Note to Self: This Week, Agree a Strong CP2

Today's Thought for the Unwilling: why a strong CP2 is better for you...

ECO would like to remind Parties that hold large amounts of Kyoto surplus units: Insisting on lenient use rules and refusing to agree to cancellation at the end of 2020 may get you the opposite of what you want.
 
Why would developing countries agree to a CP2 with no ambition, no provisional application, no 5 year period, no finance . . . Why should these countries agree to such a miserable CP2 deal?
 
If the KP negotiations fail in Doha, it would mean your AAU surplus will vanish overnight, because it is only under a working KP that your AAUs have any meaning or value. So simply blocking progress on this issue may well turn against what you are hoping to achieve. ECO believes that there much more constructive ways out of this mess.  
 
Please take notes!
 
Ukraine -- it is time to end yourtimid silence! How about joining the Kyoto family with an ambitious target and not selling any of your surplus? Such bold action may even be your ticket into the EU-ETS. 
 
Belarus and Kazakhstan -- don’t get off to a bad start by supporting carryover of hot air owned by others!
Be bold! Be original!
 
Poland, Bulgaria and Romania -- why not work constructively with your fellow EU countries on an intra-European solution? 
 
How about advocating for a proposal that 20% of the EU budget would be used for low carbon development and building climate resilience in the EU? 
 
Or include a trading mechanism under the Effort Sharing Decision that includes a large Green Investment Scheme (GIS). Swap your worthless AAUs at a discount for EU trading units that are actually worth money.  In return the GIS will allow you and others to decarbonize your economies. Seriously, this can work!  
 
And you know that it will . . .
 
Russia -- why do you think you can sell your surplus without signing up to CP2, and to whom exactly?  The KP is pretty clear, as you know: no QELRO noassigned amount, no carryover.
 
And to all Parties, never forget: Nature cannot be fooled by accounting tricks!
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Floating In Hot Air

While ECO has not yet given up on countries strengthening their national emission reduction targets, there is another simple step that will have a substantial impact. Up to 13 billion tonnes of impact in fact. And ECO knows that the negotiators are well aware of the fact that strong new rules to eliminate the gigantic surplus of emission permits from the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period will make a real difference. As our dear readers may have noticed, it’s a subject very dear to ECO’s heart. We have been active in naming and shaming Poland, Ukraine and Russia for fighting for the rights to sell their hot air. We have called out the EU for losing its way on the road to progress and on leadership. 

Yet it is not just these countries that are standing in the way of bursting the hot air bubble.  
 
STOP THE PRESSES! It seems that the talks have birthed their latest (non)-negotiating group. Yes, ECO has been hearing rumours that there is a group of Kyoto members, including Australia, Norway and Iceland, forming around a non-position on the carry-over of surplus emissions. It seems they even got a name—if not a position—called the “Fence-Sitters Group.” Perhaps sitting on the fence is a comfortable place to be, when you are surrounded by other countries’ hot air?
 
ECO knows that any surplus AAUs from these countries are not the real reason for concern, yet the Fence-Sitters have the power to do something positive. Get down off that fence and take the lead. Fence-Sitters, you have a series of options that can make a difference – go with the G77 position or check out the Switzerland proposal and take your pick. The world needs to hear from you, and ECO is all ears!
 
Because what it comes down to is a choice between win-win, where these Parties can move the talks forward and get more emission reductions, or lose-lose by putting the talks at risk and missing out on the chance of strengthening the KPCP2.
 
Of course they should not forget that there is another way they can make the KPCP2 more effective - these Parties could always up the ambition of their QELROs...
 
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A Hot Blast of Hot Air from Doha Delivers Fossils to Poland and Russia

 

The First Place Fossil is awarded to Poland. Back home in Poland, Environment Minister Korolec, revealed the country's position on the Doha talks -  claiming the carryover of AAU credits is NOT a priority issue, but that the length of the second commitment period and the obligations contained in the Kyoto Protocol are. We should remind the minister that carryover of AAUs influences the level of ambition in CP2. 

Moreover, Poland does not want to give up even one tonne of their huge surplus of AAU emission allowances to contribute to the environmental integrity. Why? Warsaw believes their AAU surplus is a strictly national issue. Hello…!! Carbon emissions know no national borders and the issue is a key element of the CP2 negotiations!

