Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hey, Yvo de Boer - Don't You Cry No More, No More, No More, No More, Cause Poznan Ain't Go'in Your Way!

[The title to this blog entry was inspired by the 1961 hit song written by R&B artist Percy Mayfield and recorded by singer, pianist Ray Charles, entitled Hit the Road Jack, the lyrics of which are accessible at: http://www.pause.pquebec.com/chansons/hit-the-road-jack.htm ].

Climate Change Experts 'Lose Faith' in Renewable Technology: Specialists Less Optimistic that Wind, Solar and Hydro Power Have 'High Potential' to Solve Climate Crisis, Survey Shows

By David Adam


December 9, 2008

Support for renewable energy technology to fight global warming is weakening in the face of worldwide economic problems and the true scale of the carbon reductions required, a survey published today has suggested.

Figures presented at the UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland, show that climate experts have less faith in alternative energy than they did 12 months ago.

The survey shows less support for wind energy, solar power, biofuels, biomass and hydrogen energy as technologies with "high potential" to reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere over the next 25 years.

There was also less support for carbon capture and storage, new nuclear build, small-scale hydropower and natural gas stations as viable ways to hit targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Eric Whan of Globescan, which carried out the survey of "climate decision makers", said: "As the climate crisis deepens they could be becoming less optimistic that individual technologies may be able to solve the problem."

The survey, supported by groups including the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Pew Centre for Global Climate Change, questioned 1,000 senior figures across governments, pressure groups and companies in 115 countries over the last few weeks.

Almost three-quarters of the experts agreed in the survey that "equitable economic growth and development and significant progress in combating climate change can be achieved at the same time".

Asked to rate the likely success of low-carbon technologies in the mid-term, they showed less confidence than a similar survey 12 months ago. Support for offshore wind farms, the bedrock for ambitious UK renewable energy plans, was down to 61%, from 65% last year. Solar electricity generation was rated as having high-potential by 66% of respondents, down from 74%. Support for hydrogen power was 32%, down from 36% in 2007.

The respondents also warned that a deep recession would make a new global deal on climate harder to achieve. Some 44% agreed that the current economic crisis will significantly delay or compromise the "achievement of effective climate change agreements".

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN climate secretariat, said the Poznan talks were edging towards an agreement on how rich countries could pay to help developing nations adapt to the effects of climate change. "On adaptation I would say the glass is two-thirds full," he said.

But he said this week's talks were unlikely to agree a long-term goal for overall carbon reductions by 2050.

The Poznan negotiations aim to set the stage for a new global treaty of climate change to succeed the Kyoto protocol to be agreed in Copenhagen at a meeting this time next year.

De Boer said: "We're at a very important moment in time, and at a very important moment of political stock taking."


UN climate chief downbeat about a complete deal for 2009

Agence France Presse

December 9, 2008

POZNAN, Poland (AFP) — The UN's climate chief on Tuesday sounded caution over hopes that a new treaty to tackle global warming would be fully wrapped up by the end of 2009.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said it was possible only "the key political issues" would be nailed down by this deadline and further talks would be needed to complete the details of the accord.

"We won't see a fully elaborated, long-term agreement in Copenhagen in 2009. It won't be feasible," de Boer told a press conference here.

More than 10,000 delegates have gathered in Poznan for the December 1-12 UNFCCC meeting, which aims to advance towards a treaty taking effect from the end of 2012, when provisions expire under Kyoto Protocol.

According to the so-called Bali Roadmap, endorsed by the 192-member UNFCCC conference in Indonesia last year, the new accord should be completed in Copenhagen in December 2009.

"We should be careful not to reach too far and achieve nothing," de Boer said on Tuesday ahead of a ministerial-level phase of the talks, taking place Thursday and Friday.

"What we need to achieve in Copenhagen is clarity on the key political issues, so that everything after Copenhagen is about settling the details rather than negotiating the fundamentals," he said.

The highly technical negotiations in Poznan are mired in discord over how to share out the commitments and costs of cutting carbon pollution that stokes global warming.

Rich countries acknowledge their historical role in pushing up global temperatures.

But they say rapidly emerging economies -- including major CO2 emitters such as China and India -- must also take quantifiable action.

