Sunday, January 30, 2011

Climate Change Groundhog Day Around the Corner

At last column, international representatives were converging on Cancun for the annual “big” conference on climate and carbon. The party line coming out of the conference was that “negotiations were back on track,” hopefully ushering in an era of good feeling, with supposedly more concrete plans and agreements for capping global temperature increase to occur next December in Durban, South Africa. The key outcomes from Cancun were $30B, on the way to $100B, of explicit climate financial aid, including a roadmap for fund oversight, deforestation reduction agreements and a framework for technology exchange and cooperation.

The World Economic Forum in Davos has also focused a great deal on climate and the growing role of developing economics in all things, including carbon solutions. There was plenty of finger pointing at the United States for its lack of action or leadership while China is being a hailed as the technological and economic winner in the climate “arms” race.

The Obama administration is doing its best to stay on the offensive with regard to energy policy, while not mentioning carbon or global warming, given the new Republican congress’s agenda and tendencies. In Obama’s state of the union, he called for a “Clean Electricity Standard” (CES) whereby 80% of the US’s electricity would come from clean sources. The message is a subtle shift and nod of compromise with conservatives as a CES would include nuclear and clean-coal generators. No significant goals to reduce US consumption of fossil fuels for transportation were mentioned by the President.

Obama’s new tactics are coincident with Republican calls and proposals to disrobe the EPA of its mandates, responsibilities and ability to regulate carbon emissions.

Other Articles of Interest:

· IEA Economist says chance of avoiding temperature rise is fading.

· A successful renewable energy credit market (REC) in India may supplant UN CDM market. India was the largest supplier of UN CDM credits in 2009. Participants laud shorter approval processes and looser project requirements. India program includes credits for energy efficiency programs.

· Africa hopes to benefit from UN CDM ban on industrial gas offset projects.

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