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Russia. The Russian vice Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday following ministerial talks that the country will not sign on to the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week, Russia will announce its emissions reduction targets, but they will not be attributed to the Second Commitment Period, which Russia strongly opposes. This also means that Russia will lose the chance to take part in JI (Joint Implementation) projects in the future, something that the country was striving to be involved with. This will have a negative effect on both the economy and low-carbon development in Russia.

A Hot Blast of Hot Air from Doha Delivers Fossils to Poland and Russia

 

The First Place Fossil is awarded to Poland. Back home in Poland, Environment Minister Korolec, revealed the country's position on the Doha talks -  claiming the carryover of AAU credits is NOT a priority issue, but that the length of the second commitment period and the obligations contained in the Kyoto Protocol are. We should remind the minister that carryover of AAUs influences the level of ambition in CP2. 

Moreover, Poland does not want to give up even one tonne of their huge surplus of AAU emission allowances to contribute to the environmental integrity. Why? Warsaw believes their AAU surplus is a strictly national issue. Hello…!! Carbon emissions know no national borders and the issue is a key element of the CP2 negotiations!

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Russia. The Russian vice Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday following ministerial talks that the country will not sign on to the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week, Russia will announce its emissions reduction targets, but they will not be attributed to the Second Commitment Period, which Russia strongly opposes. This also means that Russia will lose the chance to take part in JI (Joint Implementation) projects in the future, something that the country was striving to be involved with. This will have a negative effect on both the economy and low-carbon development in Russia.


Photo Credit: Miljømagasinet Putsj/Vilde Blix Huseby

What’s wrong with Poland?

The Polish government lives in the past. Because of that it believes Poland should be treated as a special case forever. It fails to acknowledge that a lot has changed in the country since the 1990s. Poland is a developed country now. But instead of strengthening Poland’s climate policies to further enhance competitiveness, its government blocks any action on climate change and threatens the country’s future.

So far, Poland has done everything it can to be the lone bad guy in the EU. Poland already stood alone thrice in opposing European efforts to take more ambitious climate action for  2020 and beyond. ECO understands that Poland wants to be seen as a strong EU country. But domestically, the Polish authorities have done everything but be an equal partner, such as failing to fully enforce important EU laws. And to top its opposition to stronger action by the EU, it plans to build new coal and nuclear power plants, open new lignite mines and extract shale gas. This when most European countries are transitioning to a low-carbon economy based on renewables and energy efficiency.
 
At the UNFCCC negotiations the Polish government has been blocking the EU from finding a constructive, unified position to address the 13 billion AAU surplus. It is unashamedly claiming a full carry-over of AAUs to CP2 as a price to agreeing to continue into it. The Polish government does not even seem to mind aligning itself with Russia on this issue. ECO would like to ask the Polish government why it insists on full carry over, since AAUs will have zero value in CP2 given there will be no demand because of the low level of ambition by developed countries. Is Poland really willing to derail the international negotiations over this?
 
Poland wants to host COP19. But is it responsible enough to do so? Hosting a COP comes with many political responsibilities, including being able to constructively engage in finding solutions. It is not just about calling on others to act, it is about showing leadership and committing oneself to more ambitious action. Poland has yet to show the world that it is able to do so. Instead of vetoing, the Polish government has to learn the art of compromise. Poland, are you ready?
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CAN Position on the Carry Over of Surplus Kyoto Units - August 2012

Kyoto Protocol rules allow countries to carry over any unused (ie. surplus) Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) into the next commitment period. A number of countries, such as Russia, Ukraine and Poland, have very large surpluses of AAUs. By the end of 2012, up to 13 billion AAUs, could be carried over into the Kyoto Protocols second commitment period. This is almost three times the annual emissions of the European Union or more than twice those of the United States.

This surplus threatens the viability and effectiveness of international climate policy regimes. If no restrictions are placed on the surplus of Kyoto units, weak pledges together with the surplus will allow countries to have emissions that are as high as business-as-usual emissions are projected to be in 2020. This holds true even if the largest surplus, that of Russia, is excluded.  Allowing the full AAU surplus to be carried over could eliminate the chances of avoiding dangerous climate change by overshooting the +2˚C limit agreed by all Parties to the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in 2009.

The issue has to be addressed by the end of 2012 when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends, otherwise the existing rule that allows full carry-over will be applied by default.