Developing and poorer nations argue the industrialised world should lead by example, and foot the bill for clean-energy technology and coping with global warming's inevitable impacts.

"We do have to have numbers on the table from industrialised countries otherwise the other dominoes won't fall," de Boer said.

"And it's clear that you politically also need some form of engagement by major developing countries. What form that commitment will take, what shape it will have and how it will be stated, is not clear to me at the moment".



Floods of tears as climate change 'hard man' breaks down at summit


UK Daily Mail Online

December 2007

He is known as the "hard man" of climate-change negotiation.

But after 12 exhausting days of trying to reach a worldwide agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it was suddenly all too much for Yvo de Boer.

As the 200-nation Bali conference wrangled over a minor procedural matter, the Dutch diplomat in charge of the talks burst into tears and had to be led away by colleagues.

The crying Dutchman: Emotion overwhelms Yvo de Boer



2) WITH REGARD TO EU CHEMICALS TRADE & REGULATORY POLICY, WE HAVE HAD THE PERIPATETIC 'FLYING DUTCHMAN'. See: Lawrence A. Kogan, Beware of the Flying Dutchman When Traveling to Brussels, ITSSD (Aug. 2006) at: http://www.itssd.org/Publications/Beware-Flying-DutchmanIII.pdf .

3) AND, FINALLY, AS CONCERNS EU FOOD SAFETY & TRADE POLICY, WE HAVE HAD THE 'INSULTED' DUTCHMAN. See: Tony Van der haegen, EU View of Precautionary Principle in Food Safety, Presentation at American Branch of the International Law Association (Oct. 23-24, 2003) at: http://eurunion.org/eu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2285&Itemid=151 ].

Moments earlier, Mr de Boer had been warning delegates that failure to reach an agreement on global warming could "plunge the world into conflict".

Officials from China, which feels Western countries should do more to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, accused UN negotiators of ignoring conference protocol.

Mr de Boer, distinctively dressed in a floral shirt, stepped up to the microphone to defend his staff - only to find that the words would no longer come.

As his unfinished sentences trailed away, he broke down and walked off the platform to supportive applause.

"He wasn't just wiping his eyes, he was in floods of tears," said one observer.

"Three colleagues - one of them a woman - formed a protective group around him and escorted him out of the hall. It was all very dramatic."

Mr. de Boer's breakdown came after nearly a fortnight of squabbling over proposals to cut carbon emissions.

[WAS DE BOER MERELY HAVING A 'HILLARY CRYING MOMENT'?? See, e.g., Maureen Dowd, Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House?, Op-ed, New York Times (1/8/08) at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/09/opinion/08dowd.html.]

The European Union went to the conference demanding that industrialised nations commit to cuts in CO2 emissions of 25-40 per cent by 2020, a stance which was strongly opposed by the US, Canada and Japan.

America's representatives had also been jeered for insisting on firmer commitments from developing countries --despite President Bush's refusal to sign up to the previous targets laid down in the Kyoto Protocol in 2001.

In the end, a compromise was reached with a text that did not mention specific targets but acknowledged that "deep cuts in global emissions will be required".

A wave of relief swept the hall as US delegation chief Paula Dobriansky finally declared: "The United States is very committed to this effort and just wants to really ensure we all act together.

"With that, Mr Chairman, let me say to you we will go forward and join consensus."

The resulting treaty, known as the "Bali road map", sets in motion a two-year process of negotiations designed to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Under the deal, a new pact will be agreed at a meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.

By then, members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - the organisation of which de Boer is executive secretary - should have agreed on a comprehensive plan involving wealthy and developing nations.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn hailed the Bali deal as "an historic breakthrough" and a "huge step forward" in tackling climate change.

But Prime Minister Gordon Brown sounded a note of caution. "The Bali road map agreed today is just the first step," he said. "Now begins the hardest work."

The deal will come as a relief to Mr de Boer, who is known in the Netherlands for his passionate advocacy on the subject.

His reputation as an incisive --and tireless - negotiator has earned him the "hard man" tag.

However, former colleagues said his behaviour in Bali was not entirely out of character.


Political adviser Matthijs Spits said: "We Dutch can become quite emotional -- suprisingly so for other nations who think we are cold."

No comments: