Will Doha Burst the Hot Air bubble?

A staggering 13 billion emissions permits are left over from the first Kyoto commitment period. Hot air is looming large – and threatens the viability of CP2 and any future climate deal.

ECO would like to remind delegates that the problem is the result of extremely weak CP1 emissions targets well above what countries were projected to emit. Poland, for example committed to a 6% reduction from their 1988 emission levels, despite the fact that in 1997, when the Kyoto targets were set, Poland’s emissions were already about 20% below 1988 levels. ECO warns the distinguished delegates not to fall for the bogus claim that the existence of hot air is the result of dedicated action. It’s not – and the economic downfall of the nineties cannot lead to inherited rights in the climate change process.
 
But memories are short. ECO can’t help but notice that Parties are about to make the same mistake again: Low pledges for CP2 mean that another surplus of 3 to 10 billion tonnes will accumulate by 2020. Add to that the 13 Gt surplus from the first phase and you have rendered any Kyoto targets quite meaningless. Yet Russia, Ukraine and Poland, the largest surplus holders, insist on keeping the right to sell their hot air. ECO has looked into it and found this is a vain hope. Pledges for CP2 are so weak that no one will buy their surplus! Prices for AAUs have dropped from 13 EUR in 2008 to less than 0.5 EUR in 2012.
 
The problem is so big that even if developed countries were to increase their CP2 pledges, they could meet their more stringent targets by simply buying more surplus and without actually cutting their emissions.
 
For those delegates that are interested in returning a little bit of environmental integrity to the system, ECO would like to emphasise that they’ll need to burst the hot air bubble. Raising ambition and closing loopholes go hand in hand. ECO therefore suggests to start looking seriously at the proposal by the G77 and China. It effectively minimises the use of CP1 hot air in CP2, does not allow for trading, and, most importantly, cancels the surplus permanently by the end of the second commitment period.
 
Is it worth it? Look, we are now on a pollution path that could lead to warming of 4oC or more. In addition, impacts associated with even 2oC of warming have been revised upwards and are now considered “dangerous” and “extremely dangerous”. A world beyond 2oC will threaten the very existence of civilisation as we know it. Heard of it? Worried? Then go burst the hot air bubble.
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AAU Elephants

Negotiators are truly having a tough time putting the pieces for a second commitment period together. But soon they will face the enormous elephant in the room. A recent UNEP report estimates that up to 13 billion tonnes CO2 of surplus AAUs could be carried over to the next commitment period. This is almost three times the annual emissions of the EU. With the supply of hot air AAUs much higher than current reduction commitments (that are well under the 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 actually needed), carry-over would lead to no emission reductions compared to business-as-usual emission projections by 2020. As a matter of fact, CP2 commitments as they stand would likely lead to another surplus. This would be the case even if the large quantity of Russian surplus is excluded. Additionally, carbon credits from the CDM and JI that can be carried over would further lower actual emission reduction levels by 2020 by roughly 6%.

But there is hope! A proposal by the G77, which is technically sound and politically feasible in addressing this enormous loophole, could do the trick. Europe showed in Durban that it can pull its weight internationally by being the driving force behind the agreement for a new climate accord by 2015. This can’t be put at risk by domestic quarrels. The higher carbon price due to restricted carry-over could actually benefit surplus allowance holders, since it would avoid a likely price collapse after 2012.

However, ECO is deeply worried that a low ambition-laden second commitment period might emerge as a compromise. In particular, the differentiation of treatment between two types of hot air seems to be in the making. This could lead to an amendment that allows the European hot air that followed the economic crisis of 2008 to be fully carried over into the second commitment period. In particular, Brazil seems keen to allow such differentiation. ECO wonders why Brazil is so interested in helping further water down the weak European 2020 reduction target through the introduction of such a major loophole.

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Brazil Takes 1st Place; Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, EU, Canada US, & More 2nd

It was a full day for fossils Sunday at the Rio+20 negotiations. Brazil earned the First Place Fossil for a frightening new draft text. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela took Second Place for trying to save fossil fuel subsidies. The European Union, United States, and other developed countries earned another Second Place Fossil for bringing empty pockets to plans in need of financing. The Fossils as presented read:

“Brazil earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday Brazil took over as host country of the negotiations for the Rio+20 summit and presented its new draft of the negotiating text. With great power comes great responsibility. The world is watching how Brazil performs in its task of steering negotiators towards agreement on ambitious, concrete outcomes. Outcomes that will get the world on the path to sustainable development and ensuring all members of this and future generations access to quality food, clean water and renewable energy, as well as a healthy, liveable planet, a stable climate and a vibrant prosperous economy. The outcome also need to find new sources of financing and ways to mobilize the technologies to achieve these goals.
 
Unfortunately the text yesterday shows no signs of movement in this direction. It appears that Brazil is missing the chance be a force for raising ambition and living up to the hopes and trust that the world has placed on its shoulders, and will be content with using its growing political clout and indisputable diplomatic capacities only to find clever compromises and get agreement on a watered-down document devoid of clear commitments and actions. Furthermore it seems that the Brazilian government are more focused on closing text, even though it is slashing the ambition, rather than ensuring the outcome we need. Of course Brazil can’t single-handedly turn this process around, and it needs bold and ambition proposals from other countries and a willingness from all countries to get this process on track to creating the world we really do want.”
 
“The United States, European Union, Canada, and other developed countries earned the Second Place Fossil. US, Canada, EU and other developed countries, turned up in Rio with not a Euro cent or Dime, and now that we see all references to finance and technology commitments deleted from the Rio negotiating text it’s clear that developed countries are intending to run away from the Rio principles signed 20 years
ago, especially Common But Differentiated Responsibility. Rich, industrialised countries need to step up and provide the predictable and adequate support that allows developing countries to pursue truly sustainable development.”
 
“Saudi Arabia and Venezuela also earn a Second Place Fossil. During closed door negotiations Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have consistently blocked progress on ending fossil fuel subsidies. Despite an honest effort by Brazil to bridge the divide, these two countries remain the biggest obstacle to stopping our governments handing taxpayers' money directly to the dirty energy industries. Why aren't these billions being spent on access to clean energy for the billions without? The oil industry' slippery tentacles are strangling sustainable development and driving us closer towards a climate catastrophe, with our governments in on the act. By refusing to end these dirty handouts, we give Saudi Arabia and Venezuela the second place fossil, hopefully we won’t see them on the podium again.”

 

CAN Classifieds

Beautiful but totally isolated country in central Europe desperately seeks a friend with a common interest in coal. Our present so-called friends do not appreciate our tradition of carrying forward iconic things even if they are worthless. They do not understand that possessing the biggest European lignite deposit obliges us to make use of it. They even criticise our veto of EU climate ambition, which we must admit may sometimes seem like an addiction. Seeking new friends with common interests across the Atlantic or in OPEC, but preferably from the EU, so that they join us in our next veto of ambition at the June Energy Council. Mailbox: P00O

LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME for a large, Polish-speaking country. Due to biting, aggressive and possessive behaviour over coal and hot air, E.U. is looking for a new home for one of its members. Suitable for a family that does not plan to have children. Free. Mailbox: E27U

Parties: One classified FREE with every US$1 billion contributed to the GCF!

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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