- Key concepts
- Gallon Environment Letter, Kyoto Accords, Kyoto Special Issue
- Attention Conservation Notice:
- This is impossible for human beings to read. Yet I read it all, I really did. I might have made it to the end without unconsciousness ensuing, but it was written by Canadian policy wonks.
Entries in the Viridian Visionary
More of them! Lots! Send more!
(((Let's face it: it's a big deal that Kyoto has come into force in February 2005. People who are genuinely serious about the Greenhouse issue need some kind of nodding acquaintanceship with the ins and outs of this multilateral national agreement. The following analysis and history was written by Canadian enviros, so at least it seems to be factual and objective, and it lacks the contemptuous, fraudulent bullying and panic-stricken, handwringing qualities typical of every mention of Kyoto in contemporary American media. Therefore I've dumped the thing here in its entirety.)))
(((The Viridian Movement is a design movement and not a political movement, but if you feel the need to learn the ins and outs of Kyotology, this will get you most of the way there. People drawn in by search engines often search the Viridiandesign.org site for material like this. So it ought to be available.)))
(((If you've made it this far, here are some interesting outtakes:)))
- Gro Harlem Brundtland is the Mother of Kyoto. She recently saved the world from a massive plague of SARS mutant cold virus by getting the World Health Org to stamp it out. Why is our planetary bacon being repeatedly saved by a Norwegian bureaucrat named "Gro"?
Real experts on climate read the "Real
Climate" blog (instead of any publication whose
water can be muddied by fiends in the
pay of Exxon-Mobil).
- To their lasting shame, Monaco and Liechtenstein refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Oh, so did Australia. And, uhm, the United States. Most everybody else eventually did the decent thing, even if they had no intention of living up to their promises.
- Who got us into this mess in the first place?
According to US Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the top 10 greenhouse gas emitters in 2000 were:
- USA 20.6% of World GHG
- China 14.8%
- European Union (25 countries) 14.0%
- Russia 5.7%
- India 5.5%
- Japan 4.0%
- Germany 2.9%
- Brazil 2.5%
- Canada 2.1%
- United Kingdom 2.0%
But in terms of per capita, the top 10 countries in 2000 are
- Australia 6.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita
- United States 6.6 tonnes
- Canada 6.3 tonnes
- Saudi Arabia 4.3 tonnes
- Germany 3.2 tonnes
- United Kingdom 3.1 tonnes
- Korea 3.1 tonnes
- Ukraine 2.9 tonnes
- Japan 2.9 tonnes
- European Union 2.8 tonnes
(((Okay, the US stinks either way... but what gives, AUSTRALIANS?)))
THE GALLON ENVIRONMENT LETTER
Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
Fisherville, Ontario, Canada
Tel. 416 410-0432, Fax: 416 362-5231
Vol. 10, No. 3, February 10, 2005
CELEBRATING COMING INTO FORCE OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
The Gallon Environment Letter has been an unabashed supporter of the Kyoto Protocol since the multilateral environment agreement was negotiated in 1998. From time to time we have pointed out its weaknesses, and they are many, but as a first step in a multi-step process Kyoto is, in our opinion, as good as international agreements get. Without international agreement, and the pressure which a global strategy puts on domestic politicians, there would be no hope of achieving significant action on climate change, most certainly one of the greatest environmental challenges which the world faces today.
We have made this issue our Kyoto Special, ignoring just this one time the multitude of environmental and sustainable development challenges which people in Canada and around the world are facing every day. Everything in this issue is about the Kyoto Protocol: what it is and what it is not; what it means and what it does not mean; and what is being done about it in countries around the world but most particularly in the Kyoto leading countries of Europe and Japan as well as in the United States.
Preparing this issue has been a particular challenge: we know that some of our readers are Kyoto experts while others still have no truck with Kyoto. There is so much nonsense being written and said about Kyoto in the daily and electronic media by writers who just do not understand the complexities of the Kyoto Protocol that we have tried to set the record straight, providing information and analysis to help the ordinary business and typical citizen get a good grounding in this most complex of subjects. We could have written several books on Kyoto, and many have, but we hope that in the brief format for which the Gallon Environment Letter is known we have been able to provide at least a few gems of information for everyone, whether Kyotophile or Kyotophobe or somewhere in between. Our editorial comments are essentially contained in the article What is Canada Doing? later in the issue.
Next issue we return to our more regular style with the feature What Makes Someone an Environmentalist? We will also have our regular articles on a range of topics, our preliminary analysis of the federal budget, and we'll catch up on the correspondence. Let us know what you think about this Kyoto Special.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
THE IPCC PROCESS BEGAN IN TORONTO
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, often criticized by Kyotophobes, was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in Ocotber 1988. Despite its name, it is made up of scientists, experts in the multitude of climate change aspects, and has become the world's leading scientific authority on climate change.
The IPCC was established in October of 1988 as a result of a landmark conference that was held in Toronto in June of 1988. The Toronto Conference on the Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security was hosted by then Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney and Gro Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway.
The mandate of the IPCC is to provide comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of scientific, technical and socio-economic information for policy makers relevant to human-induced climate change, potential impacts and options for mitigation and adaptation. The First Assessment report was issued in 1990, the second in 1995 and the third in 2001. In addition to the full reports, the IPCC also issues special reports and technical studies such as aviation and the atmosphere, regional impacts of climate change, and technology transfer.
Our Common Future
Gro Brundtland had been Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development WCED. It was the 1987 report of the WCED, Our Common Future, that urged the world to develop a four part strategy to deal with a high energy future which was leading to a serious probability of climate change. Given the long time line needed to engage in international environmental agreements, the Commission recommended that the process start immediately.
Although the issue was surrounded by complexities and uncertainties, the fact was that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations had risen from a fairly stable 280 parts per million by volume to 340 ppm by 1980 and were projected to rise to 580 ppm by the middle to end of the next century. A major scientific conference in 1985 held in Villach, Austria had concluded that "climate change must be considered a plausible and serious probability." The WCED urged more scientific research to reduce the uncertainties.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC. Web site.
World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1987. [hard copy]
IPCC 3RD ASSESSMENT REPORT
The initial negotiations on the Climate Convention in the early 1990s were based on the precautionary principle more than on proof of climate change. The 2nd IPCC Assessment Report in 1995 was the first to state that the balance of evidence indicates human-caused changes to the global climate. IPCC also stated that there are indications that developing countries will suffer most from potentially catastrophic effects such as food insecurity due to land loss and impacts on agriculture, population displacement, and increase in disease and pests.
In summarizing the 3rd IPCC Report of 2001, Robert Watson, then Chair of the IPCC and Chief Scientist and Director of Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development at the World Bank, linked climate change to development, equity and sustainability. Issues included:
Food Security. Food production needs to double to meet the needs of 3 billion more people in the next three decades. Climate change is projected to reduce productivity in the tropics and subtropics.
Sustainable Forests. Wood is the source of fuel for over 30% of the world's population. Climate change is projected to increase forest productivity but also pests and fires which will reduce available forests.
Water security. One third of the world's population is already subject to water shortages. Climate change projects that arid and sub-arid regions will face further reductions in water availability doubling the number of people facing water shortage in the next three decades.
Biodiversity. Biodiversity is essential to all of the goods and services supplied by the planet. Climate change is projected to increase losses for biodiversity resulting in a 10-30% loss of species in the next three decades.
Key findings discussed in the IPCC report:
- Climate change is an environment issue but also a development issue. Climate change brings both beneficial and adverse effects but the larger the changes the more adverse effects which affect developing countries the most.
- Global and regional changes have been observed in the chemical constituents of the atmosphere, the earth's surface temperature, precipitation, extreme climactic events and sea level.
- These changes have affected biological, physical and socio-economic systems.
- Most of the observed warming of the past 50 years is attributable to human activities.
- Without near and long terms actions to reduce emissions, future changes in atmospheric composition and climate are inevitable leading to increased risks of extreme events such as floods and droughts.
- It may take decades for impacts to take effect. This is due to inertia which is a delay in response; the changes in the system continue after the cause has been removed.
- Greenhouse gas emissions in the 21st century may lead to large-scale, non-linear and abrupt changes in physical and biological systems. An example of an abrupt change is the disruption of the great ocean conveyor belt which brings milder climate to European countries including Great Britain.
- A few Celsius degrees of warming can lead to a sea level increase of several metres due to melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice.
- Global emissions must be reduced to a small fraction of current emissions and even if they are, sea levels will continue to rise for thousands of years.
- Stabilization of carbon dioxide at 450 ppm would result in temperature rise of 0.9 to 2.5 degrees C and at 1000 ppm to 2.9-7.5 degrees C above the temperature at 1990 levels. There is uncertainty about the amount of warming for a given level of concentration of greenhouse gases; hence the wide band of temperature estimates. Ultimate climate change effects are the result of the interaction of climate, ecosystems and socio-economic systems.
