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
When climate negotiators meet in Bangkok this week for the latest session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), they will (hopefully) begin substantive discussions under new terms better reflecting how much the world has changed since the Convention’s adoption in 1992.
Of particular relevance is the dramatic shift in the distribution of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the past two decades, as highlighted in the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency’s 2012 Trends in global CO2 emissions. A telling statistic: In 1990, industrialized countries that negotiated targets under the Kyoto Protocol (including the U.S.) accounted for 68 percent of global CO2 emissions; in 2011, the authors estimate, this share was 41 percent. Developing countries now account for well over half of annual global emissions – with China and India generating a full third.
As Rio+20 negotiators rush to complete a consolidated text of outcomes before heads of state begin arriving tomorrow, participants at hundreds of side events are calling on business and government to take stronger action on clean energy, poverty elimination, food security, oceans, sustainable cities, green technology development, education, and more.
On Sunday at the U.S. Center pavilion, C2ES and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) convened a panel of companies, small-business innovators, and business representatives highlighting the critical roles played by each in promoting low-carbon innovation and sustainable development.
One of the centerpieces of this month’s Rio+20 summit is an important initiative called Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). C2ES is pleased to be contributing to this initiative as a founding member of a new global partnership aimed at improving energy efficiency and curbing greenhouse gas emissions through the use of information and communication technologies.
Led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, SE4All recognizes the dual energy challenges facing the global community. We need to rapidly expand access to affordable energy for the 1.3 billion people who now lack even basic services, but do so in an environmentally sustainable manner that doesn’t put their health at risk or threaten the climate stability of our planet.
Opportunities for low-carbon innovation are growing, driven by policy changes, market shifts, and continued growth in energy demand, particularly in developing countries. This Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, ahead of the UN’s “Rio+20” Conference on Sustainable Development, C2ES will have a chance to share what it’s learned about low-carbon innovation with partners from around the world.
With the Global Environment Facility (GEF), we will convene a panel of companies (Johnson Controls, DuPont), small-business innovators (from the Cleantech Open), and government and business representatives (from UNIDO and ABDI) to share stories and lessons from the front lines of clean-tech entrepreneurship. The event, to be held at the U.S. Center pavilion, will examine the keys to successful low-carbon innovation, and the benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation, energy security, resource efficiency, and job creation.
Over the past five years, countries have been working through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to strengthen the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. Because these issues are especially important to the United States and China, C2ES has been partnering with Tsinghua University to convene informal discussions among MRV experts from both countries.
In late 2010 with Tsinghua, we organized a workshop in Beijing on Reporting Practices Related to Climate Change and Other International Challenges. This initial gathering focused on MRV at the international level. Last week, we co-hosted a second workshop in Washington, D.C., on Domestic MRV of Climate Efforts.
While the issues can quickly become highly technical, it’s important to remember why stronger measurement, reporting and verification are so important: MRV contributes to stronger greenhouse gas mitigation by building confidence among countries, helps them track national and international progress, and provides opportunities to learn from one another’s experiences. In his opening remarks, Professor Teng Fei of Tsinghua University characterized MRV at the domestic level and MRV of international action as two sides of the same coin.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and Tsinghua University co-hosted a workshop Beijing in October 2010 on Reporting Practices Related to Climate Change and Other International Challenges. We are continuing this series of informal U.S.-China workshops to help strengthen mutual understanding of domestic monitoring, reporting and verification practices and challenges and to draw lessons from respective domestic experiences.
This workshop focused on domestic monitoring and evaluation of mitigation-related efforts, and on the role of measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) in effective emissions markets, drawing in both areas on domestic experiences in the two countries. Links to speaker presentations (PDF) are provided below.
U.S.-China Workshop: Domestic MRV of Climate Efforts
June 4-5, 2012
Monday, June 4
- Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President, C2ES
- Teng Fei, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University
Energy-Related Monitoring and Verification
Accurate energy data is an essential foundation for policymaking and for tracking program implementation. This session focused on the monitoring, verification and assessment of energy data, and energy-related mitigation policies. Presentations provide overviews of China’s accountability system for its national energy intensity target, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) collection and verification of energy data, and implementation of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.
- Teng Fei, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University
Experience with the energy conservation target accountability system
- Perry Lindstrom, Industry Economist, U.S. Energy Information Administration
Overview of U.S. EIA’s energy data tracking system
- Clare Breidenich, Independent Consultant
Experience with implementation of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard
- Moderator: Kevin J. Tu, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
GHG Monitoring: Government and Industry
This session shifted to a focus on GHG monitoring and control programs involving industry. It began with an overview of the new U.S. GHG mandatory reporting rule. Presentations then focused, at a more disaggregated level, on monitoring and evaluation in the voluntary SF6 emission reduction program in the United States, and the Chinese cement sector’s experience in developing climate mitigation-relevant MRV systems.
