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Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Through analysis and dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is working with governments and stakeholders to identify practical and effective options for the post-2012 international climate framework. Read more

 

Press Release: Pew Presents Results of Climate Dialogue at Pocantico

Press Release
November 15, 2006

Contact: Katie Mandes, (703) 516-0606

PEW CENTER PRESENTS RESULTS OF ITS CLIMATE DIALOGUE AT POCANTICO AT NAIROBI TALKS

Also Releases New Report on Policy Options for Climate Adaptation

NAIROBI, Kenya – Parties to U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will hear recommendations tomorrow from the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a group of policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries convened by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to examine options for strengthening the international climate effort.

The Pew Center was invited to present the report of the Pocantico group to the Dialogue on Future Action to Address Climate Change, a set of talks launched by governments last year in Montreal to consider next steps in the international climate effort. The Dialogue is a major focus of COP 12 – the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention – underway November 6-17 in Nairobi.

Also at the negotiations, the Pew Center today released a new report on options for future international efforts to help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. Options outlined in the report include stronger funding and action under the Framework Convention, mandatory climate risk assessments for multilateral development finance, and donor country support for climate “insurance” in vulnerable countries.

In the Pew-sponsored Pocantico dialogue, a group of 25 from government, business, and civil society explored options for advancing the international climate effort beyond 2012. The group’s report calls for engaging major economies under the Convention through a more flexible framework allowing countries to take on different kinds of climate commitments. Possible elements of such a framework include economy-wide emission targets like those in the Kyoto Protocol, sectoral agreements, and policy-based approaches.

“The clear message from this very diverse group is that we need to move urgently with all the major economies engaged. This calls for new approaches that give countries more flexibility and produce real results,” said Pew Center President Eileen Claussen, who co-chaired the Pocantico dialogue with World Economic Forum Managing Director Ged Davis. “We welcome the opportunity to convey this message directly to the Convention parties, and look forward to working with governments and stakeholders to translate these ideas into action.”

The Pocantico participants, who took part in the dialogue in their personal capacities, included policymakers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Tuvalu, the United Kingdom, and the United States; senior executives from Alcoa, BP, DuPont, Eskom (South Africa), Exelon, Rio Tinto, and Toyota; and experts from the Pew Center, The Energy and Resources Institute (India), and the World Economic Forum. The group’s report will be presented in Nairobi by Elliot Diringer, the Pew Center’s director of international strategies.

While the Pocantico report offers a broad vision of the future climate framework, the Pew Center’s new adaptation report focuses specifically on options for strengthening international support for climate change adaptation, both within and outside the climate framework. The report, Adaptation to Climate Change: International Policy Options, is coauthored by Ian Burton of the University of Toronto, Elliot Diringer of the Pew Center, and Joel Smith of Stratus Consulting Inc.

The authors examine the history and evolving nature of human adaptation to climate, highlight key issues in the design of adaptation policy, and summarize and assess international adaptation efforts to date. The paper outlines three broad and potentially complementary approaches to future international efforts:

  • Adaptation Under the UNFCCC – Initiating new steps under the Framework Convention to facilitate comprehensive national adaptation strategies and to provide reliable assistance for high-priority implementation projects.
  • Integration with Development – Integrating adaptation across the full range of development-related assistance through measures such as mandatory climate risk assessments for projects financed with bilateral or multilateral support.
  • Climate “Insurance” – Committing stable funding for an international response fund or to support insurance-type approaches covering climate-related losses and promoting proactive adaptation in vulnerable countries.

“The next stage of the international climate effort must deal squarely with adaptation. Climate change is underway and vulnerable countries need and deserve help coping with the impacts. What’s more, future agreements on reducing emissions may be politically feasible only if they include stronger support for adaptation,” said Diringer. “Adaptation must be tackled on many fronts well beyond the climate framework, but only within the climate framework can the necessary political momentum be achieved. This new report offers policymakers a range of options for an integrated and effective international adaptation strategy.”

Both the Pocantico report (in English, Chinese, French and Spanish) and the new adaptation report are available at www.c2es.org.

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The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States’ largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Adaptation to Climate Change: International Policy Options

Adaptation to Climate Change cover

Adaptation to Climate Change: International Policy Options

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
November 2006

By:
Ian Burton, University of Toronto
Elliot Diringer, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
Joel Smith, Stratus Consulting Inc.

This report examines options for future international efforts to help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change both within and outside the climate framework. Options outlined in the report include stronger funding and action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, mandatory climate risk assessments for multilateral development finance, and donor country support for climate "insurance" in vulnerable countries.