- There are many opportunities to reduce near term emissions through improved technology and to reduce mitigation costs through such tools as trading mechanisms but costs are underestimated because, for example, current models assume, inaccurately in many cases, that countries have already begun to adjust to meet Kyoto targets. Technologies are available but policies and measures must be put in place to realize their potential.
Watson, Robert T. IPCC Synthesis Report. UNFCCC 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties. Marrakech, Morrocco. October 31, 2001.
http://www.ipcc.ch/present/presentations.htm [Find Part 1 and Click]
AVOIDING DANGEROUS CLIMATE CHANGE
A conference which has just concluded in Britain, and which was organized by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at the invitation of Prime Minister Tony Blair, asked scientific questions about what it would take to stabilize greenhouse gases to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change. Dr. Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, noted in his keynote address that the term dangerous is a value judgment as it encompasses concern for human justice and the needs of future generations.
Since the 3rd IPCC report in 2001, some of the uncertainties have been reduced and many of the risks have been found to be more serious than previously judged. While changes in temperature of up to one degree C benefit some regions and some industry sectors, such as agriculture in mid to high latitudes, some of the new impacts identified are disturbing. Among the observations are:
- The changing acidity of the ocean is likely to affect the marine food chain and reduce the ability of the ocean to act as a sink for storing carbon dioxide.
- The risks of large scale irreversible system disruption including destabilization of the Antarctic ice sheets is more likely with increases over 3 degrees C, which are in the range of estimates for this century.
- Ecosystems are showing the effects of climate change. Further work is required to link changes specifically to human-caused emissions but examples are changes to polar ice and glaciers and changes in rainfall. Projections are for more frequent and more intense extreme events such as the heat wave in Europe in 2003.
- Some of the dangerous effects of climate change can be dealt with through improving capacity to adapt but some systems and sectors have little capacity to adapt as societies vary in technological ability, level of income, and governance. For example, Africa is particularly vulnerable.
- Scientists develop scenarios based on probabilities. For example, for relative certainty that temperatures will rise by no more than 2C, global CO2 concentrations should be kept below 400 ppm. Stabilization at 550 ppm will avoid some, but not all, dangerous climate change while at 750 ppm, most of the dangerous effects will not be avoided. The models suggest that delaying action even by 5 years could require much more action for the same temperature target. Delays of twenty years could require emission reductions of 3 to 7 times greater for the same temperature target.
If the IEA World Energy Outlook is correct and CO2 emissions increase by 63% compared to 2002 levels by 2030, the world will have a temperature rise of 0.5 to 2C by 2050.
Societies change over time and will also change in response to climate change. New technologies, shifts in population, regional effects will all affect the impacts of climate change. Ecosystems may respond more strongly if temperature changes more. For some natural systems, it may already be too late.
Climate change may trigger certain events by itself or, more likely, be one of a set of multiple stresses which affect humans and ecosystems. For example, water supply is affected by demand, ability of people to access the supply, and the resource supply itself. The resource would be most affected by climate change which would affect the magnitude and timing of water stress.
There are no magic bullets and a range of options are needed: strategies addressing all greenhouse gases, emissions trading, optimal timing, technology development and diffusion. Social, political and behavioural barriers hinder implementing options.
Currently the higher the per capita GDP, the higher the carbon emission. Per capita emissions in the developed world need to be decreased significantly to create a low-emission model. The model can then be applied to the developing world to allow for the offsetting of emissions caused by economic growth in those nations.
Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. International Conference on Stabilisation of Greenhouse Gases ' Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. Report from the Steering Committee. Exeter, UK: February 3, 2005.
SCIENTISTS RESPOND TO CLIMATE SCEPTICS
A group of nine scientists from the US and Europe have launched a web site to discuss the common myths and fallacies as purveyed in the media and by climate change sceptics and to comment on recent scientific papers. Many others comment to support or criticize their responses. Although it can be difficult to read for those who are science-challenged, sometimes the scientists will update the post in a less technical way to make it more accessible.
The new web site was launched on December 9, 2004 with the comment, 'Climate science is one of those fields where anyone, regardless of their lack of expertise or understanding, feels qualified to comment on new papers and ongoing controversies. This can be frustrating for scientists like ourselves who see agenda driven 'commentary' on the Internet and in the opinion columns of newspapers crowding out careful analysis."
A feature in Nature Magazine suggests that the scientists, six from the US and three from Europe, need to be careful. They should not oversell their own opinions. Care needs to be taken in rapid rebuttal of mis-statements by some think-tanks and industry-funded organizations not to undermine the standards set by the peer-review process.
But on the whole the Nature comment supports the use of well-thought-out blogging to overcome the excessive press coverage given to a small minority of scientists disputing the idea of man-made climate change. In fact, the Nature article suggests that if the site can "balance speed with objectivity, readability and accuracy", it will change the coverage of climate change for the better and possibly be a good model for other issues such as nanotechnology and biotechnology.
Realclimate.org Sample of Blogs
Among examples of the posts are:
- In the last 150 years, carbon dioxide CO2 concentrations have risen from 280 to nearly 380 parts per million ppm virtually entirely due to human activities. The response deals with how we know this.
- US Senator Inhofe spoke on January 4 based on his belief that "the threat of catastrophic global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." The response identifies three scientific arguments in his speech (not counting the polemics) and puts his statement under scrutiny.
- Regional effects compared to global effects. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment was released in November 2004 and is unique in its detailed study of a region by 300 scientists over 3 years describing climate change and its impacts such as rising temperatures, loss of sea ice, melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and impacts on ecosystems, animals and people. The response says, "Sadly, in recent years we have become accustomed to a ritual in which the publication of each new result on anthropogenic climate change is greeted by a flurry of activity from industry-funded lobby groups, think tanks and PR professionals, who try to discredit the science and confuse the public about global warming."
- The biggest uncertainty in what will happen to climate in the future (say 30 years or more) is the course that the global economy will take and the changes in technology that may accompany that.
Welcome climate bloggers. Nature. December 23, 2004.
www.nature.com/news/2004/041220/full/432933a.html [subscription fee based]
FEBRUARY 16 IS NOT THE BEGINNING
Many see February 16, the date on which the Kyoto Protocol comes into force, as the start date for coordinated international greenhouse gas emission reductions but the Kyoto Protocol is part of a longer term process to identify the risks of climate change and to reduce global greenhouse gases emissions caused by human activity.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed by 154 states in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro after a series of scientific and policy conferences. The convention contained four fundamental agreements about global sustainable development with the ultimate objective being the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.'
UNFCCC Parties including Canada and the US made commitments to reduce emissions by 2000. These commitments are separate from the Kyoto commitments and have not been met. Yet Canada has repeatedly told the world about its commitment also to Kyoto. For example, in 2001, when Canada attended the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, the message it sent to the world was:
- Canada is committed to the Kyoto Protocol.
- Canada intends to achieve its Kyoto target.
The Conference of the Parties is the highest decision making body of the UNFCCC. The tenth anniversary of the Convention was marked by COP 10, the tenth session of the Parties in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 6-17, 2004.
Nations had already taken steps to control another threat to the world from ozone-depleting substances. Use of these is now restricted through the Montreal Protocol and CFCs, HCFCs and halons are not included in the UNFCCC inventories. As it turned out, some of the replacements for these ozone-depleting substances are potent greenhouse gases. There is also an interdependence between stratospheric ozone destruction caused by CFC concentrations and climate change.
The Greenhouse Gases of the UNFCCC
There are six greenhouse gases covered by the UNFCCC. The hydrofluorocarbons HFCs, perfluorocarbons PFCs, and sulfur hexafluoride SF6, generally come from industrial activities. The other three greenhouse gases covered by the Convention, carbon dioxide CO2, methane CH4, and nitrous oxide N2O also occur naturally as well as being emitted through human activities such as production and use of energy.
Greenhouse gas emissions are unlike other pollution problems where eliminating the source through end-of-pipe solutions can often deal with most of the pollution. Scrubbers can remove the causes of acid rain but are not so effective at removing the causes of climate change. Stabilizing atmospheric CO2 concentrations requires changes in energy consumption, equipment and behaviour over a long time. Energy consuming products such as cars, refrigerators, industrial pumps (and, GL suggests, people with bad attitude) have long life and replacement of equipment will take many years.
