From	  With	  COP16	  now	  a	  moment	  in	  history,	  and	  the	  package	  making	  up	  the	  Cancún	  Agreements	  n...
Unlike	  Copenhagen,	  where	  evidence	  was	  everywhere	  that	  the	  local	  citizens	  were	  not	  only	  well	  aw...
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Cancun COP16 report from JUCCCE Advisor Robert Allender

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JUCCCE Strategic Advisor Robert Allender reports his experience from COP16 in Cancun in december 2010.

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Cancun COP16 report from JUCCCE Advisor Robert Allender

  1. 1. From  With  COP16  now  a  moment  in  history,  and  the  package  making  up  the  Cancún  Agreements  now  in  place,  some  reflections  from  my  few  days  there.   The  side  event  I  specifically  came  to  participate  in,  organised   by  REEEP’s  Energy  Efficiency  Coalition,  was  well  attended   and  well  received.    The  subject  was  building  energy   efficiency,  and  in  addition  to  my  own  presentation  on  Asian   exemplars,  Professor  Peter  Boelsterli    from  Bern  University   of  Applied  Sciences  raised  some  thought-­‐provoking  ideas  on   the  topic  of  the  training  of  architects  and  building   professionals  in  China,  where  an  architect  might  be  working   on  not  one  or  two  but  literally  one  or  two  thousand  projects   at  the  same  time,  and  Fernando  Mayagoitia  ,  Project  Leader  for  the  Innovation  and  Sustainable  Growth  program  at  Urbi,  one  of  Mexico’s  major  housing  construction  companies,  regaled  the  audience  with  stories  of  the  challenges  and  solutions  involved  in  the  remarkably  successful  Zero  Energy  Low  Cost  Housing  programme  showcased  during  the  COP.    REEEP  and  the  EEC  were  instrumental  in  initiating  the  connection  of  parties  which  led  to  this  success,  bringing  in  the  Canadian  government  which  eventually  provided  the  larger  portion  of  the  external  funding,  so  Fernando’s  enthusiastic  report  was  especially  gratifying.  The  wide  variety  of  climates,  the  technology,  policy,  and  finance  hurdles,  and  the  crying  need  for  housing  that  would  not  drain  low-­‐income  families’  budgets  in  the  form  of  a  lifetime  of  high  energy  bills  are  all  elements  of  the  Mexican  story  that  will  surely  resonate  with  their  Chinese  counterparts.    The  roadmap  developed  to  guide  the  Mexican  case  (and  bear  in  mind  they’re  only  at  mile  1  along  that  road  so  far)  would  be  worth  a  serious  look.  Among  the  literally  hundreds  of  side  events  to  the  main  negotiating  session  I  made  it  my  goal  to  get  to  the  Green  Solutions  exposition  to  see  what  Mexican  companies,  in  particular,  were  doing  to  move  low  carbon  forward.    Apart  from  a  booth  featuring  the  Zero  Energy  Low  Cost  Housing,  other  exhibits  showed  some  solar,  wind,  and  few  electric  vehicles.    Not  ground-­‐breaking,  but  solid  confirmation  that  Mexico  has  plans  to  continue  its  low  carbon  efforts.  My  second  goal  was  IEA  Day.    This  full  morning  of  presentations  from  representatives  of  various  divisions  within  the  International  Energy  Agency  showed  me  numerous  examples  of  genuinely  good  work;  work  that  it  would  be  worthwhile  for  all  of  us  in  the  field  of  energy  efficiency  to  know  about.  Yes,  the  700  page  World  Energy  Outlook  2010  can  be  somewhat  daunting  (a  Chinese  edition  is  forthcoming),  and  the  450  Scenario  describes  carbon  dioxide  emissions  at  a  level  30  percent  higher  than  other  parties  already  consider  untenable.    But  IEA  Executive  Director’s  solemn  words,  that  “the  investment  bill  to  decarbonise  the  global  energy  mix  has  risen  by  USD  1  trillion  since  last  year’s  IEA  estimate,  for  an  identical  environmental  goal”,  left  no  one  doubting  the  urgency  of  effective  action,  not  words.    
  2. 2. Unlike  Copenhagen,  where  evidence  was  everywhere  that  the  local  citizens  were  not  only  well  aware  of  the  COP,  but  also  more  than  willing  to  express  their  opinions  about  it,  any  sign  of  public  engagement  in  Cancun  was  hard  to  find.    Not  impossible,  though.    While  on  an  early  morning  visit  to  a  local  market  to  catch  some  Mexican  colour  I  came  across  a  pair  of  posters  from  the  “Against  Climate  Destruction  Organisation”  (excuse  my  probably  flawed  translation).    You’ll  see  they  are  quite  gruesome.    The  previous  day  I’d  been  given  a  talk  about  the  fascinating  but  bloodthirsty  Mayan  civilisation  that  had  flourished  in  the  Cancun  area  –  one  feature  of  which  was  a  ball  game  in  which  in  some  versions  the  captain  of  the  winning  team,  not  the  losing  team,  had  his  head  chopped  off.    It  caused  me  to  wonder  if  countries  attempting  to  “win”  next  year’s  hopefully  final  climate  change  negotiations  might  not  find  any  such  success  equally  fruitless.    Much  better,  methinks,  to  strive  for  a  genuine  draw.              

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