Press release

Download entire report (pdf)

Introduction

 

From its inception, the international climate effort has focused predominantly on mitigation—reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent dangerous climate change. The next stage of the international effort must deal squarely with adaptation—coping with those impacts that cannot be avoided. This is both a matter of need, as climate change is now underway, and a matter of equity, as its impacts fall disproportionately on those least able to bear them. It also may be a condition for further progress on mitigation. Indeed, substantial new mitigation commitments post-2012 may be politically feasible only if accompanied by stronger support for adaptation.

Ambitious mitigation efforts can lessen, but not prevent, future climate change. While steep reductions in emissions could stabilize atmospheric GHG concentrations at lower levels than under “business as usual,” they likely would be well above current, let alone pre-industrial, levels.2 With higher concentrations will come further rises in temperatures and sea level, changes in precipitation, and more extreme weather. The early impacts of climate change already are being felt worldwide.3 Future impacts will affect a broad array of human and natural systems, with consequences for human health, food and fiber production, water supplies, and many other areas vital to economic and social well being. While certain impacts may in the nearer term prove beneficial to some, in the long term, the effects will be largely detrimental.4

Anticipating and adapting to these impacts in order to minimize their human and environmental toll is a significant challenge for all nations. Meeting it requires action at multiple levels, from the local to the international, within both public and private spheres. This paper explores one critical dimension of this multifaceted challenge—how adaptation can be best promoted and facilitated through future multilateral efforts.

Among the many issues confronting governments, two are especially daunting. The first is equity and its relation to cost. Difficult questions of fairness suffuse the climate debate but are particularly stark in the case of adaptation: those most vulnerable to climate change are the ones least responsible for it. Stronger international adaptation efforts—whatever form they might take, and whether understood as assistance or as compensation—will be possible, let alone effective, only insofar as affluent countries are prepared to commit resources. This is a question not of policy design but, rather, of negotiation and political will. Second, reliable information and relevant experience are in short supply. Relative to mitigation, the adaptation challenge is much less well understood—needs as well as solutions. A high priority in the near term is strengthening the knowledge base with better data and modeling to refine projections of future impacts, and with early insights from the field on the most effective responses.

It is at the same time essential to begin considering how future international efforts can best be structured. This paper examines underlying issues and lays out an array of possibilities. To set the issue in context, it looks first at the history and evolving nature of human adaptation to climate. It then highlights key issues in the design of adaptation policy, and summarizes and assesses international adaptation efforts to date. Finally, the paper outlines three broad and potentially complementary approaches to future international efforts:

  • Adaptation Under the UNFCCC—Initiating new steps under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to facilitate comprehensive national adaptation strategies and to provide reliable assistance for high-priority implementation projects.
  • Integration with Development—Integrating adaptation across the full range of development-related assistance through measures such as mandatory climate risk assessments for projects financed with bilateral or multilateral support.
  • Climate “Insurance”—Committing stable funding for an international response fund or to support insurance-type approaches covering climate-related losses and promoting proactive adaptation in vulnerable countries.



1. This report was prepared initially as input to the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico convened by the PewCenterin 2004-5, and in its final form reflects contributions from the dialogue. The Pocantico dialogue brought together 25 senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries to recommend options for advancing the international climate change effort beyond 2012. The group’s report is available at: /global-warming-in-depth/all_reports/climate_dialogue_at_ pocantico/index.cfm.

2. Metz et al. (2001).

3. Parmesan, C. and G. Yohe (2003); Root, T. L. et al. (2003); Stott et al. (2004).

4. McCarthy et al. (2001).

 

Elliot Diringer
Ian Burton
Joel Smith
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COP 12 and COP/MOP 2 Nairobi

United Nations Climate Change Conference
COP 12 and COP/MOP 2 

Nairobi, Kenya
November 6-17, 2006

 

COP 12 Report

Government negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi continued two processes launched last year in Montreal to consider next steps in the international climate effort, and agreed in the final hours to open another track to review the Kyoto Protocol.  In two weeks of talks, parties also agreed on modest steps on adaptation, debated approaches to reducing deforestation and accelerating technology transfer, and heard proposals from South Africa and Brazil on ways to promote stronger action by developing countries.

The conference – known formally as the Twelfth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 12) and the Second Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 2) – was the first such gathering in sub-Saharan Africa.  Its high-level segment featured an opening statement by outgoing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who lamented a “frightening” lack of leadership from governments and announced the “Nairobi Framework,” an initiative to help spread the benefits of Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) among more developing countries.

Click here to continue reading the report from COP 12.


The Center's Activites at the Nairobi Climate Change Conference

Presentation of Pocantico Report –
View the presentation here at the UNFCCC website.

