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Discussion > The Paris Accords and INDCs

The Federated States of Micronesia ("FSM") submitted their INDCs on the same day as Bahrain, and by happy coincidence, they run to the same length. There is an important difference, though - they do make a meaningful commitment.

I'm learning as I go along. Developing countries are expected to divide their INDCs into unconditional commitments (though "commitments" is the wrong word, since they are non-binding) and conditional ones, dependent on international funding. Here are Micronesia's:

"The FSM commits to unconditionally reduce by 2025 a 28% its GHGs emissions below emissions in year 2000."


"Similarly, subject to the availability of additional financial, technical and capacity building support from the international community, the FSM could do by 2025 an additional reduction up to 35% below emissions in the 2000 base year. "

Despite the impressive-looking commitment, they are playing a game here, by using 2000 as the base line, since their emissions in 2015 are already well below the rate of emissions in 2000 (by reference to their own graph, which forms part of their INDCs submission).

If you want to check, rather than take my word for it, their submissions are here:

Evidence for Supertroll's argument is here:

"By presenting an ambitious INDC in the context of the Paris’ agreement, FSM would like to stress that the very survival of many SIDS is at stake without ambitious global emissions reductions that will ensure the stabilisation of the greenhouse gas emission, ensuring we are on track toward limitation of global temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius by 2100."

As usual they would like a lot of money to be sent their way:

"Much will be needed for the implementation of FSM’s INDC. An assessment of the implementation options is needed as soon as possible to ensure implementation no later than 2018. Potential sources will include the financial mechanisms of the Convention, other non-Convention financial and investments sources, as well as international, national and other financial sources. All these will be facilitated and enabled by public policy and regulatory frameworks."

The other problem is that their GHG emissions are so low anyway that their proposed reductions (which based on a 2015 start date are much lower than the headline grabbing percentages they claim, based on starting in 2000) won't make much difference to anything. They don't actually admit this, though they do concede "FSM’s contribution to climate change has always been marginal."

Jun 15, 2017 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Yemen next (INDCs submitted on 23rd November 2015). You might think they had better things to worry about, as they effectively admit:

"Yemen prepared its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document in very challenging situation in which the country faces precarious security situation, and political turmoil including ongoing armed-conflicts. In spite of the ongoing violent conflict and prevailing security challenges, Yemen’s INDC document was drafted through a participatory process which involved consultations of key relevant stakeholders and technical agencies and based on available national climate change assessment and analysis. "

Presumably they see this rather pointless distraction as worthwhile on the basis that it might unlock some international money.

They also use 2000 as their base year:

"The latest GHG inventory in Yemen is available for the year of 2000 which reveals total GHG emissions of about 24.2Mt of Carbon Dioxide- Equivalent (Mt CO2-eq). Also GHG baseline and mitigation scenarios are available up to the year 2025 which had been projected using the Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System (LEAP) modeling. In addition, projections until the year 2030 have been estimated based on two factors including: First, the average GHG emission growth rate of about 2 percent per year for the baseline scenario; Second, the mitigation potential of about 14 percent below emission projections of the baseline scenario over 15 years timeframe. In General, Yemen is a Least Developed Country (LDC), and its GHG emissions nearly negligible accounting for about 0.1 percent of the aggregate world total. Also Yemen has low GHG emission per capita of approximately 0.92 t CO2-eq in 2011 and ranks at the lowest levels relative to the world average which had already reached 7 t CO2-eq per capita in 2010. "

"This INDC document proposes 14 percent GHG emission reduction target by 2030 below BAU which represents an estimated total cumulative GHG reduction of about 35 MtCO2-eq from 2020 through 2030; this includes 1 percent unconditional target and 13 percent conditional target. This document also provides an overview of provisional adaptation and mitigation needs which require international support as specified in Lima Accord recognizing the special
circumstances of LDCs. However, due to the current situation in Yemen, further studies will be conducted in the future to determine the projected loss and damage of climate induced disaster risks scenarios as well as various adaptation and mitigation measures which require international support to accelerate the implementation of Yemen’s INDC. "

