Sunday, March 14, 2010

BASIC Countries Nominate for UN Climate Chief Position; China & India Coordinate Actions

Nominees for the UN climate chief post are surfacing from the BASIC countries. An emerging climate negotiations leader, South Africa, is proposing Marthinus van Schalkwyk, its minister of environmental affairs & tourism, while India is supporting its environment secretary, Vijay Sharma. Indonesia may also nominate an individual. Regardless of the outcome, the tone of negotiations will be changing with a representative of a developing nation heading the UN process.

China and India finally agreed to be listed in the Copenhagen Accord “chapeau,” or introduction, as participants in the key negotiations that produced the agreement. The countries were hesitant to sign because the agreement was not adopted by the entirety COP15 participating nations. Meanwhile, the two countries are coordinating with respect to their mutual opposition for international scrutiny of voluntary reduction actions as well as plans to cooperate on forestry, energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. Separately, China’s lead climate negotiator admonished the U.S. for not taking greater action to stem emissions domestically.

Relevant Global Carbon Articles

· Obama’s global trade aspirations at odds with climate plan.

· The IMF is proposing a $100B per year climate fund raising plan.

· EU finance ministers call for climate aid plan; to be discussed in Brussels meeting this week.

· EU considers upping reduction commitments to take climate leadership position; debates Kyoto expiration plan.

· U.S. and Brazil sign de-forestation agreement.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cap-and-Trade Tapping Out? EPA Moving In; Not if Congress Can Help It.

U.S. climate legislation moved to the middle burner this week with discussions of cap-and-trade alternatives and EPA regulation. Advocates of cap-and-trade, such as Senators Graham and Lieberman, acknowledge that cap-and-trade may be “dead.” The latest alternative is targeted industry-specific emissions control measures on power companies, the transportation sector and heavy manufacturing. Meanwhile, the EPA attempted to raise the specter and likelihood of un-legislated carbon regulation by finalizing its endangerment finding, granting California’s waiver for stricter automobile emissions standards, issuing final GHG reporting requirements and proposing the mechanism by which it will impose permitting requirements on stationary sources releasing CO2. Not to be superseded by the EPA, a group of Senators, spanning party lines and with carbon-reliant constituencies, introduced a bill to freeze the EPA’s ability to regulate GHG emissions for 2 years. Ironically, corporate America is still imploring and pleading for policy clarity and certainty.

Interesting Article(s):

· Environmental group and regulators look to strong-arm insurance industry for climate action. This is a topic I worked on at my former employer. To learn whether this article is 100% on-track, you’ll have to email or ask me.