by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 05 No. 160
Wednesday, 28 February 2001
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SECOND
SESSION OF THE AD HOC INTERGOVERNMENTAL GROUP OF
EXPERTS ON ENERGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TUESDAY, 27
The Ad Hoc Open-Ended
Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable
Development met in morning and afternoon sessions to discuss
all sections of the Co-Chairs’ draft negotiating text.
DISCUSSION OF THE CO-CHAIRS’
Co-Chair Mohammad Reza
Salamat (Iran) announced that the Co-Chairs would be producing
both a revised negotiating text and a compilation text based
on delegates’ submissions for distribution on Wednesday
morning. EGYPT, with ARGENTINA, COLOMBIA, IRAN on behalf of
the G-77/CHINA, NIGERIA and SAUDI ARABIA, supported discussion
based on the compilation text alone. SWITZERLAND preferred
using a Co-Chair’s revised text. Agreement was reached at
the end of the day to continue discussions based on a
compilation text only.
SECTION A: GENERAL
CONSIDERATIONS: Providing additional
comments on this section, which had been discussed on Monday,
the G-77/CHINA proposed reference to, inter alia, the
multifaceted nature and interdependencies of energy issues.
SECTION B: GENERAL
POLICY ACTION: The G-77/CHINA
suggested new paragraphs on the different situations of
countries and on common but differentiated responsibilities.
SAUDI ARABIA opposed deleting reference to security of energy
demand. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, the US and CANADA proposed
including nuclear technology in the mix of energy technologies
to be increased.
SECTION C: KEY ISSUES:
On the recommendations, SAUDI ARABIA, supported by COLOMBIA
and opposed by SRI LANKA, said these should be directed at
"countries" rather than "governments." The
RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested including measures to make energy
efficiency, advanced fossil fuel and renewable energy
technologies more affordable.
Accessibility of energy:
The US suggested, inter alia, language stating that
countries choose actions based on national circumstances. On
energy security, POLAND and TONGA supported emphasis on
renewable energy sources. The G-77/CHINA proposed a paragraph
on making energy more accessible to rural women, and called
for consideration of low forest cover countries when referring
to biomass and fuelwood.
Energy efficiency: The
G-77/CHINA, supported by PAKISTAN, underscored consideration
of national circumstances, technology transfer at preferential
prices to developing countries, and equal access for women.
SWEDEN, on behalf of the EU,
stressed improvement of current technologies and energy
management techniques. AUSTRALIA, with CANADA, NORWAY, JAPAN
and TURKEY, opposed references to indicative goals for energy
efficiency. ALGERIA suggested adding a paragraph on
international cooperation on efficiency standards. NORWAY
proposed reference to barriers to achieving efficiency, and
CHINA said they include capacity and financial issues.
The EU, with MEXICO and TONGA, proposed strengthening public
awareness, while the G-77/CHINA inserted reference to the use
of national renewable resources, including wind, solar,
thermal and ocean energy. COLOMBIA, supported by CUBA, ALGERIA
and GUYANA, proposed including reference to the World Solar
Programme 1996-2005. SWITZERLAND underscored promoting
indigenous sources of renewable energy. AUSTRALIA, supported
by POLAND and GUYANA, suggested reference to costs as a
barrier to reaching renewable energy potential.
Advanced fossil fuel
technologies: The G-77/CHINA
suggested deleting reference to carbon sequestration and
"wide-scale" before application of carbon capture
and storage. AUSTRALIA said this subparagraph should either be
kept in full or deleted. SWITZERLAND supported its deletion,
stressing that such strategies are not forward-looking. SAUDI
ARABIA, supported by AUSTRALIA, proposed deleting or rewording
"carbon free sources" and "near-zero"
emissions. The US suggested "lack of capacity" as a
challenge in the context of advanced fossil fuel technologies.
Nuclear energy technologies:
The EU noted the sensitivity of this topic and existing
divergences among States, while EGYPT, PAKISTAN and CHINA
highlighted the need for consensus language in the draft text.
SAUDI ARABIA suggested
inserting a subparagraph on the phase-out of nuclear energy.
POLAND supported a gradual phase-out. COLOMBIA, supported by
BARBADOS and GUYANA, proposed a subparagraph on phase-out of
transboundary movement of nuclear waste, especially through
the coasts of non-OECD countries. BARBADOS stated that nuclear
energy sources are neither appropriate nor acceptable for use
in small island developing States, to which SAUDI ARABIA added
"all developing countries."
The US, the RUSSIAN
FEDERATION and JAPAN highlighted nuclear energy as an
acceptable and important part of the energy mix, provided
efforts are made to ensure safety. CHINA and INDIA emphasized
the right of all countries to develop nuclear energy. BELARUS
highlighted risks and lack of public confidence in nuclear
The EU highlighted the role of biomass in rural energies, and
noted that high investment costs and connection fees hamper
production and use of renewables in rural energy supply.
AUSTRALIA said difficulties
in energy provision relate to the structure of energy markets
in rural areas. CHINA said forest protection should be
considered when promoting biomass. POLAND, supported by
INDONESIA, highlighted local capacity building and promotion
of local sources of renewable energy.
Energy-related issues in
transportation: SAUDI ARABIA queried
the meaning of "sustainable transportation systems"
and preferred "transportation systems for sustainable
development." MEXICO suggested integrating criteria on
energy consumption and environmental impacts into development
of urban and rural transport infrastructure. On the
elimination of leaded gasoline, the US, with AUSTRALIA,
suggested rephrasing the recommendation to support developing
countries and countries with economies in transition (EITs).