So the unconditional target is negligible, and the conditional target still envisages substantial increases in GHG emissions. But I can forgive them everything based on their assessment of the mess their country is in. This sums up for me the fact that the UN, with its climate change obsession has lost the plot. What follows is surely the sort of thing the UN should be doing something about:

"Yemen is an arid Middle Eastern country, located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab region facing multiple challenges and crisis. The daunting political and socio-economic challenges adversely minimized human development and economic stability. Increasing poverty rates, lack of employment opportunities, inequalities, lack of justice, political participation and competition over scarce natural
resources, especially water, have been among the key triggers for the social and political unrest that erupted in 2011. The humanitarian and livelihoods conditions witnessed a declining trend in the last decade, especially during the transitional period following the socio-political unrest.
Since then, the economy could not recover to the pre-crisis level and the country slipped into recession achieving negative economic growth. Failure to achieve peaceful transfer of power brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deal during the transition period spiraled into a full-scale war and armed-conflict covering the majority of the country. Within a few months the humanitarian conditions further declined rapidly reaching to Level 3 (complex and severe humanitarian conditions) making over 80 percent in need for humanitarian assistance. The remarkable resilience of the Yemeni people that withstood decades of underdevelopment has overstretched beyond its remaining coping mechanisms, plunging the majority of the people into vulnerability, poverty and insecurity in an unprecedented scale of humanitarian disaster. The 2015 full-scale war has destroyed the economy across the different sectors. Basic services largely collapsed throughout much of the country. Throughout most of the country, supplies of food, fuel and medicines are dangerously low or not available.
In general, the economy of the country is dominated by the oil sector, which accounts for 27 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 50 percent of national budget revenue and 70 percent of exports. Its population growth rate of 3 percent is one of the highest in the world and outpaces its economic growth rate. Nearly half the population is below 18 years of age and three-fourth of the population lives in rural area. Unemployment among 15 - 24 age groups is
53.7 percent of the labor force. Poverty ratio increased from 34.8 percent in 2006 to 54.4 percent in 2011. Consequently, more than half of the population is living with less than $2 a day and most of the disproportionately affected poor groups include women, children, small scale framers and sharecroppers, landless labor, nomadic herders and artisanal fishermen who are spread over 133,000 small rural settlements. Nearly 10.6 million or 41 percent of the
population are food insecure, of which 5 million (19 percent) and 5.6 (22 percent) million are moderately and severely food insecure, respectively. Furthermore, Yemen ranks lowest on the Global Gender Equality Index (GGEI). Social development indicators, such as children malnutrition, maternal mortality, and educational attainment remain discouraging.
Furthermore, water and land resources are already under chronic scarcity, and there are already a profound water and energy crises in the Yemen. The current political and security situation is expected to weaken the already ineffective governance capacities of institutions especially at the local community levels where the majority of the poor and extremely vulnerable dwellers live. With no resilience building support, the poor are expected to see greater levels of livelihood vulnerabilities particularly massive risks of deteriorating delivery of basic social services including water and energy. Environmental degradation of scarce natural resources especially water, and land compounded by climate change are among are among the key challenges the vulnerable dwellers will face in Yemen.
Agriculture, which sustains the rural poor, employs more than 50 percent of the total labor force of 6.6 million in 2009, but contributes by only 9.7 percent to the GDP while uses around 85 percent of its available water resources. Current projections on climate indicate that rising temperatures and frequent droughts will increase the incidences of land degradation and desertification. In addition, the water sector already faces formidable challenges, and water table is declining on average by about 2-7 meters annually due to groundwater overexploitation. The increasingly growing water crisis in Yemen will have severe socio-economic and environmental consequences including, decreased agriculture productivity, reduced food security, increased conflict over resources, accelerated land degradation, and increased
livelihood vulnerability."

I think we should all be eternally grateful that we don't live there. It's a pity that a country with such pressing problems still has to genuflect to the great god climate change.