Global Warming Potential
Totals for a country's greenhouse gas emissions use the GWP to convert all the gas emissions to CO2 equivalents. GWP is the potential of a particular gas to trap heat in the atmosphere compared to a reference gas. Generally CO2 is the reference gas and the time period is 100 years. Sulphur hexafluoride has a GWP of 23,900 compared to CO2, methane a GWP of 21, and nitrous oxide a GWP of 321. Actions to reduce emissions of these gases will have a much greater effect than actions to reduce emissions of CO2. However, atmospheric concentrations of these gases are very low, so dealing with them cannot entirely replace the need to deal with CO2 emissions.
Environment Canada. Deputy Minister Alan Nymark. Opening of the High-Level Session of the Conference of the Parties (CoP 6 Bis). July 19, 2001.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The Kyoto Protocol, one of numerous multilateral environment agreements, is an agreement of nations. While Canada can develop greenhouse gas emission reducing policies and legislation which apply to individuals, business, and other groups, it is Canada as a nation which is required to comply. This is not an obligation it can delegate. The Kyoto Protocol does not have any direct effect on industry, communities or individuals, though of course the government of each country may pass laws and regulations which do have such effect. Failure to comply with Kyoto means that Canada has failed to comply, not the oil industry, the mining industry, the electricity generators, etc.
The Protocol is a legally binding international agreement requiring:
- The thirty industrialized countries which have ratified to meet targets limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The targets are to reduce emissions by a stated percentage for each country to below 1990 levels during the period 2008-2012.
- The emission trading regime will allow the parties to buy and sell emissions in a market-based approach intended to enable those who can reduce emissions most cost-effectively to do so and sell their reductions to those who would find it more costly.
- The mechanisms of the Protocol will go into full operation for investments in developing countries designed to reduce emissions while promoting sustainable development.
- The Adaptation Fund will fund projects to help developing countries reduce the effects of climate change.
Those who criticize the Kyoto Protocol often make valid points --- international agreements have the feature of being a product of the views of many different nations. But when critics call for replacing it with an agreement better to their liking, they fail to recognize the realities of negotiations in general and international agreements in particular which may have taken decades for the Parties to arrive at. Better planning on Canada's part would have been and still is needed but if the Kyoto Protocol is scrapped, international efforts to deal with climate change may also be scrapped. Kyoto expires in 2012 and countries are already considering what is to come next.
The decisions which led to the Kyoto Protocol arose from the UNFCCC and were intended to strengthen the commitment made by developed countries included in Annex I "both to elaborate policies and measures, and to set quantified limitation and reduction objectives within specified time-frames, such as 2005, 2010 and 2020, for their anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol." At the Berlin COP, the Parties agreed not to introduce any new requirement for Parties not in Annex 1 but to continue the implementation of the developing countries' commitments' to achieve sustainable development. Given that countries like Canada and the US were not meeting their commitments under the UNFCCC, it is difficult to argue that a more stringent agreement was unnecessary.
Ratification of Kyoto
84 countries signed the protocol when it was open for signatures between March 16, 1998 and March 15, 1999. Those countries which have not signed can accede to it at any time. By Feb. 2005, 141 countries had ratified, approved, acceded to, or accepted it. Of the industrial countries and emerging economies listed in Annex 1 to the UNFCCC, only Australia, Liechtenstein, Monaco and the United States have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol as of November 2004. Australia and United States have indicated they do not intend to ratify it.
The Kyoto Protocol was structured so as to come into force 90 days after the date on which no less than 55 Parties to the UNFCC including Annex I Parties accounting for at least 55 % of the total global 1990 carbon dioxide emissions deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. The 55% figure was not reached until Russia submitted its ratification in November 2004. The Protocol is binding only on those countries that have ratified it.
Russia contributed almost 18% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions in 1990. Australia contributes only 2.1%. The United States contributed 36.1% and its failure to ratify is a serious setback for coordinated global initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
You can find the entire text of the Kyoto Protocol, a fairly readable document, in:
United Nations. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Report of the Conference of the Parties on its Third Session, Held at Kyoto from 1 to 11 December 1997. Addendum. Part Two: Action Taken by the Conference of the Parties at its Third Session FCCC/CP/1997/7/Add.1 Adoption of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. March 18, 1998.
Different Categories of Countries
The UNFCCC (and also the Kyoto Protocol) divides countries into three groups.
Annex 1 consists of industrialized countries which are members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and countries with economics in transition (EIT) which include Russia, the Baltic States and some Central and Eastern European States.
Annex II are only of the OECD members of Annex 1, not including EIT countries. This set of countries, which includes Canada, promises to provide financial resources to enable developing countries to make emission reductions under the Convention and to help them adapt to adverse effects of climate change. They are also to promote development and transfer of environmentally friendly technologies to and in developing countries.
Non-Annex 1 Parties are mostly developing countries. Many of these are especially vulnerable to climate change because of low-lying coastal areas, susceptibility to desertification, and drought. In this category are also the 48 least developed countries which have very limited capacity to respond to climate change.
Different Obligations for Industrialized Countries
Overall Annex 1 countries must:
- Have in place no later than 2007, national systems for estimating greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks using agreed upon methodology as outlined by the 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. Carbon sinks are 'emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry'.
- -Annex I countries must submit annual greenhouse gas inventories was well as national communications to demonstrate compliance.
- -Meet their target. For Canada, the target is an overall emission of greenhouse gases at least 6 per cent below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.
- -Help developing countries develop capacity to respond to climate change.
Specifically, he Kyoto Protocol provides generic requirements and leaves the details up to each country. Annex I countries are to:
- Implement policies and measures in accordance with its national circumstances.
These could include:
- Enhancement of energy efficiency in relevant sectors.
- Protection and enhancement of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases including promoting sustainable forest management, afforestation (foresting areas not previously covered with forests) and reforestation.
- Promoting sustainable agriculture.
- New and renewable forms of energy, carbon dioxide sequestration technologies and advanced and innovative environmentally sound technologies.
- Applications of market instrument which support the goals of the Convention and phase out of market imperfections, fiscal incentives, tax and duty exemptions and subsidies which support sectors emitting greenhouse gases counter to the objectives of the Convention.
- Reform of relevant sectors to limit and reduce emissions.
- Limits and reductions on emissions from the transport sector.
- Limits and reduction of methane emission through recovery and use in waste management, and in energy production, transport and distribution.
- Cooperation with other Parties to share experience and exchange information on effective policies and measures.
- Work with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization to limit or reduce emissions from aviation and marine bunker fuels.
- Develop policies and measures which minimize adverse effects on other Parties especially developing country Parties. Examples are adverse effects of climate change, on international trade and social, environmental and economic effects.
UNFCCC. Parties & Observers.
Obligations of Developing Countries
The effects on countries which have contributed little to cause the climate changes and which have relatively few financial resources to deal with the damage, is the reason why the Kyoto Protocol put the onus on industrialized countries to act to mitigate climate change and to pay for the economic costs of limiting emissions.
Under the UNFCCC with a time frame to 2000, developing countries were obliged to provide a formal report on greenhouse gas emissions and plans to identify how to reduce these and to adapt to climate change. Industrialized countries helped developing countries. For example, in Zimbabwe, a number of countries worked on abatement options for the electricity supply system. In India and Vietnam, activities were directed towards the energy, transport and waste management sectors. Among the goals of these activities was training local experts to meet pollution reduction goals, especially air pollution, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In developing countries, where many needs are urgent, climate change remains less of a priority than other issues.
At COP 2 of the UNFCCC in Geneva 1996, the Parties agreed that binding commitments were needed for industrialized countries after the 2000 period. They received the 2nd report of the IPCC which indicated that the hazards of climate change were almost unavoidable if further steps were not taken. The US had been opposed to any legally binding commitments but at this COP agreed that they were necessary, a position which George W. Bush subsequently reneged on when he refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol even though the US had negotiated it and signed it. At COP3, Kyoto was unanimously adopted.
The developing countries do not have to meet any commitments in greenhouse gas emission reductions themselves during the timeframe of the Kyoto Protocol. When critics say that it is untenable that developing countries are not required to comply, they fail to mention that it is the industrialized countries which have contributed the greenhouse gas emissions which got us into this mess in the first place. Also international cooperation and support for developing countries and countries with economies in transition is intended to ensure that all countries create the capacity to control and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while supporting their sustainable development.
Gesellschaft fˆºr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) (Germany's aid agency). Phases of the Climate Protection Programme. 1992-2002.
THE CONTROVERSIAL KYOTO FLEXIBILITY MECHANISMS
Ever since the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, the provisions allowing for flexibility through foreign investment and international emissions trading have been controversial. Some organizations in Annex 1 countries have argued that there should be no flexibility and that all Kyoto requirements should be achieved through real emission reductions in each country. This stems from concern that the investor country should be benefitting from the spin-off environmental and economic benefits that arise from investment in climate change projects. Canada has made a commitment that the majority of its greenhouse gas emission reductions will be achieved through domestic activities but it has not ruled out using the flexibility mechanisms for up to half of its Kyoto objectives.