SECTION D: OVERARCHING
ISSUES: Research and development:
ALGERIA suggested that increased public and private sector
investment and international and regional collaboration
include conferences on country-specific issues. MEXICO
proposed wording on government policies to encourage private
sector investment. AUSTRALIA said an adequate enabling
environment, which decreases risks for private sector
investors, can be a further incentive for investment. The
RUSSIAN FEDERATION, supported by NORWAY, preferred replacing
"global sustainable energy future" with
"sustainable energy future for all" in line with
dissemination: JAPAN proposed
expanding this issue to the business, government and education
sectors. The G-77/CHINA suggested replacing "global
sustainable future" with "energy for sustainable
development." The US, supported by CANADA and AUSTRALIA,
suggested including information on, inter alia, costs
and ancillary benefits associated with environmental
technologies and suggested an internet-based clearinghouse.
Making markets work better:
The CZECH REPUBLIC called for the reduction of energy
production subsidies and the gradual promotion of cost
internalization. The EU, with AUSTRALIA, suggested creating
open and competitive energy markets within a regulatory
framework. SAUDI ARABIA opposed the EU and said the existing
energy tax structure in developed countries should reflect
their environmental pollution levels. NORWAY, with the RUSSIAN
FEDERATION, proposed encouraging governments to improve the
functioning of energy markets.
MEXICO suggested including the design, implementation and
operation of energy saving programmes and exploitation of
renewable energies. BELARUS, supported by the RUSSIAN
FEDERATION, called for specific reference to the special needs
of EITs. TUNISIA suggested establishing centers for access to
technological information. The US, supported by ALGERIA but
opposed by NIGERIA, GUYANA and SAUDI ARABIA, said technology
transfer should apply to all countries with needs.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed reference to EITs. MEXICO
stressed identification of local needs. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA,
with CANADA, highlighted the GEF’s role in supporting
capacity-building activities. The US said developing countries
should include these issues within their sustainable
Mobilization of financial
resources: The G-77/CHINA, supported
by ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, SAUDI ARABIA, HAITI and BRAZIL,
underscored the need for new and additional resources. The EU
emphasized financing infrastructure investments in developing
countries. The US stressed the importance of ODA for
technology transfer. ALGERIA requested adding reference to the
need for new financial mechanisms to facilitate access to
credit. SAUDI ARABIA, supported by COLOMBIA, emphasized the
need for GEF replenishment.
and public participation: The
G-77/CHINA suggested reference to strengthening the capacity
of community-based organizations and to the role of women. The
US said these groups could play an important role in
establishing informal regulatory networks. The EU underlined, inter
alia, freedom of access to energy information and access
SECTION E: REGIONAL
COOPERATION: NEW ZEALAND stressed
the importance of regional cooperation in achieving economies
of scale in projects. The US suggested replacing reference to
"advanced technologies" with "environmentally
sound technologies." JAPAN supported South-South
cooperation in sub-regional and regional programmes for
capacity building. ALGERIA proposed establishing a databank
for information exchange.
SECTION F: INTERNATIONAL
COOPERATION: NORWAY and NEW ZEALAND
cautioned against fragmenting the sustainable development
Message to other
intergovernmental bodies: TURKEY
warned against prejudging CSD-9 and Rio+10 processes and
duplicating work in other fora. AUSTRALIA and NORWAY said the
paragraphs could be streamlined, while the G-77/CHINA, with
COLOMBIA, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and SAUDI ARABIA, proposed
deleting the entire section.
Possible options for
guidance to the multilateral system:
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with NEW ZEALAND, suggested that the
section could be streamlined, while the G-77/CHINA and SAUDI
ARABIA supported its deletion. The EU stated that the energy
sector should focus more on poverty reduction strategies and
called for a common UN approach to sustainable energy. NORWAY
proposed deleting references to strengthening the UNï¿½s role
in the area of energy for sustainable development.
AUSTRALIA said reference to an information clearinghouse is
not linked to language on creating an enabling environment.
With SAUDI ARABIA and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, he sought
clarification of "appropriate mechanisms" in
reference to natural gas exploration initiatives. NEW ZEALAND
said this task was better left to the private sector. TONGA
called for initiatives involving geothermal energy. NORWAY,
with ARGENTINA, suggested language on "enhanced use"
of existing financing mechanisms.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Several observers commented
on what they perceived to be a more accommodating stance taken
by the EU on nuclear energy in their statement Tuesday,
compared to their position on the issue during the climate
talks in November last year. Others noted, however, that the
EU had clearly indicated that divergences remain within the
Group on the issue and that no Group position currently
On another note, several
delegates commented with concern on slow progress in the work
of the Expert Group, which they attributed to its unclear
process. Several said the absence of a compilation text of the
proposals limited the delegatesï¿½ ability to identify areas
of convergence. Whether the compilation text will improve the
pace of discussion remains to be seen.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
Expert Group will meet at 10:00 am in the ECOSOC Chamber. The
Co-Chairs will distribute the second part of the compilation
text comprising all views presented by delegates in written
and oral form up until Tuesday evening. Discussions will
resume based on this text, with the Co-Chairs providing
suggestions for how to resolve differences between delegates.
The Ad Hoc Inter-Agency Task Force on Energy will
report on its work at a briefing session during the lunch