of diminishing returns; people will pay a lot for some small areas, but you can't extrapolate that to huge areas like the Amazon. I've used a number from political scientists who are writing about this; it's about $20 per hectare per year.
THERE ARE OTHER FACTORS, THOUGH, LIKE CONTINUITY OF THE FOREST AREAS, AREN'T THERE? If you cut down the last hectare of Atlantic forest, you have a tremendous loss of biodiversity, even though the impact on global warming is the same as cutting down a hectare in the Amazon. But in the Amazon, where you've still got a lot of forest left, for each hectare that you cut down now, you don't lose as much biodiversity.
GIVEN THE CURRENT SITUATION, ARE INCENTIVES FOR AVOIDING DEFORESTATION FEASIBLE? Some people think that deforestation is basically out of control. [But] in the last year, information from Mato Grosso has been showing a response to government programs to control deforestation.
WHAT MAKES THAT PROGRAM SO SUCCESSFUL?
They have a satellite monitoring system, and they're advancing on getting all the properties into a geographical information system so they can see what areas are licensed to be cleared and which aren't, where the clearing was, how many hectares were cleared illegally, and so forth, by property, not just totaled by state. And then they go out and catch people who are doing it illegally. It's set up so you don't have corruption and political influence, which is at least as important as the mechanics [of the system].
68) WHAT WAS NEW IN DELHI by Duane D. FreeseTechcentralstation
November 6, 2002
The steam appears to be running out of grandiose global eco-summits. And even some environmentalists can be heard to sigh, "Good riddance." Last week in New Delhi at the eighth United Nations climate conference, developing countries stood against the European Union's notion of climate control, essentially saying they prefer to put their economic development first. India's Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as reported in The New York Times, argued that poorer countries could not be expected to invest in expensive efforts to curb their production of greenhouse gasses. With India, China and most of the other developing nations (in concert with the United States) opposing language demanding actions that would curtail future fossil fuel use - the cheapest and only feasible source of energy for most emerging economies - Europe backed down. It signed on to a compromise that recognized economic development as a priority. More importantly the conference set no deadlines or timetables for curbing emissions.
Thus, only a fig leaf remains of the global emissions control regime that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol would have imposed upon the United States and other developed nations. Kyoto, negotiated by then Vice President Al Gore, called on the United States to reduce its greenhouse emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, by 7 percent from 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. This was to be part of a 5.2 percent worldwide reduction. President Clinton, though, never submitted the protocol to Congress for ratification. Why? Because he knew it would be overwhelmingly rejected. His own Energy Department estimated that it would cost the U.S. economy $300 billion a year if implemented. Furthermore, developing nations, where most growth in future greenhouse gas emissions will originate, were left out of Kyoto's restrictions, making the effort all economic pain for developed countries with no likely real gain for the environment.
For those reasons, President George W. Bush ended the charade of U.S. participation by declaring the treaty "fatally flawed" in 2001. Instead, the United States embarked on a separate course of bilateral initiatives and public-private partnerships. The aim? To spread technological improvements and spur economic growth, which the administration believes are the keys to both improving the environment and helping people adapt to changes in weather. That didn't stop European environmental alarmists from pushing ahead with Kyoto, though, mostly by running away from it. The UN climate conclave in Marrakech last year agreed to implementation of the agreement, but only after Europe watered it down with emissions trading schemes and elimination of any enforcement mechanism to win support from Japan and other wavering nations. At the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa last August, hard targets for renewable energy use (not including hydro power) were rejected by developing nations, oil producing countries and the United States as technologically impossible and economically damaging. And this year's Delhi Declaration exempts the developing world for the foreseeable future.