There are three flexibility mechanisms allowed by Kyoto:
- International emissions trading
- Joint implementation
- The Clean Development Mechanism.
Under international emissions trading, one country can buy credits from another country and the credits will count towards the Kyoto target of the purchasing country. Emissions trading between countries assumes that one country expects to exceed its Kyoto target and will therefore have 'spare' emission reductions that it can sell to other countries that are having difficulty reaching their targets. While the amount of emissions trading between countries may turn out to be quite small, the concept provides a backdrop for international emissions markets that allow for carbon credit transactions between companies and even individuals. A number of organizations have prepared for this market by setting up carbon trading markets and investment funds.
For an example, see CO2e.com, self-described as The Global Hub for Carbon Commerce
Joint Implementation is perhaps the simplest of the three flexibility mechanism, though it still requires significant rules and supervision for implementation. It can take place only between Annex 1 countries. Under JI, when a country makes an emissions-reducing investment in another country, credit for the emission reduction achieved may be taken by the investing country rather than by the host country. The emission reductions achieved are described as Emission Reduction Units. While Joint Implementation projects can take place at any time after 2000, ERUs will only be generated for reductions that arise from the project during the commitment period, 2008 - 2012.
The Clean Development Mechanism has been the most controversial of the three flexibility mechanisms, primarily because it involves investments in developing countries that do not have a target under to Kyoto Protocol. Many developing country governments and some of their civil society organizations have been strong supporters of the CDM because they see it as one of the few economic benefits that they might achieve from the Kyoto Protocol. Under the CDM, if Canada invests in a project which reduces greenhouse gas emissions in a developing country, then the emission reductions achieved by that project can be counted towards Canada's target. Any person or organization, profit or non-profit, in an Annex 1 country such as Canada can invest in or carry out a CDM project. The emission reductions created are known as Certified Emission Reductions. No CDM project can proceed without the support of the government of the country where the project will take place and the Parties to the UNFCCC have set up a very large set of rules and procedures to govern CDM projects, primarily to make sure that the reported emission reductions are really being achieved. The Pembina Institute has an excellent plain language guide on the CDM and on how to set up CDM projects.
One of many sources for well-argued criticisms of the CDM can be found at
A User's Guide to the Clean Development Mechanism - Second Edition, The Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development, 2003
GHG GAS EMITTERS BY PERCENTAGE OF WORLD TOTAL AND PER CAPITA
According to US Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the top 10 greenhouse gas emitters in 2000 were:
- USA 20.6% of World GHG
- China 14.8%
- European Union (25 countries) 14.0%
- Russia 5.7%
- India 5.5%
- Japan 4.0%
- Germany 2.9%
- Brazil 2.5%
- Canada 2.1%
- United Kingdom 2.0%
But in terms of per capita, the top 10 countries in 2000 are
- Australia 6.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita
- United States 6.6 tonnes
- Canada 6.3 tonnes
- Saudi Arabia 4.3 tonnes
- Germany 3.2 tonnes
- United Kingdom 3.1 tonnes
- Korea 3.1 tonnes
- Ukraine 2.9 tonnes
- Japan 2.9 tonnes
- European Union 2.8 tonnes
Baumert, Kevin and Jonathan Pershing with contributions from Timothy Herzog and Matthew Markoff, World Resources Institute Climate Data: Insights and Observations. Pew Center on Global Climate Change, December 2004.
CANADA LACKED A NEGOTIATING PLAN FOR THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
It is clear that, unlike most industrial nations, Canada had no formal negotiating position when it went into the negotiations that led to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. We were in chaos: Alberta and Quebec were at opposite ends of the table, Quebec with its energy primarily from hydro calling for a target of 7.5% below 1990 by 2010 and Alberta with its oil industry saying Canada had no authority to sign for any emission reductions.
Thomas d'Aquino of the Business Council of National Issues, representing CEOs of large companies including Imperial Oil and Shell Canada, was calling for reduced targets, longer time periods and more from developing countries, or as Hugh Winsor, Globe and Mail columnist said, "tightening the screws on the Third World." Meanwhile Royal Dutch Shell in Europe was setting up a renewable energy division. Had Canada spent more time designing what it wanted to see in the Kyoto Protocol, rather than fighting internally about whether or not it wanted a Protocol at all, we might have succeeded in negotiating a better Protocol not just for ourselves but for all industrialized countries.
One of the problems which Canada forgot to bring to the Kyoto table and tried to negotiate later was credit for exporting clean energy. An alternative, which also might have been attainable at Kyoto if Canada had been better prepared and had done its homework, was attaching carbon emissions to products when they are exported. Canada is a net exporter of cleaner energy such natural gas and hydro electricity. These reduce global emissions but in their production Canada must account for the emissions instead of the country receiving the energy. Also when Canada produces and exports oil, the emissions from producing the oil, which are rather substantial, are part of Canada's inventory rather being part of the receiving country's inventory.>From the Hansard discussion at the time, then Prime Minister Chretien clearly thought that Canada would get credit for such exports but the lack of a clear negotiating strategy may have meant that Canadian negotiators didn't see the importance of credit for the emissions arising from production of materials destined for export.
Clipping File: Globe and Mail. November 3, 1997; Hamilton Spectator November 11, 1997. [hard copy]
Hyndman, Rick. Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. How Should Canada Contribute to the International Effort on Climate Change. Powerpoint presentation. Calgary, AB: September 12, 2002.
http://www.capp.ca/raw.asp?x=1&dt=PDF&dn=38272 or http://www/capp.ca [Click on Media tab and then on Presentations tab, Find International Effort on Climate Change and Click. Note presentations are arranged in reverse order by date]
CANADA'S KYOTO TARGET
The Kyoto Protocol requires a 5% reduction in developed countries' emissions from 1990 emission levels by 2008-2012. Canada negotiated a target of 6% for itself. There is no scientific or economic analysis supporting this (or any other) target.
In 1997, the Prime Minister Jean Chretien is quoted as saying that Canada intended to do better than the US. Environics' Doug Miller reported that the Prime Minister's desire to do better reflected the opinion of the majority of Canadians. Canadians thought it was worthwhile to take action to prevent global warming damage even in the face of adverse economic impacts.
Clipping file: Globe and Mail. November 4, 1997.
COMPLIANCE UNDER THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The Kyoto Protocol called for the development of procedures and mechanisms for a compliance system. By the 7th Conference of the Parties, the "teeth" of Kyoto were finally agreed. Kyoto is one of the few Multilateral Environment Agreements which actually has any teeth, though they are more the teeth of a Schnauzer than the teeth of a Bulldog.
The Kyoto Protocol Compliance Committee has two branches, one a Facilitative Branch and the other an Enforcement Branch. Annex 1 Parties such as Canada are granted 100 days after an expert review of the annual emissions inventory to make up the shortfall in compliance e.g. through emissions trading. If Canada should fail to do so, then in the next commitment period it must make up the difference and accept a penalty of 30%. It will also be barred from selling any emissions and must within three months develop a compliance action plan to ensure it meets the targets of the next commitment period. The Enforcement Branch of the Protocol will also make the lack of compliance public as well as the consequences. All this will take place in 2013, unfortunately beyond the time when current Cabinet Ministers are likely to be in office, at least in the same office. Expect much wailing and gnashing of teeth, as well as blaming of the previous government, in 2013.
UNFCCC. Kyoto Protocol. Compliance under the Kyoto Protocol.
CANADA'S GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INVENTORY
Environment Canada released Canada's 1990-2002 Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory in September 2004. These are estimates because of uncertainties in measuring and estimating; Canada is working with the UNFCCC in developing better methodologies to improve data. Canada and the provinces/territories have agreed that by June 2005, facilities with emissions of more than 100 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2004 must report their emissions.
In 2002, Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions was about 731 megatonnes of CO2 equivalents compared to about 609 Mt in 1990 or a 20.1% increase over 1990. The Kyoto target for the 2008-2012 period for Canada is 6% below 1990 or 572 Mt. Growth in emissions resulted mainly from petroleum refining, mining, manufacturing and production of fossil fuels mainly for export. Residential and commercial/institutional sector emissions also increased.
There has been a decrease in the rate of the increase each year; the highest annual increase since 1990 was 5.7% in 1994 compared to a decrease of 1.2% between 2000 and 2001 and an increase of 2.1% between 2001 and 2002.
About 81% of the emissions are from the Energy Sector in the sense that 74% of total emissions are from burning of fossil fuels and 8% from fugitive emissions.