At the invitation of the UNFCCC Secretariat, C2ES presented a report of its Climate Dialogue at Pocantico at the Convention’s Dialogue on Long-Term Cooperative Action.  The Pocantico dialogue brought together senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries to explore options for advancing the international climate effort post-2012.  The group’s report, released in November 2005, recommends engaging major economies through a flexible framework allowing countries to take on different types of commitments.  The report was presented November 16 at the Convention Dialogue by Elliot Diringer, the Center's director of international strategies. View the presentation here at the UNFCCC website.

Release of New Adaptation Report –

The Center held a side event on November 15 (1:15 pm – 2:45 p.m. in the Acacia Room) to release a new report, Adaptation to Climate Change: International Policy Options.  The report explores key issues in strengthening international adaptation efforts and outlines three broad sets of options: steps under the Framework Convention, working through the development process, and climate "insurance."  It is coauthored by Ian Burton of the University of Toronto, Elliot Diringer of the Center, and Joel Smith of Stratus Consulting Inc.

Speakers at the side event included:

  • Elliot Diringer, director of international strategies;
  • Emily Massawa, lead climate change negotiator, Kenya;
  • Alf Wills, lead climate change negotiator, Republic of South Africa;
  • Ian Noble, climate change advisor, The World Bank; and
  • Thomas Loster, chairman, Munich Re Foundation.

Top

Further background on the Nairobi conference is available at the UNFCCC Secretariat website.

Early Observations on the European Union’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme

As of February 2006 161 countries had ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which entered into force on February 16, 2005 (United Nations 2006). The Protocol signifies broad international agreement that the developed nations should take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the bulk of which have been emitted from the industrialized world.
The European Union’s leadership in the climate change arena was evident before the Protocol formally went into force. In 2000 the European Union (E.U.) initiated the comprehensive European Climate Change Program. A cornerstone of this program is the Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme, or the E.T.S. (European Union 2003), which was launched in 2005 and is the most ambitious emissions trading system ever established.
This paper describes how the E.T.S. is working thus far and it also asks what U.S. policymakers can learn from the E.T.S.’s early implementation as they develop climate change policies in the United States. The greenhouse gas reduction plans implemented across the E.U. necessarily vary because each Member State’s regulatory, historical, political, and economic circumstances are unique and because each country has a different emissions goal under the E.U.’s climate change burden-sharing agreement. These sundry approaches offer a diverse range of experiences to draw on as U.S. policymakers try to craft greenhouse gas regulatory schemes at the state, regional, and national levels.
Any evaluation of the E.T.S. must be regarded as preliminary as it went into effect little more than a year ago. Still, the E.U.’s policies represent the most ambitious effort in the world to address climate change and, as such, it makes sense for U.S. policymakers at all governmental levels to understand the practical details of the European experience to date. And to the extent that U.S. policymakers would like to link domestic market-based programs with trading opportunities elsewhere in the world, it helps to appreciate the ways in which the design of domestic programs can facilitate or hinder that end.
This paper is organized as follows: (a) background on the European Climate Change Program; (b) general observations about the E.T.S.; (c) E.T.S. National Allocation Plans; (d) allowance trading in the E.T.S.; and (e) linking the E.T.S. with projects and programs outside of the E.U. Many sub-topics are treated within these broader categories, including but not limited to: the use of so-called “project-based” mechanisms (the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation); costs and benefits of greenhouse gas reductions; allowance price caps; non-E.T.S. greenhouse gas reduction measures; competitive effects; and, centralized vs. decentralized government control.
This research is supported by, and it has been completed in collaboration with, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The author acknowledges the invaluable support of Patrick J. Roach, who provided expert research assistance and whose thoughtful, knowledgeable input has greatly enriched all aspects of this work. Appendix A lists the E.T.S. experts who provided interviews, information, and/or comments. Without their gracious help this paper would not have been possible. Pew Center staff provided insightful questions and comments.
This paper does not give a detailed overview of the E.T.S. Readers seeking more background information on how the program works may consult either the Pew Center’s recent paper on this topic (Pew Center on Global Climate Change 2005) or the European Commission’s internet sites on the European Climate Change Program (http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/climat/eccp.htm) and the E.T.S. (http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/climat/emission.htm).

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Reaching Too Far?