So, what's left of Kyoto? It amounts to this statement: "the parties that have ratified the KP (Kyoto Protocol) strongly urged parties that have not already done so to ratify it in a timely manner." All this has the protest and advocacy segment of the environmental community howling, particularly at the United States. "As rising seas, increased droughts, floods and diseases like malaria keep costing millions of dollars and lives, people around the world will not forget that the USA has continuously obstructed international efforts to prevent dangerous climate change," Greenpeace climate policy director Steve Sawyer inveighed. But U.S. Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky had the better of the argument. "KP is costly, ineffective and unfair. It is also impractical and unrealistic," she said. "Climate change is a global phenomenon but the developing countries are not participating."
A BETTER WAY?
More thoughtful environmental voices likewise no longer see global summitry as the way to promote real environmental improvement and actual sustainable development. They are even engaging in the partnership and regional approach to resolving environmental, social and economic problems pursued by the administration. Last week, a half a world from New Delhi, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) held a briefing in the Senate on the results of the Johannesburg summit. In contrast to the anti-scientific and technological views of extreme environmentalists, the panel saw science and technology as the means for the world's poorer nations to raise their living standards and achieve sustainable development.
Former ambassador Richard E. Benedick, president of the council, indicated that the huge summits might no longer be useful. He said the Montreal Protocol on protection of the ozone layer, which he helped negotiate in the l987, was successful because the size was manageable, the goal achievable. "Thirty to forty countries negotiated the Montreal Protocol," he said, "about the size of one delegation at the climate change summits."
And at Montreal, he noted, science played the leading role. That hasn't been the case in subsequent summits, including Johannesburg, where "science wasn't even mentioned once at the energy forum." Benedick said the future progress would be found in regional approaches to problems - "getting like-minded countries together to create regional, ... incremental, partial solutions, and not try to solve everything for everyone at the same time." "The United Nations," he said, " is an industry now of empty declarations."
Dr. Twig Johnson, another NCSE panel member who also leads the Sustainability Science and Technology Program in the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Academy of Sciences, said the one good thing about the global conferences was that they focused countries' attention on the issues. The major success at Johannesburg, he said, was the development of so-called 280 "Type 2" initiatives. These public and private partnerships, rather than government to government deals, include one that the NCSE will be part of with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NAS, the American Chemistry Council, and the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, aimed at strengthening linkages between science and decision-making in developing countries. Such agreements can help promote "science-based decisions for sustainability," Johnson said. And they also offer environmentalists intent on real improvements a way to accomplish that mission - but only if they involve local communities, scientists and businesses.
NCSE's emphasis on science and technology, local action and private involvement suggests there is much more common ground between environmentalists and the Bush Administration than the advocacy, protest-oriented environmental organizations will ever admit. For the poor people in developing nations, that's a hopeful sign. Mindless curbs on energy use won't eliminate floods, droughts, tornadoes or hurricanes, any more than they can halt volcanic eruptions such as Mt. Etna's. And the poor suffer most from them not because they or developed countries aren't using enough renewable energy, but because poverty makes it impossible to fight or adapt to harsh conditions. India's prime minister and the developing countries are correct to put economic growth first. The Bush Administration is wise to help them do so by encouraging the use of efficient, clean and affordable energy technologies. And environmentalists who really want to accomplish something meaningful will seek to participate in their efforts, not obstruct them. Real action beats hot talk every time.
69) A NEW TACK ON WARMING by Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times
November 4, 2002Internet: http://www.iht.com/articles/75755.html
NEW YORK The global climate is changing in big ways, probably because of human actions, and it is time to focus on adapting to the impacts instead of just fighting to limit the warming. That, in a nutshell, was the idea that dominated the latest round of international climate talks. While many scientists have long held this view, it was a striking departure for the policymakers at the talks last week in New Delhi. For more than a decade, the single focus of industry lobbyists, environmental activists and government officials had been the fight over whether to cut smokestack and tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Many environmentalists had long avoided discussing adaptation for fear it would smack of defeatism. Experts espousing the views of industry were thrilled with the shift in New Delhi.
