DOHA CONVENTION UPDATE & EMISSIONS GAP REPORT
The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place from 26 November to 7 December 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar. The Doha Summit faced a number of significant challenges, as this year marks the end of the first phase and the need to extend the Kyoto Protocol before it lapses at the end of the year. According to a summary compiled by the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, some of the key decisions include: the adoption of an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol establishing a second round of binding greenhouse gas emission targets for Europe, Australia and a handful of other developed countries; finalized decisions under a parallel negotiating track launched in 2007 in Bali that produced new mechanisms on finance, review, adaptation and technology, as well as voluntary emission pledges from 94 countries; the beginning of a new phase in which all the major issues will be negotiated within a single track called the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action; the Durban Platform calls for an outcome with legal force “applicable to all” starting in 2020.
Related to the Doha Convention, The Emissions Gap Report 2012 has been released, coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Climate Foundation. The report includes an update on global GHG emissions estimates, an estimate of emissions consistent with the 2° C target in 2020, 2030 and 2050, as well as a look at progress being made in certain parts of the world leading to substantial emissions reductions, and how successful initiatives can be scaled up.
For a background paper on Canada at Doha by Clare Demerse and P.J. Partington, from Pembina Institute released on November 26, see: http://www.pembina.org/pub/2394
The UN Global Compact and Accenture have released 19 sectoral reports within the theme of Sustainable Energy for All: The Business Opportunity. The reports identify priority activities and challenges for businesses to support the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. The reports are based on research and interviews with more than 70 companies and cover 19 industries. Key priority areas for action identified include: improving energy efficiency in operations; increasing the use of renewable energy; reusing waste streams; and increasing in stakeholder engagement and advocacy. The full report, Sustainable Energy for All: the Business Opportunity is available at: http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-Sustainable-Energy-for-All-The-Business-Opportunity.pdf#zoom=50 with individual industry reports available from: http://www.unglobalcompact.org/Issues/Environment/Environment_Guidance_Material/sefa_industry_focused_reports.html
The Solar Foundation released its third annual National Solar Jobs Census report, which found that the U.S. solar industry currently employs 119,016 Americans. This figure represents the addition of 13,872 new solar workers and a 13.2% employment growth rate over the past 12 months. 86% of the nearly 14,000 new solar workers added since August 2011 represent new jobs, rather than existing positions that have added solar responsibilities. The report, produced by The Solar Foundation and in partnership with BW Research and Cornell University, was released on November 14th, 2012, at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference in Albany, NY. National Solar Jobs Census Report is available at: http://thesolarfoundation.org/sites/thesolarfoundation.org/files/TSF%20Solar%20Jobs%20Census%202012%20Final.pdf
Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner released a report titled A Question of Commitment, on December 4th, the 2012 edition of his annual review of the government’s Climate Change Action Plan. The report points out the weakening of policies meant to reduce GHG’s in the province, including the Green Commercial Vehicle Program cancellation despite achieving reductions that were 350% higher than expected; cuts to the Electric Vehicle Programs; High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes delayed; and the absence of a plan to join the Western Climate Initiatives’ emissions trading program. The report, A Question of Commitment, can be found at: http://www.eco.on.ca/index.php/en_US/pubs/greenhouse-gas-reports/2012-greenhouse-gas
Global Coal Risk Assessment: Data Analysis and Market Research, a working paper by Ailun Yang and Yiyun Cui, was released by the World Resources Institute on November 20. Using estimates from the International Energy Agency, the report states that global coal consumption reached 7,238 million tonnes in 2010. Original research by the authors shows that 1,199 new coal-fired plants with a total installed capacity of 1,401,268 MW are being proposed globally, in 59 countries. China (with 363 proposed new coal plants) and India (with 455) together account for 76% of the proposed new coal power capacities. Canada ranks 13th in current consumption and has no proposed coal projects; the U.S. has 36. See summary at:
Full Report at:http://pdf.wri.org/global_coal_risk_assessment.pdf
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has recently published a report on Climate Change, Impacts and Vulnerability in Europe 2012. This report assesses observed and projected climate change and associated impacts on ecosystems, society and human health in Europe based on more than 40 indicators. Compiled by about 100 authors and contributors, it is the most comprehensive assessment on climate change impacts in Europe so far. Read the press release in all official EEA languages at: http://www.eea.europa.eu/pressroom/newsreleases/climate-change-evident-across-europe
The full Report is available at:
Stewarding the Green Agenda provides recommendations for the trade union role in the transition to a low carbon economy and the green skills agenda, and describes how trade unions in the U.K. are currently leading or ‘stewarding’ the transition through dialogue and advocacy with government. The report was commissioned by the TUC’s Unionlearn and conducted by Capacity Global. Stewarding the Green Skills Agenda can be found at:
A report released in the UK in October, 2012 explains the potential benefits of spending carbon tax revenues on improving energy efficiency in fuel poor households to create a “triple win” of warmer homes, greater energy efficiency and economic growth. The study suggests if the carbon revenue is reinvested in such a program, it could create up to 71,000 jobs by 2015 and up to 130,000 jobs by 2027. Jobs, Growth and Warmer Homes: Evaluating the Economic Stimulus of Investing in Energy Efficiency Measures in Fuel Poor Homes. Final Report for Consumer Focus by Cambridge Econometrics can be found at: http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/files/2012/11/Jobs-growth-and-warmer-homes-November-2012.pdf