Download the article (PDF)

It is a cruel paradox that the world leader working hardest to rally an effective global response to climate change is denounced at home by both left and right as a climate laggard. By now British Prime Minister Tony Blair knows, better than any politician, the rocky shoals of the climate debate, for he keeps running up on them. On both the domestic and international fronts, the prime minister has set high ambitions, only to fall short. While overzealousness may play its part, there is a larger lesson for Blair and the world: tackling climate change is an extraordinary challenge...

an analysis of international climate policy by Elliot Diringer, Director of International Policy--Appeared in The World Today, June 2006
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Connecting the Dots: Elements of an International Approach to Climate Change

CONNECTING THE DOTS: ELEMENTS OF AN INTERNATIONAL APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE

SPEECH BY EILEEN CLAUSSEN
PRESIDENT, PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

CONNECTING THE DOTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
CALIFORNIA CLIMATE ACTION REGISTRY
DANA POINT, CALIFORNIA

APRIL 20, 2006

Thank you very much. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be with all of you in this beautiful place. So many of the presentations I make are in poorly lit hotel ballrooms that I am practically beside myself having this chance to speak outside.  I think it is quite appropriate to give a talk on climate change and to have the whole thing conditioned on the two words: “weather permitting.” 

I also like your conference theme: “Connecting the Dots on Climate Change,” and it got me thinking..

Connecting the dots on climate change or any other issue that demands long-term, strategic thinking requires that people understand how to draw a straight line. And, in Washington, it is widely believed that a straight line is the shortest distance between two elections. 

But we are in California, and that made me wonder whether you should have called this conference “Connecting the Droughts." Of course, for opponents of action on this issue the preferred approach is “Connecting the Doubts.” But raising questions about the science of climate change is a strategy that doesn’t appear to be working any more, given the widespread consensus among scientists that we have a real problem on our hands. 

Particularly in California. From the California Climate Action Registry to greenhouse gas standards for vehicles to the governor’s emission targets for the state, California is leading the nation toward real action on the issue of climate change. Getting Washington to do the right thing on this issue remains a major challenge. But California, as it often does, is telling the country, “We can do this—and we must.”

But action at the state level, or even the national level, is just one part of the solution, as all of you know very well. While it is true that California’s emissions are equal to those of Brazil, and U.S. emissions as a whole constitute roughly one-fourth of the world total, climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution. And it is in America’s interests, and in California’s as well, to help frame a set of global solutions that bring all of the world’s major economies to the table, developed and developing countries alike.

And so today I want to talk with you briefly about what has been happening globally to address this issue. I also want to provide some new thinking on how we can move the international process forward, based on a recent set of discussions organized by the Pew Center.

Looking back over the past year or so, it is fair to say that we did make some important progress on the climate issue on the international front. The watershed event, of course, was the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. By now, we are all quite familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the Protocol, and I don’t think I need to revisit those here. I will, however, say this: Kyoto establishes the first binding international commitments for limiting greenhouse gas emissions; and it sends a very important signal to the global market that the climate has a value, and that damaging the climate has a price.

That is no small achievement. Meeting Kyoto’s targets will be a major challenge for the countries that have accepted them. But whether they do or not, Kyoto is already a success: it has set them on the path toward serious action on this issue.

But, of course, we still must deal with the bigger challenge: What happens next? Kyoto, as we all know, only takes us to 2012. And, with the United States sitting on the sidelines, and China and India without specific commitments, the Kyoto process is a partial solution at best.

Many of the nations that gathered for talks on this issue in Montreal last November understand this. They understand the need for a process to engage the United States and developing nations in future efforts to reduce emissions; and they understand that the Kyoto agreement by itself is not sufficient.

And so countries agreed in Montreal on a two-track approach to consider next steps. The parties to the Kyoto Protocol began a process to consider a second round of targets for developed countries; and the parties to Kyoto’s parent agreement, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed to initiate a two-year dialogue, which, while explicitly not a negotiation about new commitments, opens a conversation about ways to strengthen and broaden the international effort. The United States adamantly opposed this idea, but relented in the final hours of the negotiation after all the major developing countries signed on and the U.S. found itself isolated. If this dialogue is successful, it may well set the stage for a new round of negotiations down the line.

Of course, the formal negotiations under Kyoto and the Framework Convention are just one part of the international response to this issue. Last year, there was a great deal happening outside of the formal process. At Gleneagles, Scotland, for example. That’s where the G-8 summit was held in June.

Despite the best efforts of British Prime Minister Tony Blair to try and have the G-8 become a force for real action, there were no real breakthroughs. But the Summit did serve to elevate this issue on the international agenda, and catalyzed some very strong statements from the international scientific and business communities urging governments to get serious about climate change. Perhaps the most concrete outcome was the launch of a ministerial-level dialogue—yes, another dialogue—this one among the 20 largest energy-consuming nations. This is the group we need action from, and hopefully the dialogue will lead in that direction.