"By building capabilities to deal with climate change, we'll be much better off than by just paying attention to global warming," said Myron Ebell, who directs climate policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a private group that opposes regulatory approaches to environmental problems. Although they conceded its importance, environmental campaigners said an approach that focused on adapting to climate change rather than preventing it would inevitably fail, because the impact of unfettered emissions would eventually exceed people's ability to adjust. Moreover, many said, coral reefs, alpine forests and other fragile ecosystems - without the resiliency of human societies - would simply be unable to cope with fast-changing conditions.
The change in attitude, expressed in the negotiations and in a formal declaration adopted Friday, has been partly driven by unusual weather this year - record floods in Europe, landslides in the Himalayas, searing drought in southern Asia and Africa. No single weather event can be linked to human-caused warming. But as the costs of weather-related disasters rise, unease about climate change rises, too. So far this year, unusual weather is blamed for 9,400 deaths and $56 billion in damage, according to the United Nations and insurers, and deaths and costs have been rising for years. Another impetus is the increasing realization that many significant shifts have already been set in motion by a century-long accumulation of warming gases. Even if emissions stopped today, some specialists say, the volume of so-called greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere would slowly raise sea levels for a century or two as warmed water expands and terrestrial ice melts. The result would be coastal erosion and intrusion of salt water into water supplies. The new focus suits the agendas of the Bush administration and many developing countries, which for different reasons want to avoid cutting emissions of the warming gases. But some environmental campaigners say the shift will discourage efforts to cut dependence on fossil fuels like coal and oil, the main source of the offending gases, in favor of building dikes, designing hardier crops or other engineering solutions. "Adaptation is like the 'wear sunglasses and a hat' theory of fighting ozone depletion," said Kert Davies, the research director for Greenpeace, referring to the Reagan-era debate over chemicals that were weakening the earth's atmospheric shield against harmful radiation. In that case, the offending synthetic chemicals were banned under a 1987 treaty, but only because damage to the ozone layer had become vividly apparent in satellite images - and because industry had come up with alternatives. But no ready substitutes exist for cheap, plentiful fossil fuels.
Conservative policy analysts said proposed curbs on fuel use were unrealistic and unjustified, while making countries more resilient to extremes of weather made sense for many reasons. One goal, Ebell said, should be to enable low-lying countries like Bangladesh to respond to typhoons the way Florida responds to hurricanes. There are also ways to foster development in poor countries that limit harm from climate change. Specialists say that in semiarid zones in Africa and Asia, agricultural assistance could improve farmers' ability to endure heat and drought.The emphasis on adapting is a profound turnabout from the course set a decade ago by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Though that treaty and subsequent addenda contained vague commitments by industrial nations to help vulnerable countries adapt, the emphasis was on curbing emissions to prevent dangerous changes in the climate system.Proponents of a focus on adaptation were supported by a new scientific analysis, published Friday, suggesting that the only way to safely stabilize greenhouse gases by midcentury was with a research program, on the scale of the Apollo manned moon mission, on fusion, solar power, and other nonpolluting energy sources.
The lead authors of that study echoed other specialists in saying it was nearly inconceivable that the Bush administration or Congress would finance such a costly crash program. They also said that modest emission reductions called for under the Kyoto protocol, a climate treaty supported by Europe and Japan but rejected by the United States, would not be enough to spur governments and businesses to seek the necessary technological shift. The protocol, an addendum to the 1992 climate convention, is moving toward taking legal force sometime next year, when Russia is expected to ratify it. But President George W. Bush has rejected it, and without the adherence of the United States, the world's biggest source of greenhouse gases, the Kyoto pact's impact on climate will be negligible, scientists and treaty experts say.
HAVE SET IN MOTION ACTION AT NATIONAL LEVEL
November 1, 2002
Will the Kyoto Protocol, a global treaty aimed at combating climate change, emerge as an effective instrument? Or will intermittent North-South conflicts, lumbering bureaucracies and inadequate political commitment take their toll? Ms Joke (pronounced Yoka) Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), answers these and other questions pertaining to costs, rules and implementation of the Protocol in a chat with Parul Malhotra and Shebonti Ray Dadwal of FE. Excerpts from the interview:
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FROM COP-8?