Manufacturing emissions declined by 4.6 Mt since 1990. Light duty automobiles reduced by 3 Mt since 1990 but this was offset by increases in emissions by light-duty trucks (mini-vans and SUVs) by over 19 Mt. These latter vehicles emit 40% more GHG per kilometre than cars.
Increases in GHG emissions at 20.1% were greater than the increase in population at 13.4%. Emissions per person grew by 8.3%. But increases in GHG emissions were less than the 40.4% growth in GDP between 1990 and 2002. GHG emissions per unit of GDP decreased in that period because of energy efficiency and changes from fossil fuels in the industrial, residential and commercial sectors.
Environment Canada. Greenhouse Gas Division. Canada's Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2002. September 2004.
CANADA's KYOTO STRATEGY
By the time you read this, Canada may have a new strategy in place to achieve its Kyoto target. Then again, it may not. The challenge of Kyoto seems to have been one of the most chaotically managed of Canada's environmental priorities, not least since Paul Martin became Prime Minister.
One of the Martin government's early acts was to scrap the National Climate Change Secretariat, the body that had at least maintained a modicum of interdepartmental cooperation on the climate change file. Such coordination was necessary: Natural Resources Canada, responsible in a major way for the energy industry, had been fighting with Environment Canada over their joint management of the Kyoto file for a number of years. Rumours suggested that Martin was planning to set up a Cabinet-level office to manage the climate file but such was not to be, perhaps because Martin felt that Environment Minister Dion's experience in intergovernmental affairs would be enough to end the EC-NRCAN wars. Unfortunately the two departments have not reconciled their differences: Natural Resources Minister John Efford seems to be continuing his predecessors' role as the major advocate for anti-Kyoto industry sectors in cabinet. Efford seems to have become the most outspoken Minister on the climate file, despite the fact that a new ad hoc Cabinet committee on Sustainability and the Environment has been given responsibility for climate change policy coordination and is chaired by Industry Minister David Emerson.
Even whether or not Canada needs a new Climate Change strategy seems to have been a matter of controversy in cabinet. In February 2004, Efford signed his department's Sustainable Development strategy, a document which states clearly that the federal emissions reduction strategy is 'embodied in the 2002 Climate Change Plan for Canada'. A recently as October 19, 2004, Environment Minister Stephane Dion was telling the House of Commons that 'we now need to refine our plan in order to make it more effective'.
On January 17 2005 Minister Efford told an Alberta audience that 'CO2 storage is an important part of our climate change strategy', even though the 2002 plan counted on CO2 storage for only 2.4% of emission reductions and more than half of that was supposed to have been already underway. He then went on to tell reporters that the target for industrial emission reductions contained in the 2002 strategy is clearly 'unrealistic'. At least on this last point, his statement clearly caught both his Cabinet colleagues and the Prime Minister by surprise, but then Efford has always been a politician who believes in shooting from the hip. Who knows whether his views are truly a statement of government policy?
To the extent there is information about a new Canada Kyoto Plan, GL expects that it will be dependent on federal-provincial and federal government-industry sector agreements. It must also deal with the question of Large Final Emitters, vehicle emissions, and the reallocation of responsibilities among the sectors of society and among various types of initiative.
The first of the federal government - industry agreements, with the Canadian Steel Producers' Association, may not be a good indicator of future federal strategies because the steel industry has already made good progress in meeting its 'share' of the Kyoto target, for example by achieving a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions intensity (kg / tonne of product shipped) since 1990, but if it is an indicator of the federal approach it does not bode well for Canada's Kyoto target. The steel industry MOU seeks but does not require a 15% reduction in steel industry emission intensity from the 2010 Business as Usual model, allows use of flexibility mechanisms in achieving the target, and essentially guarantees the industry a maximum $15 per tonne cost of emission reductions.
As for other sectors, the Prime Minister has indicated that some answers will come in the federal budget. But while the federal budget may throw money at the problem, it seems unlikely that a government would choose to announce a new climate change strategy as part of budget. Maybe it will come on February 16, the date that Kyoto comes into effect, or maybe it will only come after consultation with the Environment Minister's new Competitiveness and Environmental Sustainability Tables that have yet to be set up.
In the current Ottawa climate of disorganization about climate change, the best that GL can do is to remind you of the Kyoto plan that Canada announced back in 2002. That plan had an objective of 240 megatonnes of emission reductions achieved through
- 14 Mt of reduction in transportation and buildings (excluding homes)
- 80 Mt of reductions by Large Industrial Emitters
- 16 Mt in reduction of other industrial emissions
- 38 Mt in agriculture, forestry and landfills, including sinks and offsets
- 12 Mt of credits purchased internationally
- 40 Mt in the government and non-governmental sectors, of which 25 Mt would be achieved through federal funding
- 10 Mt from application of existing and yet-to-be-developed new technology
- 10 Mt by members of communities as part of community strategies
- 31 Mt by individuals (including at home)
- up to 70 Mt credits for cleaner energy exports (never agreed to by members of the UNFCCC; the request to allow credit for cleaner energy exports was subsequently withdrawn by Canada.)
All numbers were regarded as approximate and the above numbers total to 321MT, recognizing the uncertainty in each of the targets. Note that the Plan expressed some of these targets as ranges and divided them into three steps: actions underway (debatable!), new actions, and 'the remainder'. As many of the 'actions underway' have not yet been achieved, GL has combined the three steps for the purpose of this summary.
Last September Minister Dion told a Calgary business audience that 'What we need are concrete results, not paperwork. To this end, it would be helpful if governments provide, at the outset . . . the set of policies and targets they intend to implement'. Hopefully the government is listening to Minister Dion's advice.
Climate Change Plan for Canada Executive Summary.
Climate Change Plan for Canada. 2002.
Climate Change: A Canadian Perspective, Pierre Boileau, A/Chief, Climate Change Coordination, Environment Canada: A Presentation to the SF6 Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona, December 2, 2004.
Climate Change: Government and Canadian Steel Industry Reach Agreement, January 10, 2005
PEMBINA: CLIMATE CHANGE FUNDING UNDERMINED BY SUBSIDIES TO FOSSIL FUELS
The Pembina Institute's Amy Taylor, Matthew Bramley and Mark Winfield reviewed the extent of government support for Canada's oil and gas industry. In a forward to the report, Climate Action Network, the report's sponsor, indicated the rationale for the report arose because the oil and gas industry is the fastest growing and largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and were strong opponents to ratification of Kyoto by Canada. CAN said the industry foretold of huge negative economic impacts of Kyoto and large expenditures to buy credits from other countries. This despite government estimating that the cost of Kyoto were 0.25 cents per barrel of oil. When Canada ratified Kyoto, the then Minister of Natural Resources wrote a letter guaranteeing that the industry would not have to reduce more than 15 per cent below business as usual forecast allowing for continued increased emissions from the industry and that the Government of Canada would pay for all costs of emissi! ons reductions over $15 per tonne.
In contrast, although there were some federal initiatives for renewable energy sources, it seemed that the funding for these was miniscule compared to what was being handed out to the oil and gas industry literally to add to Canada's pollution. The report indicates that in 2002, Canada provided subsidies of $1,445 million (in 2000 $) an increase of 33% in subsidies in between 1996 and 2000. Total federal support between 1996 and 2002 is estimated to be $8,324 million (in 2000 $).
The report criticizes these subsidies because these make it more difficult for more climate friendly energy sources to compete. Oil sand support is particularly criticized both for the amount, estimated to be $1,193 million (in 2000 $) between 1996 and 2000, and because oil sand projects are said to have particularly harmful environmental effects.
Canada has actually reduced some subsidies because there is less government support of energy megaprojects such as Hibernia but the total amount of subsidies are still large. The oil and gas companies are viewed as making excessive profits which Pembina sees as not sufficiently recovered by the government through profit sharing or recapture through taxes. The government of Alberta does not track tax expenditure related to oil and gas development, research and development support or direct expenditure.
Of Canada's total GHG emissions, 20 per cent came from oil and gas sector, up from 16% in 1990. The OECD has found that Canada needs to review environmentally harmful subsidies to transportation and energy as these undermine energy efficiency.
The Pembina report recommends:
- A systematic review of all subsidies to ensure they are in the public interest. Subsidies set up when oil prices were low may not be suitable when prices rise substantially.
- Eliminate federal subsidies to the oil and gas sectors. Financial objectives should be linked to environmental goals especially to reduce GHG emissions.
- Use monies saved from financing oil and gas projects to support energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy until these can compete in the market place.
- Help communities dependent on oil and gas industries to make a transition.
- Reevaluate oil sands development in light of Canada's international commitment to reduce greenhouse gases.