- Kong Chiu, Senior Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
- Sally Rand, SF6 Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Voluntary industrial partnership programs: SF6 and Electric Power
- Wang Lan, Professor, China Building Materials Academy
Developing MRV guidelines for the Chinese cement sector
- Moderator: Tim Juliani, Director of Corporate Engagement, C2ES
Role of MRV in Effective Emissions Trading Programs
The use of market mechanisms for pollution control has a well-established history in the United States and is being actively pursued in China. This session focused on the design and implementation of monitoring, reporting and verification elements within pollution trading mechanisms, starting with lessons learned from emission trading programs for sulfur dioxide (SO2) in both the U.S. and China, and how these lessons apply to the monitoring, reporting and verification of GHGs and carbon dioxide (CO2).
- Janet Peace, Vice President for Markets and Business Strategy, C2ES
Design elements of an effective emission trading monitoring, reporting and verification system
- Jeremy Schreifels, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Emission monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) for U.S. cap and trade programs
- Wu Jian, Deputy Dean and Associate Professor, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China
Lessons from Chinese programs: SO2 emission trading pilot programs and lessons for CO2 MRV
- Jeffrey Hopkins, Economic and Environmental Policy Adviser, Rio Tinto
An industry perspective: emissions monitoring and participation in market-based compliance systems
- Moderator: Maurice LeFranc, Senior Adviser, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Tuesday, June 5
MRV in GHG Markets at the Sub-National Level
In both the United States and China, the use of market mechanisms for controlling CO2 and GHG emissions has moved forward at the state and regional levels. This session explored the establishment of monitoring, reporting and verification systems for GHG emissions trading at the sub-national level, focusing on the experiences of state and regional governments in the United States, and the pilot emissions trading programs currently being developed in seven Chinese provinces and cities.
- David Farnsworth, Senior Associate, Regulatory Assistance Project
Perspective from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (North-East U.S. States)
- Wang Yu, Assistant Professor, Tsinghua University
Status of China’s regional trading programs
- Michael Gillenwater, Executive Director and Dean, Greenhouse Gas Management Institute
Perspective from California
- Moderator: Anthony Mansell, U.S. Policy Adviser, International Emissions Trading Association
- Joanna Lewis, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
- Xueman Wang, Team Leader, World Bank Partnership for Market Readiness
A Senate Transportation Committee hearing tomorrow will be the latest show of ire against the European Union’s effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation through its mandatory Emission Trading System (EU ETS). From Beijing to Delhi to Washington, governments claim the EU’s unilateral move violates international aviation law.
Indeed, in Washington, this is one of the rare issues these days where Democrats and Republicans find themselves on the same side opposing the EU’s action. The Obama Administration has weighed in with a strongly worded letter from Secretaries Clinton and LaHood urging the EU to drop its unilateral efforts and to work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to reduce aviation sector emissions.
But if tomorrow’s hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee is simply another round of EU-bashing, it will be a missed opportunity to focus on the one solution that virtually everybody (including the EU) appears to support—effective action by ICAO. Frustrated by years of inaction within ICAO, the real motivation behind the EU’s move may be to reignite efforts to reach agreement within ICAO.
Opportunities for clean-tech innovations are growing, driven by policy changes, market shifts, and continued growth in energy and resource consumption, particularly in developing regions of the world. The next 20 years will be critical for the development, demonstration and deployment of clean technologies that can support climate mitigation and adaptation, energy security, resource efficiency, job creation, and competitiveness. This panel will feature recent projects and lessons learned in promoting low-carbon and clean-tech innovation and entrepreneurship in both established multinational companies and start-ups. Business leaders will discuss the drivers and strategies for developing solutions that reduce GHG emissions at the same time as they bring bottom-line value, improved efficiency, enhanced performance, or competitive edge in a global marketplace. Innovation experts from business and government will describe the steps that can be taken to recognize and support innovation and entrepreneurs in their countries, including the needs for mentorship and incubation for aspiring innovators and small-medium enterprises.
This RIO+20 side event was held on Sunday, June 17, 2012, from 5:00-6:30 pm at the U.S. Center pavilion. Links to PDFs of the presentations are provided below.
- David Rodgers, Senior Energy Specialist, Global Environment Facility
- Meg Crawford, Markets Business Strategy Fellow, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)
- Clay Nesler, Vice President, Global Energy Sustainability, Johnson Controls, Inc.
- Dawn Rittenhouse, Director, Sustainable Development, DuPont
- Rex Northen, Executive Director, Clean Tech Open
- Pradeep Monga, Director, Climate and Energy, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
- Roberto Alvarez, Agency for Industrial Development in Brazil (ABDI)
This event is organizied by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)