An additional effort launched last year outside the formal multilateral process was the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. This is an initiative spearheaded by the United States and including five other countries: Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan. The focus is technology cooperation, with the aim of encouraging public-private partnerships. It made for a good press release at the time, but the proof will be in whether this effort receives any real funding, and whether it results in real accomplishments.

So, if you think about what is happening on this issue at the international level, it is hard to point to anything substantive beyond Kyoto (and, even there, the substance of what is happening is dwarfed by the magnitude and the urgency of the climate challenge).

Climate change is here; it is happening. And every day, it seems, we are learning more and more about how problems such as sea level rise will accelerate in the decades ahead. We need more than dialogue; we need action. And for that, we need real commitments. We need policies and frameworks that put countries on the path to real and long-term emission reduction. And we need to do it in ways that are fair and equitable for all involved.

To figure out just how this might be accomplished, we recently convened a dialogue of our own: the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico. We brought together 25 senior people from government, business, and civil society in 15 different countries for a series of discussions on options for strengthening the international climate effort beyond 2012. Our participants came from the United States, the UK, Germany, Japan, Australia, China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and other countries, and from seven companies, including BP, Toyota, Alcoa, and DuPont.

It was a very diverse group, yet in the end we reached consensus on a set of ideas and approaches for moving the international effort forward. Two of the participants in our dialogue were senior staff to Senators Richard Lugar and Joseph Biden, the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The two senators, in fact, hosted the event last November where we released the group’s report. And in February, in an address to the U.N. Security Council, Senator Lugar cited the Pocantico report as a roadmap to a comprehensive international approach to climate change.

The report lays out key objectives and key elements of an effective post-2012 approach. I’d like to briefly share some of those with you today, and in so doing, draw some interesting parallels with the climate efforts now emerging here in California.

First, while we need a fully global approach to this issue, what is absolutely imperative at this stage is engaging the major economies. That is the first objective. Twenty-five countries account for 83 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. This is the core group that needs to act. And it includes the United States, China, India, the EU countries, Russia, Japan and others.

But it is important, at the same time, that we recognize the tremendous diversity within this group. Their per capita emissions range by a factor of 14; per capita incomes by a factor of 18. You cannot ignore these statistics in thinking about who is responsible for climate change and to what degree, as well as who must do what to address it.

This leads to a second principal objective: We need a more flexible framework, one that can accommodate different approaches by allowing for different kinds of commitments by different countries. Nations will work collectively to address climate change only if they can take approaches consistent with their national interests, and these will vary from country to country. So we need a framework that allows for different paths, but at the same time gets us all moving together, in the same direction.

So those are two of the objectives identified in the Pocantico report: we need to engage the major economies; and we need a flexible framework. In considering how we achieve these objectives, the dialogue participants identified six possible elements of a comprehensive, multilateral framework. This conference has adopted the theme of “connecting the dots,” and I believe the six elements recommended by our dialogue can be viewed as dots that have to be connected in order to create a fair and effective global approach.

The first of these is an aspirational, long-term goal. California’s goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050 is an example of this. The EU has established a different type of goal: limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.

The Framework Convention establishes the ultimate objective: stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that avoids dangerous human interference with the climate. But what does that mean? Many scientists favor limiting atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to no more than 550 parts per million—roughly double the pre-industrial level. And that, in turn, means we need to reduce global emissions by 55 to 85 percent below what is currently projected. The Pocantico group cautions against trying to negotiate a quantified long-term goal at this stage; getting agreement on a specific number would just be too tough. But the report calls on governments and others to continue articulating their own visions of the long-term goal as a way to informally guide and propel the international effort.

The second element that emerged from our dialogue—our second dot to be connected—is adaptation. We know that no country will be immune from the effects of climate change, but it will clearly have a disproportionate impact on people living in poverty in the developing world. And, as we develop global strategies for adapting, we must target the unmet needs of the most vulnerable as a first priority.

An estimated 97 percent of all natural disaster-related deaths happen in developing countries. These countries need help doing two things: they need help recovering from climate-related disasters; and they need help integrating climate risk into their development planning so that over time they become more climate-resilient. This includes investments in safe drinking water supplies, better sanitation, sustainable farming, safer housing. That is what we mean by adaptation, and it has to be a priority for all nations, both individually and collectively.

Next on the list of six approaches laid out in the dialogue is the use of emissions targets and trading. This is the approach Kyoto takes—setting a target for reducing emissions and then allowing companies (and entire nations) to trade emission credits to achieve their targets as cost-effectively as possible. Trading is also an approach that would do wonders for California as your state weighs how best to meet the governor’s targets for reducing emissions. And I was pleased to see that the California Climate Action Team is considering trading as an important element of a statewide program.