- Put the polluter pay principle into practice. The oil and gas industry should have a reduced number of free GHG emission permits under the Large Final Emitter program. The constraints should not be based on emissions intensity which would allow more greenhouse gas emissions with increased production.
- Maximize revenue collection from oil and gas. The citizens of Canada should benefit from what is often a publically owned resource financed with public money.
- Track on an annual basis, sectoral level support. The Finance Department should track and publish expenditures by government of tax support and other subsidies.
- Alberta should provide provincial expenditure data by sector to inform the public on tax relief, reduced royalties and support through other means such as research and development.
Taylor, Amy, Matthew Bramley and Mark Winfield. Government Spending on Canada's Oil and Gas Industry: Undermining Canada's Kyoto Commitment. Commissioned by Climate Action Network Canada. Pembina Institute, January 2005.
SIERRA CLUB'S KYOTO REPORT CARD 2004
In its second annual report card on Kyoto, the Sierra Club of Canada said the Government of Canada needs to regulate more as advised by the OECD or as Elizabeth May said "Canada's reputation and performance will be an international embarrassment." Among the legislation recommended are mandatory requirements for:
- Automakers to produce lower greenhouse gas emitting vehicles. The suggestion is that carmakers reduce emissions by 25 per cent in 2009-16.
- Large Final Emitters to ensure industry reduces emissions.
- Provincial legislation to improve energy efficiency standards for homes and buildings.
- Large Final Emitters legislation in the first three months of 2005.
- Use of the international mechanisms in Kyoto to help meet the Kyoto targets.
The government gets good marks for their home energy audit program which has households participate in improving their energy efficiency.
Environmental groups have a traditional antipathy towards voluntary agreements. GL thinks that industry makes a mistake by negotiating environmental agreements which come to relatively little or nothing and government creates a big credibility gap by participating in such agreements. GL thinks voluntary agreements can work well in some circumstances if both government and industry plan and commit to them over the long term to the benefit of all and the environment. The result can be greater flexibility and cost effectiveness compared to a regulatory agenda.
Sierra Club of Canada Report Card 2004. News Release. December 17, 2004
DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION BUDGET SUBMISSION
Canada's reliance on voluntary measures for Kyoto is seen not to be working, according to the budget recommendations made by the David Suzuki Foundation. While Canada's greenhouse gas emissions have gone up by 20% between 1990 and 2000, emissions in the US have risen by 13% and in Japan by 7% while the EU has decreased its emission by 2%. Canada is further away from its Kyoto target than any other industrial country.
Among the recommendations are:
- Ecological fiscal reform. Tools applied should ensure that environmental harm is internalized in the market. Taxes should encourage environmentally sound actions and perverse subsidies which support ecological damages should be removed. The polluter should pay and the user should pay. For example, taxes on dirtier fuels such as coal and diesel should be used to fund provinces for health prevention or development of green technologies and infrastructure such as renewable energy and public transit.
- Regulations should set measures and enforcement so we can meet Canada's Kyoto targets.
- Government procurement should create and maintain a market for such climate friendly products and services as energy-efficient buildings, environmentally low-impact power, fuel efficient vehicles and recycled products. ’Ä¢ The government should research the health and environmental costs of economic activities and use this data for decision-making. An example is a report prepared for the National Climate Change Process called The Environmental And Health Co-benefits of Actions to Mitigate Climate Change. ’Ä¢ Expansion of funding and incentive programs for low-impact renewable energy technologies and for retrofitting residences for energy efficiency. The Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency is commended for its program to improve standards and markets but is said to have insufficient resources and inadequate government support. GL heard from someone in that office, that they have difficulty gaining trust from building owners who would benefit from some great energy efficiency programs. Apparently these building owners feel they have been burned before and won't go near the flame again: there is a lack of trust because of previous experience with government energy programs where excess paper work and short lived promises eroded benefits. ’Ä¢ Build on integrating climate change initiatives with industrial innovation. ’Ä¢ Mandate cleaner cars.
David Suzuki Foundation. Fostering a Sustainable Canada: Protecting our health, environment and economy. Recommendations for the 2005 Federal Budget. Submissions to the Standing Committee on Finance. December 8, 2004.
EU PLANS TO MEET ITS KYOTO TARGET WITH ADDITIONAL MEASURES
According to a report by the European Environment Agency, the public institution responsible for environmental data, greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union fell by 2.3% relative to the base year of 1990. The EU's target is 8%. Five of the member states, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom were on track with the other 10 Member States not.
The EEA projects that existing domestic policies and measures will result in a total decrease of only 0.5% between 1990 and 2010 leaving 7.5% to reach the 8% target which the EU has to meet its Kyoto Protocol.
Additional domestic measures being planned by Member States should result in reductions of 7.2% but this is assuming that some Member States such as Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom overdeliver on their targets. If they do not overdeliver, the EU should achieve 5.1% reduction leaving a 2.9% shortfall. The European Commission has proposed additional measures to reduce the gap such as the greenhouse gas emission trading scheme, producing electricity from renewable energy, combined heat and power CHP, improvements in the energy performance of buildings, energy efficiency in large industrial facilities and energy-efficient appliances.
Renewable energy targets are 22% of gross electricity consumption but are unlikely to be met nor is the rate of combined heat and power likely to achieve the EU goal of 18% of total energy production by 2010.
Emissions from transport are estimated to increase by 34% from 1990 by 2010 but since average CO2 emissions from passenger cars were reduced by 10% between 1995 and 2001, the EEA thinks that the EU target of 140 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre by 2008-2009 is achievable.
Only a few European countries have allocated financial resources for use of Kyoto mechanisms and Netherlands and Portugal have projected only 21 million tonnes Mt CO2-equivalent per year. Use of carbon sinks is limited to 13 Mt CO2 per year
Countries Acceding to the EU
For the 10 acceding (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and candidate countries (Bulgaria and Romania) joining or hoping to join the EU, total greenhouse gas emissions declined by 36% in 2001 compared to 1990. For the early part of the 1990s, some of these countries were experiencing economic downturn with growth restored in the second part of the decade to varying degree. Most expect to make their Kyoto targets. All have ratified. Turkey has neither signed nor ratified the UNFCCC or Kyoto.
EU Has Advantage of Bubble
In the EU, the Member States have different emission limits and reduction targets based on economic status in what is called a burden-sharing agreement. Eight of the states have reduction targets (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom), two have agreed to stabilize emissions (Finland and France) and five (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden) have agreed to limit their increases. For example, Luxembourg has a reduction target of 28% while Portugal may increase greenhouse gas emissions up to 27%. Germany has a commitment for the largest amount of emission reduction of 250 Mt. CO2-equivalent.
This sharing, called a bubble, is allowed in the Kyoto Protocol and is seen by some other countries as an unfair advantage for the EU.
Decoupling Electricity Consumption from Production and Consumption
The energy industry delivered by reducing emissions by 2% even though final electricity consumption increased by 23%. This is a known as decoupling: reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved without reducing the use of a useful good or service. This occurred mostly due to fuel switches for power production from coal to natural gas and generation of electricity from renewable energy sources and nuclear power.
Economic restructuring on efficiency improvements especially in the German manufacturing sector after reunification resulted in the largest absolute reductions in CO2 emissions, 57 Mt or 9% from 1990 levels. This is another decoupling where gross value added increased for most states while greenhouse gas emissions were reduced.
Households increased their emissions by 7%. Some decoupling occurred because the number of dwellings increased by 12%.
Specific measures on adipic acid production reduced nitrous oxide emissions in the chemical industry by 57 Mt or 54% decrease from 1990 levels mostly in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Reducing Agriculture Intensification
In agriculture, emissions were reduced by 8%, mainly due to the EU nitrate directive which reduces the use of nitrogen fertilizer to protect water quality. Methane emissions from cattle were reduced by 9% due to agricultural reform which led to a reduction in the number of cattle.
The reform involved some environmental initiatives called Greening the Common Agricultural Policy. An extensification premium was paid to help farmers reduce the stocking density of livestock below a certain level. This was an incentive for reducing beef production and encouraging environmentally sustainable agricultural production by helping those farming less intensively to compete with intensive or semi-intensive producers. In extensive farming, animals are grazed on land sufficient to supply their forage as opposed to intensive farming where animals may be sheltered and most of the feed is brought in to them.
European Environment Agency. Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2003. Environmental issue report. No. 36. 2004.
EU EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME
The European Union Emission Trading Scheme began on January 1, 2005. It is legislated by the Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC. In addition, there are national allocation plans, guidelines for the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gases and a standardized registry. Those participating can make use of the Clean Development Mechanism in the Kyoto Protocol which allows for projects in developing countries to count to reach the target in the funding country. CDM projects are intended to help transfer environmental technologies and help developing countries towards sustainable development.
