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A private sector view of the recent climate talks. And a summary of the key meaningful outcomes

All eyes on Cancún this December

The Cancún Agreements were perhaps unexpected given the weight of expectations at previously felt at Copenhagen in 2009, and then it’s limited success. Coming to Cancún with modest, or realistic expectations has helped to steer to final negotiations of countries to success and a step towards long-term action.

We in the private sector require a long-term, reliable framework to develop projects, build companies, and invest in clean-technologies. The Frontier team are in heated agreement that a modest positive step forward will lay down the essential framework that will enable us to contribute in this space.

Continuation of CDM Post 2012

Whilst there remains uncertainty over the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 it is indicated that the CDM will be part of a new scheme. Carbon market trading mechanisms such as the CDM will be agreed upon in 2011 at the next UN Conference of the Parties

Carbon Capture and Storage: large-scale CDM!

Carbon Capture and Storage (or “CCS” as it is known) is now eligible to generate carbon credits under the CDM. However, outstanding issues remain – these will be addressed in 2011

Loan scheme for CDM projects

The scheme was adopted. It applies to countries with less than 10 CDM projects

Standardized baselines

Standardized baselines are now approved. A baseline may be approved at a country level by the national authority.

Quizzing additionality

The Executive Board of the CDM is formally requested to consider alternative approaches to demonstrating additionality

CDM approval process: all round improvement

  • The Executive Board has been urged to speed up it’s approval process. This would enable CDM projects to generate carbon credits more rapidly
  • Issues of materiality for CDM project auditors (so called “DOEs”) are to be considered and recommend in 2011
  • An Appeal process against Executive Board decisions shall be considered and reported on in 2011
  • Registration procedures shall be revised to allow CDM projects to commence generating carbon credits on the date that Request for Registration is made

Policy update: slow car chasing

Countries could not decide on an extension to the Kyoto Protocol. The specific content or ambition of countries’ mitigation pledges was not under negotiation. Balance was needed across two areas of agreement:

  • The agreement had to provide for the differentiation between developed and developing countries
  • The pledges are incorporated in a way that neither foreclosed the option of future Kyoto emissions targets, nor committed countries to taking one

Voluntary emissions targets put forwards by countries (including India and China) could become legally binding in the future.

A new registry to record nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support will be established.

A natural extension of national reporting will be that country’s greenhouse gas registries will be updated and submitted every two years.

COP 16 in Mexico this year

Adaptation gains it’s own seat at the table

The “Cancún Adaptation Framework” will be established with objective of planning, prioritising and implementing adaptation actions. An tangible and challenging opportunity from this decision is that actions will include projects and programmes at the global level. An adaptation committee will be established to take the framework forwards.

Finance: cash remains king

  • Quick start: $30 billion new and additional capital will be made available in the next 3 years. Capital will have to be spent on mitigation and adaptation projects
  • Long-term: $100 billion capital will be mobilised per year by 2020. Funds will come from private and public sources
  • Green Climate Fund: a new financial mechanism will be established, with the World Bank invited as trustee. Mulitlateral funding will be shared between adaptation and mitigation projects

Technology Transfer specifically recognised

A new “Technology Mechanism” will be established to enable technology transfer. The network shall consist of national, local sectoral and international technology groups and initiatives.

Forests and forestry projects move forwards

Policy guidelines for reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (known simply as “REDD”) have been issued. Developing countries can develop national strategy, baselines and monitoring systems. There is the potential for plans to receive international funding in the future

Further reading. Other interesting blogs and articles:

Michael Levi’s blog

Pew Centre Summary and analysis

Climate Connect’s review

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