Marrakesh (CoP-7) gave us a comprehensive package of rules and mechanisms. What came out of the Johannesburg Summit was encouraging too. Johannesburg looked at poverty eradication in the context of sustainable use of resources and indicated that a healthy climate system was a precondition to development. The two together encourage countries to improve on what the countries have previously agreed on. Now the focus is on implementation - on how you derive climate change action from development programmes.
HOW SUCCESSFUL HAVE THE VARIOUS CONFERENCES OF PARTIES BEEN? The CoPs have set in motion action at the national level and also institutional activities at the implementation level, both of which are necessary. Over the years all the institutional machinery needed for implementation has fallen into place. And this has been done in a very well-organised manner. First, there was the Buenos Aires Plan of Action and that led to the Marrakesh Accords. So step by step, the international community has decided on the rules and mechanisms needed to implement the Convention and the Protocol. A recent report refers to an 8 per cent increase in emission levels of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development countries. Don't you think that political will is lacking? That isn't the progress we expect when we want emissions to stabilise at 1990 levels. Some countries have been slow to act. And it does take time to put institutions in place. So, of course, it will take a mix of availability of technology and political will to make sure that requirements of Kyoto Protocol are met. But if we look at current data based on submissions made by countries, we see that in some countries emissions are going down and some others have done enough to stabilise them. So we can only hope that these policies are effective enough.
DO YOU BELIEVE THEY WILL BE?
I'm optimistic. But then, if I wasn't an optimist, I wouldn't be in this job.
BUT SURELY, GIVEN THAT NATIONAL TARGETS ARE NOT LEGALLY BINDING, ENSURING THAT COUNTRIES STICK TO THEIR COMMITMENTS IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE? A compliance committee will be set up as soon as Kyoto is in force. In addition, the Protocol has produced emissions trading, Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Parties can use these mechanisms only after they have submitted their greenhouse gas inventories for review. So if countries don't comply on submitting their inventories, then they have a very big disincentive in that they are disallowed from these mechanisms. That's a stick to make parties comply with the Protocol's norms.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY THAT DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (DCS) NEED COME FROM? We replenish the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which has now gone up to $2.92 billion for the new commitment period (2002-06), of which 30 per cent goes towards climate change activities - it's now for the parties to give an indication. As for the three new funds, there was a pledging conference for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Stockholm a few weeks ago. The initial pledge was 11 million marks for the LDCs to set in motion their adaptation programmes. For the Special Climate Fund, the COP hasn't provided guidance as yet. That's one of the issues on the agenda now. At Marrakesh, some countries committed $400 million per year, which are to be made available by 2005. This is the year when funds have to be up and running. The Adaptation Fund is different for it will receive funds from CDM projects - that, of course, is conditional upon action taken by the private sector. While we expect CDMs to take off quickly, it has to be seen how successful they will be...We'll just have to see how the market for carbon trading develops.
WILL DCS COME UNDER PRESSURE AT COP-8 TO COMMIT TO EMISSIONS TARGETS? In 2005, countries will be formally asked to show demonstrable progress towards their commitments. That will also mark the commencement of negotiations for what needs to be done in the future, i.e., after the first commitment period is over in 2012. At COP-8 we will discuss the way forward, it'll be a process of identifying what needs to be done to be able to start negotiations in 2005. Some Parties are interested in discussing what needs to be done after 2012. But there is no expectation that DCs would take up mandatory commitments at the moment. Of course, a number of countries are taking up voluntary commitments, for example, Argentina and Kazhakstan. At COP-8, we will also take an overview of the good practices of Annex I countries, an informal review to gauge reactions. There are other reports on emission trends that are not for formal review. So at this stage, it's only an exchange of information and analysis of what's happening at the moment and whether it works or not. Formal negotiations will start only in 2005.