Looking globally, the dialogue participants strongly endorsed market-based approaches as a core element of the international effort, but said we shouldn’t necessarily limit ourselves to Kyoto-style targets setting binding absolute caps. Other options could be intensity targets, or so-called “no lose” targets, which would allow developing countries. to sell credits if they do better than their targets but impose no penalty if they fall short.

The fourth element covered by the dialogue is what we call sectoral approaches. The idea here is to structure international commitments around specific sectors of the economy, such as transportation, power, land use, steel, cement—any sector that is responsible for a big chunk of emissions.

Again, California’s approach clearly includes what we would call a sectoral strategy. In the electricity sector, for example, your state has a target to produce 20 percent of electricity from renewables by 2010. In transportation, California has greenhouse gas standards for new vehicles. And for buildings, the state targets the building sector with the most stringent energy efficiency requirements in the nation.

That is a sectoral approach. At the international level, one advantage of this approach is that it may be possible to achieve significant reductions by engaging a relatively small number of countries. Think about cars, for example. An agreement among 15 countries and an even smaller number of companies would cover most of the global market.

Here is another example of a sectoral approach: you focus on an energy-intensive sector, like aluminum or steel or cement production, and you have the major companies involved agree to a set of objectives for reducing emissions, and those objectives, in turn, are endorsed by the governments where the facilities are located. Yet another example would be to establish a set of goals for increasing, maintaining or slowing reductions in carbon stocks in agriculture or forestry.

The fifth element we have called “policy-based approaches”—we are not talking about quantitative targets here but about having countries commit to specific policies to reduce their emissions. A couple of examples: increasing the use of renewable energy sources; raising fuel economy standards; or expanding the use of cleaner fuels.

The notion here is to encourage countries to integrate climate goals into their development planning and to allow policies to be tailored to specific national circumstances—in much the same way that California has tailored policies such as trading, greenhouse gas reporting, and support for biofuels to this state’s unique objectives and needs. Again, flexibility is key. And California’s embrace of a diverse portfolio of policies could, in fact, be a model for international action.

Last but not least on our list is technology cooperation. While it is clear that existing technologies can give us significant reductions on a global basis, it is also clear that we are going to need new, breakthrough technologies. And there are two ways to do this: first, you use policies and targets to pull climate-friendly technologies to the market; and second, you push the development of new technologies through R&D and related activities. I have talked a lot about the pulling part in my remarks. Technology cooperation starts to get at the need for a push. From fuel cells to biomass, carbon capture and storage, and next-generation nuclear reactors, governments need to work together to coordinate and increase their support for technology development—and to deploy both existing and new technologies in developing countries.

California, again in the lead on these issues, is initiating a coordinated investment strategy to help accelerate the development of climate-friendly technologies, using its public benefit and pension funds and first class universities. And that is exactly the attitude we need among governments—without picking winners, so to speak, we need policies and investments that are targeted and specific enough to give promising technologies a start down the road toward significant deployment.

Those are the six elements of an international approach—the six dots to be connected, as laid out by the participants in the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico.

They are: 1) an aspirational, long-term goal; 2) adaptation; 3) emission targets and trading; 4) sectoral approaches; 5) policy-based approaches; and 6) technology cooperation.

And it is my hope that, as the other dialogues on this issue move forward (I am talking here about the dialogue under the Framework Convention and the G-8 dialogue as well), they will take these ideas and these conclusions to heart.

In closing, I want to say that it occurred to me as I was putting these remarks together that I completely dispensed with my usual overview of the case for action on this issue. And I suppose that’s because, in the course of our Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, there was very little discussion about the need to do something about climate change. On that point, this diverse group of people from around the world, including senior government and business and civil society leaders, was entirely in agreement.

The major resistance to action on this issue, although much diminished, still resides in the same places where it has always been—places where people feel that their profits or their livelihood or their political support will somehow be threatened by the kinds of changes I have talked about today. But we need to make it absolutely clear to these people and others that the changes we are talking about are not only about protecting the climate; they are also about protecting our economies and our competitiveness in the decades to come. To the extent that we make this clear, we will indeed be connecting the dots on climate change and creating the conditions for real solutions to flourish.

So dots all. Thank you very much.

Congressional Testimony of Eileen Claussen: Trading and International Competitiveness

OPENING STATEMENT

HON. EILEEN CLAUSSEN, PRESIDENT
PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE 

At the Climate Conference of
The Energy and Natural Resources Committee
United States Senate

Panel: Trading and International Competitiveness

Washington, DC
April 4, 2006

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this conference. The Pew Center works closely with a council of forty-one major companies to advance practical and effective climate change policies. 

I would like to address the issue of the comparability of national efforts by disentangling two distinct but related objectives: (1) achieving adequate action by all major emitting countries, and (2) protecting U.S. firms against competitiveness impacts. 