The EU says the ETS is the first international trading system for CO2 in the world. About 12,000 facilities are involved representing half of the EU's GHG emissions. The emission reduction targets for each country remain the same but the system allows companies to buy and sell emission allowances to meet targets at least cost. The price of the credits is set by the market.
The National Allocation Plan NAP is the total amount of CO2 that each Member State gets to allocate: the Member State must decide how many allowances to allocate for the first trading period of 2005 to 2007 and how many each plant gets. The idea is to limit the amount of CO2 emissions by limiting the allowances to develop a market and an overall reduction in emissions. Each country wishing to participate submits a plan subject to 11 criteria. The plan must allow the Member State to meet its Kyoto target using not only the trading scheme but also other measures.
Beginning in January 2005, companies will have to keep track of emissions and produce an annual report to be verified by a third party. Each February, they will be given a certain number of allowances by the Member State. They will surrender a sufficient number of allowances at each surrender date, the first being April 2006. Failure to surrender the right number of allowances results in financial penalties. Goods which result in more greenhouse gas emissions will tend to be more expensive than those with lower carbon. The system is electronic and allowances exist not on paper but in the online registry account.
The Member States have to maintain the national register, collect the verified emissions data and ensure that the companies surrender the right number of allowances and produce an annual report for the Commission, which in turn will prepare an annual report for Council and Parliament.
European Commission. The European Union Emission Trading Scheme EU ETS.
US RATIFIED THE UNFCC BUT NOT THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The US signed and ratified the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change UNFCCC in 1992 and has an obligation to prepare an emissions inventory identifying anthropogenic sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in order to account for reductions and to evaluate mitigation strategies.
The US negotiated the Kyoto Protocol and signed it in 1998. The Byrd-Hagel Resolution adopted by the Senate unanimously in 1997 stated that US would not be a signatory to any protocol with new commitment to reduce GHG emissions without specific commitments for developing countries because this would harm the US economy. George W. Bush announced in 2001 that the US would not ratify the Protocol.
In 2002, total US greenhouse gas emissions were 6,934.6 teragrams Tg CO2 Equivalent. From 1990, total US emissions rose by 13% from 1990 to 2002 while the US gross domestic product rose by 42%.
US. Environmental Protection Agency EPA. US Emissions Inventory 2004. Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2002.
US CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY
With the world's largest emissions of greenhouse gases, the US is essential to addressing the long-term effects of climate change. The current Administration has set a target of greenhouse gas intensity reducing emissions from 193 to 151 tons per million dollars of GDP from 2002 to 2012. This is estimated to be an increase of 14% in absolute levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 and a World Resources Institute analysis says that this is business as usual, not a reduction.
A report by the US-based Pew Center on Global Climate Change indicates that the US is doing a good job on researching new climate friendly technologies but has few policies which would create a market for these technologies. Examples of such policies are tax incentives for low-greenhouse gas emitting technologies and a Greenhouse Cap and Trade program which would set an overall level of greenhouse gas emissions. Pew Center suggests the elements of a comprehensive US policy on climate change should include:
Use of the many opportunities to gain multiple benefits cost-effectively. Through energy efficiency, companies can reduce energy costs and put on the market new climate- and environmentally friendly products, processes and services.
A range of solutions as no single solution will work. Unlike some of the other international environment agreements for which control of a small set of substances such as CFCs could achieve results, greenhouse gases are discharged from numerous activities and may need thousands of different solutions to control.
US policy must have objectives and flexible means. While market forces are needed to provide incentives for innovations suitable to specific circumstances, a mandatory reduction program is also needed.
Meanwhile, initiatives in Congress, state and business areas indicate a growing support for controlling US GHG emissions.
US State Initiatives
The US Pew Center on Global Climate Change review of state initiatives on climate change suggested that in the absence of US federal policy, the states are setting targets for GHG emissions reductions, encouraging investment in renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency. States identify economic development through alternative fuels, export of renewable energy and technology, development of value-added businesses and sale of carbon emission reduction credits. Other benefits include preventing damage from climate change and reducing energy insecurity. States are vulnerable to impacts from climate change: coastal area from rising sea levels, the breadbasket of the Mid West from drought and yield reductions.
Measures to reduce climate-change related emissions also reduce air pollution, traffic congestions, and odours from livestock operations.
Individual states make a large contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, for example, Texas emits more than France and California more than Brazil. Such state action is no substitute for national and international action especially as the targets tend to be too low for global needs, but the Pew briefing indicates that these policies may eventually lead to similar federal policies as the states act as policy laboratories for testing the strategies.
Lack of coherent federal and international strategies mean business has a plethora of rules, a patchwork of policies which increase business costs of compliance.
Specific State Activities
Regional Efforts. In 2001, the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers NEG/ECP agreed to a comprehensive Climate Change Action Plan to reduce regional GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and to reduce emissions by 10% below 1990 levels by 2020. The plan includes a standardized GHG emissions inventory and a potential trading mechanism as well as adaptation measures to reduce the negative impacts of GHG reduction. Maine passed legislation in 2003, which would require the state to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions to meet the regional targets.
The Western Governors Association are working on Clean and Diversified Energy Initiative with 18 states to increase the efficiency and renewable energy sources in electricity with a renewable energy credits system for trading.
Industry, government and NGOs in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Manitoba have a project called Powering the Plains linking renewable energy and agriculture, including coal gasification with CO2 sequestration and future hydrogen infrastructure.
Emissions Cap-and-Trade. Massachusetts and New Hampshire have CO2 caps on some power plants with plans to allow trading of CO2. The report suggests a good approach is to start with a design of a moderate cap which is reduced over time, eventually covers all GHGs not just CO2, eventually all major sources and a wide geographic area. Flexibility in compliance such as trading, offsets and banking and design for expansion is also recommended.
Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases. Utilities are already required to report CO2 emissions under federal law. New Jersey and Wisconsin have required reporting of other greenhouse gases. A Regional Greenhouse Gas Registry RGGR is under development for the northeast states. It is thought that if companies have to report, they will reevaluate their practices to reduce emissions in a cost-effective way.
Emission Targets. New Jersey set a target of 3.5 percent below 1990 levels by 2005 through covenants with a number of companies, all of its colleges and universities as well as public schools, religious congregation and other agencies. The state's largest electric utility has a binding commitment to reduce CO2 emissions per MWh with penalties if it fails to report and comply. Maine, Massachusettes and New York also have targets.
Climate Change Action Plans. A plan without targets isn't very effective but identifies opportunities. A number of states have plans.
Low-carbon Electricity. Eighteen states have mandates for generation of electricity from some amount of renewable energy by a certain date, known as renewable portfolio standards. Texas will reduce CO2 emissions by 3.3 Mt by requiring 2000 MW renewable generation by 2009. A map in the report details the mandates of the states.
Public Benefit Funds. About half the states have these funds for which money is collected from various sources such as from each bill of electricity consumers or payments by utilities and then used to fund renewable energy or energy efficiency projects. A coalition of twelve states supports the Clean Energy States project to increase investment in renewable energy.
Green Pricing. Customers can pay a premium to ensure that a certain amount of their electricity comes from renewable sources.
Carbon Capture and Storage Technologies. Many states have incentives for technologies which extract CO2 for later storage. Examples of technologies are integrated gasification combined cycle IGCC and pilot projects to store CO2 in underground rock formations. These technologies are particularly of interest in the many states where coal is important.
Promoting Clean Energy. In Washington and Oregon, new power plants must provide an offset for a proportion of the CO2 emissions either by reducing or mitigating greenhouse gas emissions directly or paying a fee to a specified group which undertakes to offset projects. Tax incentives for renewable energy are common in most states. Most states have net metering and common interconnection standards to allow small producers of renewable energy to sell their power to the electricity grid.
Building Energy Efficiency. Over half the states have adopted building codes for commercial and residential buildings which exceed the national model code.
Product Energy Efficiency. Federal laws apply to minimum energy standards for 20 products such as washing machines, refrigerators, and air conditioners. States are not allowed to set more stringent standards for these products but Connecticut and Maryland have adopted higher standards for additional products.
GHG Emissions Standards for Vehicles. Although challenged in the courts, California has set GHG vehicle emission standards which will reduce emissions from light duty cars and trucks. Seven other states may legislate similar standards.
Alternative Fuels. Procurement rules in some states mandate a portion of the state's fleet run on cleaner fuels. Tax incentives encourage alternative fuels, blends of fuel containing alternative fuels or alternately fueled vehicles. In some states, hybrid vehicles with sole drivers are allowed to use the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes
Fuel Efficiency in Vehicles. Procurements rules mean some states require vehicles purchased meet certain fuel efficiency standards.