WHAT'S THE COST OF IMPLEMENTING KP?
I don't know. I'm not aware that we have done any analysis on that.
WHAT IN YOUR OPINION IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO THE PROTOCOL? The slow moving pace to convert to less carbon-intensive energy sources. Also, the uptake of new technology is too slow. This is mainly because the costs (of adopting less carbon-intensive energy sources) is too high in the early stages. The way energy is being used and consumed and the pricing of the energy is very much in the way of quick uptake of less carbon-intensive energy sources.
DO YOU AGREE WITH THE VIEW PUT FORWARD BY SOME THAT MARRAKESH WEAKENED THE PROTOCOL? They haven't changed the targets. It's just an agreement on how targets can be met - thinking has evolved. It's much more of a market-based approach now and that is likely to bring down the cost of meeting targets. Normal economic theory tells us that market-based instruments are more effective and efficient command and control measures.
71) MESSAGE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL TO THE EIGHTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, DELIVERED BY MR. NITIN DESAI, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
October 30, 2002
This eighth Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention is the first to take place since the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. The consensus reached in Johannesburg has significant implications for efforts to address climate change and its adverse effects. Apart from what it has to say on the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations, there are other commitments relevant to your agenda, including technical and financial support, capacity building, dissemination of innovative technologies, systematic observation and the exchange of scientific data.
Johannesburg also advanced the policy consensus beyond what was agreed at Rio in the area of sustainable consumption and production. This will have a major impact on energy, including renewable energy, energy markets, energy efficiency, and access to energy. In all of these areas, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation marks an important step forward. One challenge for this Conference of Parties is to consider whether, and to what extent, the approaches, goals, and methods agreed in Johannesburg are a basis for cooperation in this forum.
COP8, like the Johannesburg Summit, marks a transition in which the focus is increasingly on implementation of what has been achieved. This encompasses many things: clear commitments by Governments on goals, targets and, where relevant, the provision of financial and technical resources; mechanisms to ensure accountability; and the constructive use of partnerships between the public and private sectors. The Kyoto Protocol involves innovative methods in all of these areas and should, when it enters into force, make a key contribution.
At Johannesburg I called for a greater sense of shared global responsibility. The Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol are expressions of this spirit in one critical area. We must pursue their goals, as well as the Millennium Development Goals and the quest for sustainable development, with vigour and commitment if we are to make a long overdue investment in the survival and security of future generations. In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful session.
72) KYOTO IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS by Margaret Beckett
October 28, 2002
The author is UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio the international community agreed upon the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, starting a process of negotiation that has now been underway for over ten years. Five years ago in Japan the Kyoto Protocol set out the first ever legally binding commitments for developed countries on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This week in New Delhi representatives of government, business and civil society from the Convention's 186 parties will assemble to put the finishing touches to the mechanics of delivering climate change projects. So we are now set to make a real difference not only to the well-being of the global climate but also to the individual's quality of life.
What does this mean for the economy? In spite of what many might think, less smoke from the world's homes and factories doesn't necessarily mean less prosperity. Apart from the social benefits of reducing the impacts of climate change, there is good business to be done in fighting global warming. The UK experience shows this. In the UK we have made a very strong start to meeting our own greenhouse gas targets. Under our Kyoto commitment we must reduce our emissions by 12.5 per cent on 1990 levels. Not only do we expect to exceed that figure, we have our sights firmly set on reducing CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 - and achieving sustained economic growth while doing it.