The first of these objectives is best achieved through multilateral commitments engaging all the major greenhouse gas-emitting nations in a fair and effective long-term effort.   Twenty-five countries account for 83 percent of global emissions.  Engaging these major economies requires a flexible framework that allows different countries to take on different types of binding commitments.  We believe the United States should play a leadership role in developing such a framework.        

But ensuring broad comparability at the national level will not necessarily achieve the second objective:   protecting U.S. firms against competitiveness impacts.  It is not the competitiveness of the U.S. economy as a whole that is at issue.  To the degree that there are competitiveness impacts, they will fall on specific sectors: energy-intensive industries whose goods are traded internationally. These sectors might remain vulnerable even if efforts by all major emitters are broadly comparable, because countries could choose to exempt a given sector from controls, giving that sector an advantage over foreign competitors.

At the international level, one way to ensure a level playing field is to establish multilateral agreements along sectoral lines. These could be one element of the framework I mentioned earlier.

At the domestic level, in designing a national cap-and-trade system, we should set the caps at modest levels, allow offsets, and “grandfather” allowances in a way that protects vulnerable firms or sectors. We could also dedicate funds, possibly by auctioning a portion of allowances, to provide technology assistance to affected industries and transition assistance for their workers.

I would like to note in closing that the single most important step the United States can take to encourage stronger efforts by other countries is to begin in earnest to address our own greenhouse gas emissions. I applaud the Committee for advancing this critical debate.

Thank you.


Read related content on the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee's Climate Conference.

Press Release: Agenda for Climate Action

Press Release
February 8, 2006

Contact: Katie Mandes, (703) 516-0606

PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE RELEASES FIRST COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE

All Sectors Must Share in Solution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pew Center on Global Climate Change released the first comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.  The Agenda for Climate Action identifies both broad and specific policies, combining recommendations on economy-wide mandatory emissions cuts, technology development, scientific research, energy supply, and adaptation with critical steps that can be taken in key sectors.  The report is the culmination of a two-year effort that articulates a pragmatic course of action across all areas of the economy.  

The report calls for a combination of technology and policy and urges action in six key areas:  (1) science and technology, (2) market-based programs, (3) sectoral emissions, (4) energy production and use, (5) adaptation, and (6) international engagement.  Within these six areas, the Agenda outlines fifteen specific recommendations that should be started now, including U.S. domestic reductions and engagement in the international negotiation process.  All the recommendations are capable of implementation in the near-term. 

The report concludes that there is no single technology fix, no single policy instrument, and no single sector that can solve this problem on its own.  Rather, a combination of technology investment and market development will provide for the most cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gases, and will create a thriving market for GHG-reducing technologies.  To address climate change without placing the burden on any one group, the report urges actions throughout the economy. 

“Some believe the answer to addressing climate change lies in technology incentives.  Others say limiting emissions is the only answer.  We need both,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center.

Emissions in the United States continue to rise at an alarming rate.  U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have grown by more than 18% since 1990, and the Department of Energy now projects that they will increase by another 37% by 2030. 

Joining the Pew Center at the announcement were representatives from the energy and manufacturing sectors.  Speaking at the release were:  David Hone, Group Climate Change Adviser, Shell International Limited; Melissa Lavinson, Director, Federal Environmental Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, PG&E Corporation; Bill Gerwing, Western Hemisphere Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Director, BP; John Stowell, Vice President, Environmental Strategy, Federal Affairs and Sustainability, Cinergy Corp., Ruksana Mirza, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Holcim (US) Inc.; and Tom Catania, Vice President, Government Relations, Whirlpool Corporation.

Recommendations:

While actions are needed across all sectors, some steps will have a more significant, far-reaching impact on emissions than others and must be undertaken as soon as possible. 

  • A program to cap emissions from large sources and allow for emissions trading will send a signal to curb releases of greenhouse gases while promoting a market for new technologies.
  • Transportation is responsible for roughly one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions, and this report addresses this sector through tradable emissions standards for vehicles.
  • Because energy is at the core of the climate change problem, the report makes several recommendations in this area: calling for increased efficiency in buildings and products, as well as in electricity generation and distribution.  Incentives and a nationwide platform to track and trade renewable energy credits are recommended to support increased renewable power.  In recognition of the key role that coal plays in U.S. energy supply, the report calls for the capture and sequestration of carbon that results from burning coal. Nuclear power currently provides a substantial amount of non-emitting electricity, and is therefore important to keep in the generation mix. The report recommends support for advanced generation of nuclear power, while noting that issues such as safety and waste disposal must also be addressed.
  • While most of the recommendations focus on mitigation efforts, the report acknowledges that some impacts are inevitable and are already being seen. As a result, it proposes development of a national adaptation strategy to plan for a climate-changing world. 
  • Finally, despite the importance of efforts by individual countries on this issue, climate change cannot be addressed without engagement of the broader international community.  The report recommends that the U.S. participate in international negotiations aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions by all major emitting countries.