By COP18 in Qatar a solution must be found to make a second commitment period under the Kyoto protocol viable and to avoid stifling progress on a new global climate deal called for by the Durban Platform. The Climate Action Network International (CAN-I) urges the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to fully address the issue of surplus AAUs and makes the following recommendations:

  • Almost all of the surplus must be eliminated, including surplus emissions credits from the CDM and JI e.g. solutions based on the proposals made by AOSIS and the African Group. Both proposals would eliminate approximately 95% of the Kyoto unit surplus.
  • The surplus must be eliminated permanently. Option that would not restrict the carry-over but limit the use of any carried-over surplus are insufficient because they do not resolve the question of what would happen to the surplus after the end of the second commitment period. The surplus could continue to exist decades from now.
  • To be eligible to use any surplus AAUs, CERs and/or ERUs at all, a Party must have a reduction target for the second commitment period that is lower than its 2008 emissions.
  • A new “hot air” AAU surplus must be avoided at all costs in the next commitment period. The current limited emission reduction targets of Russia, Ukraine and the EU risk generating a further AAU surplus within the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, on top of the existing surplus AAUs from the first commitment period. Any 2020 reduction target for any Annex I country must be substantively lower than current baseline emission estimates.
  • Annex I countries must significantly raise second commitment period emissions reduction targets and participation in the Kyoto Protocol. Higher targets would work most effectively if combined with a stringent limit on the use of the surplus. According to UNEP a combination of stronger reduction targets with stricter Kyoto rules (such as the reduction of the surplus) is needed to keep the global average temperature increase below +2˚C.
  • CAN-I calls on the G-77 to develop a joint proposal based on the proposals made by AOSIS and the African Group.
  • CAN-I calls on the EU to find an intra-European solution so it is able to take a clear position at the UNFCCC negotiations. If the EU wants to maintain its constructive and proactive role in the climate mitigation arena it needs to follow up with clear and strong positions on elements that could threaten the environmental integrity of a future global climate regime.
  • If the EU and the G77 put their diplomatic weight behind a joint position, it would greatly increase the chances of addressing the AAU surplus to strengthen the environmental integrity of a second commitment period and a new climate treaty to be agreed by 2015. 

 

 

Ask Poland

Both developed and developing countries often complain that the EU will not answer their legitimate questions, such as "What is the EU position on carrying forward AAU surpluses?" and "As a so-called leader, why does the EU not move to at least a 30 percent domestic target, having already achieved around 17% reductions on 1990 levels?"

The answer is that you may be asking the wrong people. The EU Commission will say that they cannot answer because they do not have the agreement of the member states. The Germans will tend to keep quiet, having played a dominant role in dealing with the Eurocrisis. The British will say “bloody foreigners” and the French will say "plus grand en France".

The trick is to ask questions of newer EU states that are less deferential to European Union traditions and norms. Poland is ideal. They know all about lack of EU ambition and wanting to carry forward hot air AAUs. Ask Poland.

CAN Classifieds

ECO received so many requests for C.B. in its first classified advert yesterday that it thought more readers might be interested in what other globe-trotting readers had to offer. We think there is something for almost everyone below, and encourage more submissions.

The LCA Moving Companyis now offering services in Canada, the US, Japan and Russia. We’ll move your QELROs and common accounting packages from Kyoto to our head office in LCA by December or you get a free trip to Doha, on us! Code R58B.

FOUND fancy and complete ZCAPs – Visionary, pragmatic and looking for their homes! Detailed and quite the know-it-alls, from everything in the economy to clean technology. Are also very helpful at assisting you reduce those hard-to-lose carbon pounds. If you think you are the developed country that has forgotten about its lost ZCAP, call us to claim it! Code ZX5C.

Rekindled Romance? Lonely European looking for a lost lover with common values.  Last time we crossed paths was in 1997 on a business trip in Japan, and I have a feeling you're still around... I showed you mine, now show me yours!  Code K12P

Delegates -- feeling inadequate? Need enhancement? For immediate action, call 1-800-AMBITION today. When it comes to commitments, size matters!” Code G28T

Middle-aged but unused AAUs searching for support to allow retirement. After 5 years of useless hanging around, we feel it’s time to let nature run its course and stop trying to change the system. Code X44T”

Sleepless in Ottawa worried about the her man abandoning his commitments and calling his joke of a pledge ambitious. Any help to get us back to a safer environment greatly appreciated. Code C77A”

With great pleasure and excitement, the international community is happy to announce the birth of the Green Climate Fund. Thanks to support from family, friends and colleagues to get us through a long and difficult in-vitro fertilisation process. Beyond our own expectations, there has been a huge line up of potential godparents of this little creature, and we are anxious to be able to announce incoming donations to help our new family get started.”

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