But this cannot happen without active co-operation from business. We involved business some years ago in an exercise to agree on benchmarks and targets for each of Britain's major energy-using industries. These targets have now been cascaded down to individual companies, who - if they meet their targets - benefit from a discount on the Climate Change Levy we introduced in the 2000 Budget to encourage industry to use energy economically. But in parallel with this, and again in full co-operation with industry, we have set in place a UK emissions trading scheme. In return for a share of an incentive payment from Government, UK companies have committed themselves to meeting emission reduction targets, with the flexibility to do this either by in-house measures or by trading in allowances. And a system of reverse auctions among additional companies interested in trading ensured that incentive payments from government will achieve the maximum possible emission reduction. As a result, Britain now has the world's first economy-wide domestic emissions trading system. Britain and British companies look forward to sharing this experience with other countries as trading emissions becomes the international norm. The technology to exploit renewable energy has been with us for some time. Yet up to now far too little use has been made of it. We in Britain have been working hard to make up for lost time. The Government has set licensed electricity suppliers the target of generating 10% of all their sales from renewables by 2010: a very ambitious target considering that currently we stand at about 3 per cent. This will mean installing at least 8,000 MW of renewable generation capacity over the next seven years. To help smooth the implementation of this process, a system of Renewable Obligation Certificates has been established and trading in these is taking place. Our intention is to put the UK at the forefront of renewable energy technology. There is plenty of scope for cross-border business co-operation too. UK and Indian engineers have worked together on energy projects from the highly efficient Richard coal-fired power plant in the 1980s, through a number of combined cycle gas turbine plants in the 1990s, to the present decade where Indian engineers are working with UK companies on energy projects throughout the world. Mott Macdonald employs close to 900 people at its headquarters in Mumbai and its offices in the major centres in India.
We are exploring new avenues for co-operation too. At the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development, the UK launched a renewable energy and energy efficiency partnership. This brings together Governments, representatives of business and of civil society, that are working to remove the barriers to renewable energy and energy efficiency, with the objective of accelerating the market development and commercialisation of these energy options. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a particularly fruitful avenue for business opportunities. The CDM enables organisations to develop low greenhouse gas emissions projects in India and elsewhere in the developing world. Projects such as wind farms, solar water heating systems and biomass generators can bring secure supplies of electricity to remote communities, making a real difference to their development. One of the most exciting aspects of the CDM is the encouragement it gives to the pooling of knowledge in possibly the largest shared endeavour the world has undertaken. Vast amounts of intellectual effort have been devoted to considering how best to deliver green energy projects under the CDM. Consultants have worked with governments and international organisations to help understand the actions needed for a future with rising living standards whilst controlling climate change. As one of the world's leading clean energy producers, India is well placed to benefit in global markets from the experience it has amassed. The UK has always had a large number of entrepreneurial organisations seeking to develop and invest in low carbon projects across the world. We in government want to give them every help in doing this, and have established two offices for that purpose in addition to our existing support for overseas investment. The Climate Change Projects Office helps UK businesses develop projects under the Kyoto mechanisms, supporting companies who are accustomed to project development but unfamiliar with the Kyoto process. And the Carbon Trust provides financial support for technical development and innovation. The Trust's funding comes from the Climate Change Levy - a splendid example of recycling!
One of the most gratifying aspects of Britain's approach has been industry's willing co-operation. Increasingly companies are realising that it makes sound business sense to behave in an environmentally responsible way. Consumers care whether what they buy is made by companies who look after the environment. Market research shows that nearly half of British consumers have boycotted a product on ethical grounds at one time or another - even more have chosen a particular brand because of the producer's ethical stance. It is because of this that companies like BP are investing heavily in research and development on renewables - and letting the public know about it. The keenness of so many Indian companies to seek ISO 14000 accreditations is a welcome sign that the same message is getting through in India. Of course there is plenty still to be done. The major investments needed to bring about the changes we seek will bring with them major business opportunities. The time is now near when all the past decade's efforts can be translated into practical steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide improved quality of life for people all over the world. It will be up to governments, businesses and civil society, working together to meet consumers' needs, to make this happen.
