Tag Archive | "UNFCCC"

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Future Energy Scenario Unfavourable to Asia

Posted on 16 December 2009 by editor

Analysis by Darryl D’Monte

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) – Much of the discussion in Copenhagen has revolved around targets and deadlines for cutting carbon emissions. But a weekend seminar in the idyllic Danish island of Samsoe, titled “Future Energy,” helped journalists locate the problem in the context of the world’s biggest emitters.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) drew out future scenarios, assuming that all these countries did not exceed 450ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide, which is considered the cap to prevent irretrievable climate change. Many developing countries believe 350ppm is a safer option. Continue Reading

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China Reels Under a Barrage of Criticism

Posted on 16 December 2009 by editor


Civil society demonstration in Copenhagen. Credit: Ana Libisch/IPS

Civil society demonstration in Copenhagen. Credit: Ana Libisch/IPS

By Antoaneta Bezlova


BEIJING (IPS/TerraViva) – China is not happy. This is how one of the Chinese state-sanctioned newspapers summed up Beijing’s feelings about the week spent negotiating on climate change in the Danish capital.

After a very public showdown with the United States in the early days of the global climate talks, China found itself attacked by smaller developing countries for benefiting more than anyone else from carbon credit funding. And as the countdown to the end of negotiations began, Beijing was seen deflecting criticism that it was the stumbling block to reaching a deal. Continue Reading

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CLIMATE CHANGE: Negotiators Told to Update Their Science

Posted on 10 December 2009 by editor

By Claudia Ciobanu

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) – Estimates for greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions being used by the UNFCCC and negotiators during the COP15 are too low, argue scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), the body responsible for the first historical calculations of carbon emissions.

“It is not a matter of bad will, it’s that science has moved on considerably since Kyoto,” Tony Haymet, the director of the SIO, told TerraViva.

The scientists are at Copenhagen to let the decision-makers know that better estimates can now be made. They stress that precise measurements of emissions are crucial if regulatory legislation and carbon taxes or cap-and-trade schemes are to succeed.

“At the moment, the situation of the negotiators is comparable to that of people who go on a diet without first weighing themselves,” commented geochemistry researcher Ray Weiss, who is working on measurements of industrial gas emissions for SIO.

Weiss explained that estimates used by UNFCCC for industrial gases such as carbon tetrafluoride (CF4), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) or sulphur hexafluoride (SH6 considered the most potent GhG by the IPCC) are lower than real emissions. In the case of NF3 for instance, the real emissions can be as much as four times higher than the UNFCCC figures.  

Even more, in some cases (such as that of CF4), UNFCCC numbers show that the trend of emissions is decreasing while real numbers show that emissions have been rising over the past few years.

The reasons for these errors, explained the scientists, are that UNFCCC data relies on bottom-up reports (provided by different regional monitoring centres around the world), which by themselves are not reliable enough.

“It is possible that some people may want to underreport emissions, especially if they are given financial incentives to do so,” said Ray Weiss, “or that measurements are tuned to meet standards before inspections”.

For such reasons, the scientists argued that it is very important to combine bottom-up reporting of emissions with top-down reporting, which is being developed at the moment.

Top-down methods which are developed by people like Weiss involve high-frequency measurements coupled with modelling of atmospheric transport. The scientists from SIO added that an important role in better estimates can be played by spatial measurements of GhG, as experimented with in the United States for CO2 and in Japan for methane.

All of these methods must be combined in order to get correct estimates. But the good news from Weiss and Haymet is that such precise measurements are now possible.
To provide a clear incentive for using better measurements, the scientists stressed that precise calculations can play an important role in stabilising the volatile carbon-equivalent trading market, now worth 100 billion dollars.

“If we have the precise numbers for how much emissions are being produced or saved, it will act like a certification seal, leading to increased investor confidence,” Haymet told TerraViva.

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COP15: “Keep it Simple”

Posted on 06 December 2009 by editor

Yvo de Boer and John Nashe. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch

Yvo de Boer and John Ashe. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch

By Servaas van den Bosch

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) – Take the concerns of the South seriously and bring an ambitious amount of money and emission cuts to the negotiating table, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer told industrialised nations on the eve of the biggest climate meeting the world has ever seen.

With over 15,000 people from 192 countries descending on Copenhagen to discuss a climate deal under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), De Boer and colleagues walk a fine line of tempering expectations, while not dismissing the possibility of a historic agreement altogether. Continue Reading

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