Climate change mitigation in the context of the UNFCCC negotiations


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What are our options for climate change mitigation? What is the U.S. position in the UNFCCC negotiations? What were the outcomes in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban? Where does Cancun/Durban get us in terms of mitigation? What does a 2C pathway look like?

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Climate change mitigation in the context of the UNFCCC negotiations

  1. 1. John RomankiewiczUniversity of San FranciscoJanuary 24, 2012
  2. 2. • What are our options for climate change mitigation?• What is the U.S. position in the UNFCCC negotiations?• What were the outcomes in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban?• Where does Cancun/Durban get us in terms of mitigation?• What does a 2C pathway look like?
  3. 3. • Rising greenhouse gas emissions will likely cause catastrophic climate change and costly ecosystem damage• Costs of fossil fuel based energy are rising while costs of clean energy are falling• Political security has large ties with energy security• Current investment activity in clean energy and carbon markets is largely driven by government policy
  4. 4. Pure regulation: emitters have to reduce by x%Tax: emitters have to pay X dollars for every ton ofemissionsCap and trade: emitters have to reduce by x% butemitters can trade their emissions allowances
  5. 5. “We’re going to fight the greenhouse effect with the White House effect.” -- George Bush Sr. while running for president in 1988
  6. 6. Rio Earth Summit: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) iscreated: “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a levelthat would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”Conference of parties (COP) 3: Kyoto Protocol signed. Annex 1countries commit to 6-8% reduction by 2012 below 1990 levels.Emissions trading established, offset mechanism created.COP 13: Bali. Negotiations begin on a post-2012 framework.Two-track process begins.COP 15: Copenhagen. Decision on post-2012 frameworkpostponed. 140 countries sign up to “Copenhagen Accord” whichwas negotiated outside of the UNFCCC.
  7. 7. Get rid of the “firewall” created between Annex 1 (A1)and non-Annex 1 (NA1) countriesCommit to reducing emissions in the range of 17% off2005 levels by 2020Provide assistance to developing countries to mitigateand adapt to climate change
  8. 8. • Mitigation commitments • Financial assistance • Relative – NA1 • Fast start finance: $30bn • Absolute – A1 • Long term finance• Transparency: emissions • Technology cooperation monitoring, reporting, • Adaptation and verification • Forests/REDD “Balanced progress”
  9. 9. 20-30% 17% 1990 40-45% 2005 intensity 25% 30% 1990 25%from BAU intensity 26-41% 36% from BAU from BAU 5-25% 34% 2000 from BAU Copenhagen Accord pledges fail the 2°C test
  10. 10. CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (MtCO2/year) China 7,797 United States 5,470 European Union 56% of emissions 3,889 India Russia 1,602 1,572 Japan 1,098 Canada South Korea South Africa Mexico Brazil Australia 81% of emissions Indonesia 541 528 450 444 420 418 413 Rest of countries 5,765Source: EIA (2009)
  11. 11. • Shared vision: 2C, work towards identifying a global 2050 goal• Adaptation: adaptation committee, enable LDCs to form and implement adaptation plans• Mitigation: actions listed and anchored in new agreements• Transparency: domestic MRV and ICA for unsupported actions, international MRV for supported actions• Finance: commitments + establishment of Green Climate Fund• REDD: framework includes consideration of conservation, sustainable mgmt of forests, enhancement of forest carbon stock• Technology: Technology Executive Committee, Climate Technology Center and Network
  12. 12. • An extension of Kyoto: 2nd commitment period ending Dec 2017• “Develop a protocol, another legal instrument or a legal outcome under the Convention applicable to all Parties, through a subsidiary body under the Convention hereby established and to be known as the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action”• Elaborating outcomes from Cancun Agreements • Green Climate Fund • Biennial report guidelines • Adaptation committee, technology committee, REDD outcomes
  13. 13. • The lure of a legally binding agreement: • A legal agreement is often presumed to include compliance provisions creating incentives, mostly negative, some positive, designed to push countries to meet their commitments. • Some argue that a legal agreement is necessary if you want to build an international carbon market, in which parties – whether countries or companies – could trade rights to emit greenhouse gases.• The drawbacks of a legally binding agreement: • Difficult to achieve: need legal obligations from all major parties • Some parties may reduce the level of ambition for fear of not meeting targets • A legal treaty will take a long time to implement• David Victor’s myths: • Scientist’s myth • Environmentalist’s myth • Engineer’s myth
  14. 14. • There are other things we can do: • HFCs • Black Carbon • Global Methane Initiative • Clean Energy Ministerial/Major Economies Forum • Green Climate Fund • Energy access • Etc…
  15. 15. Greenhouse gas emissions (GtCO2e/year) 58 Other developing 56 Other developed 54 South Africa Brazil 52 Indonesia India 50 China 48 Mexico South Korea 46 Australia Japan 44 Canada 42 Russia EU 40 US 38 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2C scenario HistoricAll pledge scenarios modeled off of IEA BAU using C-ROADS software. Assumptions on pledges based on country submissions for Cancun Agreements. 2C scenario has 66% probability
  16. 16. • IEA: "Four-fifths of total energy related CO2 emissions permissible by 2035 in the 450 Scenario are already "locked in" by our existing capital stock (power plants, buildings, factories).• UNEP Emissions Gap Report: Emissions pathways consistent with a likely chance of meeting the 2.0 °C limit have the following characteristics • A peak in global annual emissions before 2020 • 2020 global emission levels of around 44 GtCO2e • Average annual reduction rates of CO2 from energy and industry between 2020 and 2050 of around 3% (2.2-3.1% range) • 2050 emissions that are 50-60% below their 1990 levels • In most cases, negative CO2 emissions from energy and industry starting at some point in the second half of the century
  17. 17. Source: IEA
  18. 18. Source: IEA
  19. 19. Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance
  20. 20. Additions - Average annual additions, 2011-2035 2010 Delayed CCS - New Policies 450 Scenario 450Hydro 27 34 41 17 (China only)Wind 52 76 91 38Solar 22 39 44 17Nuclear 14 22 27 5 • Nuclear operating capacity: 369 GW • Under construction: 63 GW • Planned: 173 GW • Hydro operating capacity: ~900 GW Source: IEA, Global Nuclear Energy Council
  21. 21. • Building consensus for federal climate legislation for the U.S.• Two-fold China Energy Group mission • Help China to become more energy efficient (mitigation) • Help the world to understand China better (transparency)• Occupy rooftops
  22. 22. • Is the U.S. position fair?• Is the U.S. “standing in the way” of a global agreement?• Is a 2C pathway realistic? Economically feasible?• Will a “bottom-up” model be sufficient to mitigate climate change?• Should a global agreement be legally binding? On all parties?
  23. 23. John RomankiewiczLawrence Berkeley NationalLaboratoryChina Energy Groupjpromankiewicz@lbl.govsustainablejohn.comTwitter @sustainablejohn