73) A QUESTION OF ANSWER: 'NEED TO LOOK BEYOND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL'
October 28, 2002
The issue of climate change is no more a topic of polite conversation. It has become a burning, controversial issue, with political and economic consequences. That is why the Eighth Conference of Parties (COP 8) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), being held here from October 23 to November 1 is causing ripples in the quiet corridors of power everywhere. There are furious discussions in closed door meetings of the governmental delegations, and there is the inevitable attempt on the part of bureaucrats to keep it all under wraps. But climate change still remains an obscure issue for many ordinary people.
R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and also the director of the New Delhi-based Tata Energy Research Institute, has done a lot in the last few years to make accessible information on the need to take the ecological issues seriously. Pachauri takes a non-confrontational stance, without pushing thorny issues under the carpet. In an interview with Gulf News, he spoke about the need to increase the awareness about the impact of climate change on the people. An active participant in different sessions at the UNFCCC, he feels that the conference should not get bogged down with the nitty-gritties of the Kyoto Protocol, and that the real challenge lies in preparing for the future. EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW:
QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE ISSUES THAT INDIA HAS MANAGED TO FOCUS AT THE UNFCCC HERE?
Answer: I think India has highlighted the two important issues of vulnerability and adaptation. The people most affected by the negative trends in climate change are the poorest of the poor. If there is a decrease in rainfall, if there is flooding, the livelihood of the people is affected. There is also the melting of glaciers, which affects climate and which has an impact on the livelihood of the poor. Adaptation is about coping with the challenges posed by changes in climate. If there is a flood in Florida, the damage to human lives is minimal. There are early warning systems, and the speed of evacuating people from the flood-hit area is fast. This is due to the infrastructure that is in place. It is not so in the case of the developing countries. That is why, there is a need to focus on these issues.
ARE THERE TOO MANY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE DEVELOPING AND THE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, AND ARE THESE DIFFERENCES IRRECONCILABLE? There are differences, but I do not think they are irreconcilable. With a country like the U.S., we are dealing with a democratic society. Sooner or later, governments have to respond to the wishes of the people. Once the people are made aware that climate change is a serious issue, governments have no alternative but to take appropriate action. So, differences can be sorted out.
WHAT IS THE KIND OF INITIATIVE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE IN THIS DIRECTION? I think there should be a serious discussion about the impact and consequences of climate change in the Cabinet and in the parliament. And a national policy on climate change should evolve, which would spell out ways of coping with the challenge.
INDIA HAS SIGNED THE KYOTO PROTOCOL. IS IT IN A POSITION TO MEET THE TARGETS AND GOALS SET OUT IN IT? Under the Kyoto Protocol, developing countries do not have to meet any targets. It is only the developed countries that have to do so. But that does not mean that India can be complacent. It has to look to the developments in the next three to four decades, and find ways of keeping the greenhouse gas emissions under control. Solutions to these problems cannot be evolved overnight. They take a long time. It is not a day too late for India to evolve its own targets.
IS THERE A CLEAR DIVISION BETWEEN THE DEVELOPING AND DEVELOPED COUNTRIES ON THE ISSUE OF CLIMATE CHANGE? There are differences among the developing countries as well. For example, the oil producing countries do not share the same perspective on the greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuels because their entire economy depends on it. Similarly, island-states among the developing nations want urgent action because of the threat posed by rising sea levels caused by the warming of the climate, which is triggered by the intensive use of fossil fuels. The bloc of the developing countries is not a monolith.
THE U.S. DELEGATES TO THE CONFERENCE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THE RESEARCH EFFORTS TO EVOLVE A HYDROGEN-BASED TRANSPORT AND ENERGY SYSTEM. IS THAT THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR THE FUTURE? It is absolutely the right direction. There is also the need to look to the renewable energy sector.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE REAL PROBLEM FACING THE UNFCCC MEETING HERE? I think they are getting bogged down in the details about Kyoto Protocol. There is a need to look beyond the Kyoto Protocol, and evolve broad policy goals to meet the challenges of the future.