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COP21 Update – Thursday, December 3

By the time you read this, we might know whether UN members achieved their self-imposed preliminary deadline of Wednesday evening to have some kind of draft document by Saturday noon. Even working into last night resulted in little progress on some issues. For regular UN watchers this is not new, but it is disappointing because the leaders seemed to give such clear mandates on Monday. The President of the proceedings, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, has the prerogative to take steps to speed things up. Fabius will make a proposal by the end of the week, regarding how he plans to proceed in the second week. Nobody wants a Copenhagen-style compromise agreement.

UNANIMA representatives spent the day attending side events and visiting exhibits, meeting interesting people, networking, and discovering previously-unexplored parts of the huge complex. The first side event was at the Netherlands’ pavilion (picture) to hear presentations on the financing of sustainable energy access projects. Since typical investors in most countries expect a return for their money, they tend to give grants to the middle income countries; the poor get about 3% for their projects. Also most energy development money goes for “big grid” projects like dams. The message we gleaned from this event was that—to combine poverty reduction and climate change mitigation benefits–the world would get “more bang for the buck” out of non-grid or micro-grid projects such as village solar, biogas, micro industry, or other small projects. One of the presenters showed data from a pilot study of a
 single island in the Philippines; others spoke from their experience from India or granting agencies.One participant made the good point that sometimes we send the technology without the training for sustainability…e.g. the equipment,s use,  repair,  or long term maintenance, and it becomes useless.  Including the training to do those things would actually result in more jobs and prosperity in the long run.

Another side event was on the completion of the review process for the first commitment period of the nations who signed onto the Kyoto Protocol. The whole process lasted about 10 years (2006-2016) even though commitments were from 2008-2012…and was quite laborious. Experts (469 of them!) had to be trained and tested, and 156 were actually used. There were scores of reviews before, during, and after. IT systems were needed for emissions trading (over a million transactions!) but the complicated process seemed to work. Only 6 countries had to be found out of compliance, but all managed to work their way back into compliance. We were wondering—what lessons did they learn In this process that might be useful to track climate change compliance in the future?

We’ll tell you tomorrow about some interesting people we met… 20151202_225233