Smart Growth. Sprawl reduction, public transit, zoning to promote mixed uses, development of former industrial lands, requirements for pedestrian or bicycle paths and other policies to reduce congestion and bring home closer to workplace reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Biomass and Energy Crops. Some states are researching the potential of energy crops or providing incentives for such crops. A pilot project in Iowa is demonstrating the potential of switch grass for co-firing of coal electricity generation.
Management of Animal Waste. Some states supply funding for methane recovery for electricity production from feedlots. Other incentives are support for research on technologies and exemption of the technology from property taxes or other taxes. Minnesota provides a per kWH subsidy for electricity from anaerobic digesters located on farms.
Sequestration by Farm Practices. No-till and soil conservation practices can increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil. State support includes tax credits for equipment purchases, information sharing on best practices and research on the potential of soil sequestration for future carbon credits, an additional source of income for farmers.
Technology Development. Many states provide funding to research innovative technologies and some are moving towards helping to ensure those technologies are put to good use.
The report has a link to a database kept by the Pew Center to document what is being done by the states.
The report includes a list of companies who have set targets relating to GHG emissions. Some of the companies have already achieved some of their targets. For example, BP has reduced GHG emissions by 10 percent from 1990 levels by 2010; DuPont has reduced emissions by 65% from 1990 levels by 2010; IBM has reduced PFC emissions from semiconductor manufacturing worldwide by 40% from 1995 by 2002 indexed to production levels; Novartis reduced CO2 emissions by 3% based on 2000; Rohm and Haas has reduced energy consumption by 5 percent per pound of product from mid-1999 levels by year-end 2001; TransAltra reduced GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2000.
Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Climate Change Activities in the U.S.: 2004 Update. 2004.
World Resources Institute. Analysis of Bush Administration Greenhouse Gas Target. February 14, 2002.
Pew Centre on Global Climate Change. Learning from State Action On Climate Change. In Brief. No. 8. December 2004.
States Database of Climate Change Initiatives at
The Kyoto Protocol sets out the requirement for the Parties to discuss requirements for the next commitment period by the end of 2005; the first commitment period is that covered by the Kyoto Protocol 2008-2012.
Commentators from Winnipeg-based IISD on post-2012, indicate that there are significant barriers to negotiations including re-engaging the US, setting commitment for developing countries stronger than in Kyoto, new emission targets and overcoming a current stalemate in negotiations. Kyoto's target setting had flaws: Russia had a low bar to meet while the US, Canada and Japan took on targets difficult to reach through domestic programs alone. Three main issues need to be addressed in post-Kyoto: extension of the cap and trade approach, technology applications, and development assistance.
One of the big issues for post-Kyoto is the role of developing countries which have rejected new commitments to be required of them. China, India and OPEC specifically refuse to negotiate but other countries are more open. Over the long time of these type of international agreements, situations change, developing and emerging economies may develop and make the transition to the market economy and negotiations will need to take these changes into account.
The briefing paper from the Winnipeg-based IISD suggests that for equity reasons, emission reductions for developing countries should take into account their level of development and their capability to mitigate. Since in an international agreement, countries can withdraw, carrots or incentives rather than sticks are most productive. Stronger links need to be made in aid programes between poverty reduction and development and climate change but developing countries don't want to have climate change compete with the budgets allocated for aid to solve what many see as a developed country problem.
China's astounding growth has led to estimates that by 2030, energy use will be three times the 2000 use but per capita expenditure will still be only 40% of the current OECD average. Japan suggests that major developing countries such as China and India will need to limit emissions in the next commitment period because by 2030, cumulative emissions from developing countries will exceed those from developed countries.
The Crucial Role of the US
The US' position is that it is far too early to discuss post-2012 and that it isn't allowed to participate as a Party to the Kyoto Protocol but merely as an observer. As the world's largest economy and largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the US climate negotiators are powerful players in the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties and most of the world knows that they must be at the table if the goals of emission reductions are to be achieved.
The IISD paper previously mentioned suggested that even a future Administration positive towards the Protocol may not get the support of the Senate. Allowing non-parties to participate in trading might allow a future US Administration to link a domestic greenhouse gas emissions trading to the international system without ratifying and still meet its obligations under the Protocol.
COP 10 Sets up Seminar of Government Experts
At the tenth meeting of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Buenos Aires in December 2004, an agreement was reached for a Seminar of Government Experts to meet in May 2005 but this specifically excluded opening negotiations on new commitments.
The US sought to ensure that the Seminar which is to report to COP11 is for information exchange and does not include issues related to future negotiations, frameworks of mandates and excludes any written or oral report.
EU Consults on Post-Kyoto
In March 2005, the EU plans to discuss its long-term climate change strategy post 2012 in preparation for the November COP 11 meeting on post 2012 targets.
In November 2004, the European Commission held a Stakeholder Conference to discuss an approach for international cooperation for climate change after 2012 when the Kyoto targets end. Globally, the aim of the Kyoto Protocol is to achieve on average a target of 5.2% for the industrialized countries. More substantial reductions are needed to achieve the objective of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on the "the stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." The EU's position is that global emissions have to decrease by 15% below 1990 levels by 2050.
The EU intends to demonstrate leadership on climate change by developing ideas for the future regime stating that clarity on global actions will be better for businesses who benefit from "a stable and predictable international policy environment." The European Commission proposes that beyond 2012 an EU target would be an average of 1% per year reduction to 2020.
The European Council is expected to discuss the medium and longer terms strategies in the spring of 2005.
Japan Plans for Post Kyoto
Consulting on post-Kyoto strategies, Japan addressed the issue of the developing countries' position that the industrialized countries should lead and achieve the Kyoto targets before asking the developing world to meet targets. The paper suggests that COP 1 in 1995 through a document called the Berlin Mandate set the stage for negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol's provision that industrialized countries have quantified objectives for reducing their emissions. Learning from this lesson, the paper says, Japan must get ready since the early stages of negotiations set the form of the mandate when the full-fledged negotiations take place.
Japan suggests that the world's fifteen top GHG emitting countries which represent 80% of the global emissions, get together and work out an agreement separate from the 189 countries belonging to the United Nations. The Japanese government offers to continue the Informal Meeting on Further Actions Against Climate Change it has hosted three times since 2002.
Japan's draft report about post-Kyoto suggests the following:
The participation of the US is necessary. Unless the US is a Party, it is unlikely that China or India will limit emissions. The US plays an international role through technologies and technology development and including technologies in the future framework could act as an incentive.
The hot air issue needs to be dealt with. Some emission reductions are made not because of energy conservation or other such activities but because of an economic recession. Japan is concerned that the EU is using the hot air from the new member countries to meet its targets.
Regional cooperation in Asia for energy saving and environmental measures As well as benefitting the developing countries, Japan gains by greater ease in development and diffusion of their technology in these expanding markets. China is seen as a particularly important market because stabilizing energy demand there reduces air pollution which affects Japan.
Private sector investment in developing countries. Businesses must participate in the Clean Development Mechanisms, for example HFC recovery and decomposition. Substances with higher global warming potential such as HFC, nitrous oxide and methane give better returns on investment for Certified Emission Reduction credits. However, the supply of these is limited.
Energy conservation CDM have to prove additionality (that the CDM project is over and above what would have normally occurred). Another principle supplementarity applies to CDM and JI. It means that the country should make most of its emission reduction domestically and use flexible mechanisms only to supplement that effort.
A global R&D fund. This would fund research technologies of benefit to all humankind.
International standards to benchmark the world's top energy efficiency. This should be on a sectoral basis which could then by verified by third parties as government require high energy efficiency for sectors or sub-sectors. For example, in The Netherlands, the government signed a Energy Efficiency Benchmarking Covenant with energy intensive industries in 1999. A 2002 interim report projects that as a result of the Covenant the reductions will be 30% of the business as usual needed by The Netherlands to meet its Kyoto target by 2012.
Broad stakeholder involvement. A broad range of stakeholders including NGOs and industry needs to set goals and benchmark performance in relation to greenhouse gas emissions.
European Union. EU and the Post-2012 Climate Policy.
Japan. METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Sustainable Future Framework on Climate Change. Draft of the Interim Report. Special Committee on a Future Framework for Addressing Climate Change. October 2004.
Pew Center on Global Climate Change. COP 10 Summary: Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. BuenoArgentinas Aires: December 6-17, 2004.
Sugiyama,Taishi and Kristian Tangen, Henrik Hasselknippe, Axel Michaelowa, John Drexhage, Jiahua Pan, Jonathan Sinton, and Arild Moe. Where to next? Future steps of the global climate regime. Winnipeg, MB: IISD, December 2004.
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