Other recommendations include: long-term stable research funding, incentives for low-carbon fuels and consumer products, funding for biological sequestration, expanding the natural gas supply and distribution network, and a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program that can provide a stepping stone to economy-wide emissions trading. 

The full text of this and other Pew Center reports is available at http://www.c2es.org.  

###

The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States’ largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment.  The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change.  The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Senator Lugar Praises Our Dialogue

In a major address before the UN Security Council on February 6, 2006, Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for the United States to return to negotiations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change to achieve a comprehensive international approach to global warming. He said a "roadmap to this outcome" is contained in the recent report of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico convened by the Center.

Excerpt from Senator Lugar's address:

"...[Fossil fuel] dependence also presents huge risks to the global environment. With this in mind, I have urged the Bush Administration and my colleagues in Congress to return to a leadership role on the issue of climate change. I have advocated that the United States must be open to multi-lateral forums that attempt to achieve global solutions to the problem of greenhouse gases. Climate change could bring drought, famine, disease, mass migration, and rising sea levels threatening coasts and economies worldwide, all of which could lead to political conflict and instability. This problem cannot be solved without international cooperation.

The time is ripe for bold action by the international community because much has changed since talks first began in 1992 on what became the Kyoto treaty. For one, China and India, who won exemptions from the treaty’s emission-cutting requirements, have enjoyed rapid growth. They are now much greater sources of greenhouse gases than anticipated, but also far stronger economies, more integrated into the global system.

Our scientific understanding of climate change has also advanced significantly. We have better computer models, more measurements and more evidence -- from the shrinking polar caps to expanding tropical disease zones for plants and humans -- that the problem is real and is caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide from fossil fuels.

Most importantly, thanks to new technology, we can control many greenhouse gases with proactive, pro-growth solutions, not just draconian limitations on economic activity. Industry and government alike recognize that progress on climate change can go hand in hand with progress on energy security, air pollution, and technology development.

A roadmap to this outcome is contained in a recent report from the Center, a non-partisan organization, which assembled representatives from China, India and other countries and from global industrial companies, as well as from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff. This diverse group agreed on the need for fresh approaches beyond Kyoto. They said the U.S. must engage all the major economies at once, including India and China, because experience has shown that countries will not move unless they can be sure their counterparts are moving with them.

The United States, the world’s richest country and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, should seize this moment to make a new beginning by returning to international negotiations in a leadership role under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. I believe that the United States is prepared to do that. Our friends and allies should embrace this opportunity to achieve a comprehensive international approach to global warming...."

Full text of Senator Lugar's address to the Security Council

More on the report of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico

Additional resources on international climate policy, including text of the Sense of the Senate resolution, S. Res. 312 (pdf), proposed by Senator Lugar with Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-Delaware), calling for U.S. participation in international negotiations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change

International In Depth

Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Greenhouse gas emissions have the same impact on the atmosphere whether they originate in Washington, London or Beijing. Consequently, action by one country to reduce emissions will do little to slow global warming unless other countries act as well. Ultimately, an effective strategy will require commitments and action by all the major emitting countries.

The international response to climate change was launched in 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, with the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Convention established a long-term objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere "at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". It also set a voluntary goal of reducing emissions from developed countries to 1990 levels by 2000 - a goal that most countries did not meet.

Recognizing that stronger action was needed, countries negotiated the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding targets to reduce emissions 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The Protocol entered into force on February 16, 2005, which made the Protocol's emissions targets binding legal commitments for those industrialized countries that ratified it (the United States and Australia have not ratified it). In addition, the market-based mechanisms established under the Protocol, including international emissions trading and the Clean Development Mechanism, became fully operational with the Protocol's entry into force.

Attention now is turning to strengthening the international framework for the years following the Kyoto Protocol's initial commitment period (2008 - 2012). The overriding challenge is to forge an agreement that includes all major emitting countries - both developed and developing - and begins signficant long-term reductions in global emissions. In 2003, we engaged more than 100 experts, policymakers, and stakeholders from nearly three dozen countries to address this issue. This initiative continues with the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a series of off-line discussions among 25 senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries exploring options for next steps in the international climate effort. The final report of the Pocantico dialogue was released on November 15, 2005.

For more information:

International Policy

What's Being Done

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