Jun 15, 2017 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mark. I quite understand. I think you are perhaps too close to examining the details of each submission to stand back and perhaps see all of the commonalities. Gwen seems to have your interests and has been doing some research into some of the countries you have examined. Although I have read each and every one you have so far examined, I don't have your patience or industry. I am more interested in why some countries even bothered and how others who obviously have no intention whatsoever in changing their ways and prevaricate and obfuscate in describing their future intentions. My methodology would have been to examine the submissions of countries that I would have thought similar (to test this interpretation). So after Kuwait I would have looked at Saudi or Abu Dhabi, or after Nigeria I would have compared it with that of, say, Venezuela. But then this runs the risk of missing other interesting aspects.
Keep up the good work.

Jun 15, 2017 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Thanks AK, I will, although if the good weather pushing up from the south extends as far as Scotland next week, I may disappear to climb some Munros.

In the meantime, this from Matt McGrath, which seems relevant to this thread:

Juncker rejects US climate deal re-negotiation

Speaking to the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker categorically ruled out any re-negotiation of the Paris climate agreement.
The European Commission President said: "We have spent 20 years negotiating", and now was the time for implementation.
US President Trump has claimed that the accord could be amended and made more palatable to his country.
Mr Trump announced earlier this month that the US would leave the pact.
In his remarks to MEPs, Jean-Claude Juncker described the US decision as not just a sad event, "it is a sign of abdication from common action in dealing with the fate of our planet".
The US "abandonment" will not mean the end of the agreement, he said, but would make the world more united and determined to work towards the accord's full implementation.
He was very clear there would be no attempt to amend the agreement.
"The European Union will not renegotiate the Paris Agreement," Mr Juncker said.
"The 29 articles of the agreement must be implemented and not renegotiated. Climate action does not need more distractions. We have spent 20 years negotiating. Now it is the time for action. Now it is the time for implementation."
The president of the Marshall Island, Hilda Heine, also addressed the parliamentarians, meeting in Strasbourg. She re-iterated her view that the Paris agreement was set in stone.
"We cannot do better (than Paris), and we don't have the luxury of more time," she said.
She urged the EU member states and other countries to use the three years before the US pulls out of Paris to try to convince President Trump of the importance of climate action.
She also called on Europe to adopt harder goals when it comes to cutting emissions of carbon dioxide.
"We will not stay within 1.5C unless Europe and others move before 2020 to raise ambition." The bloc should adopt five-year climate targets instead of the current 10-year plans, she said.
By a huge majority the EU Parliament voted on Wednesday in favour of binding national targets for cutting emissions from areas including transport, agriculture and waste management. These areas are not covered by Europe's emissions trading scheme.
The move forms part of the EU's strategy for getting emissions down by 40% in 2030 below 1990 levels.
"Today's vote gives a crystal clear signal to Donald Trump: Europe acts on its commitments under the Paris agreement and seizes the opportunities of green growth, with or without you," said Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, the Dutch MEP who helped guide the law through the parliament.
"Almost all political groups have backed a strong and ambitious climate law."

This is the sentence that amused and intrigued me:

"The move forms part of the EU's strategy for getting emissions down by 40% in 2030 below 1990 levels."

Based on what I've seen of the INDCs so far, they don't have a snowball in hell's chance of achieving that!

Jun 15, 2017 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

If my Spanish was better than almost non-existent, Cuba would be next (INDCs submitted on 23rd November 2015). I did understand enough to read that Cuba places a high priority on climate change, and they are asking for money to help combat it, but I'm afraid I haven't established to my own satisfaction (given that my translation might be inaccurate) exactly what their INDCs offer. Mea culpa!

Instead, it is Samoa next (INDCs also submitted on 23rd November 2015).

"Samoa is a small island developing state in the Pacific that is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. However, it is only responsible for an insignificant amount of global greenhouse gas emissions."

Therefore (no offence to Samoa intended) I report only briefly.

"Samoa has demonstrated significant commitment to addressing climate change by establishing a target of generating 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. This commitment is proposed to be implemented over two time periods.The first target is to reach 100% renewable electricity generation by the year 2017. The second target is to maintain this 100% contribution through to 2025 in anticipation of the increasing electricity demand."

That is not quite so impressive as it sounds, given that "The electricity sub sector accounted for ~13% of total GHG
emissions in 2014 assuming business as usual scenario in all sectors since 2007."

These two paragraphs then undermine things further, so it's a good job that in the scheme of things their emissions are insignificant anyway:

"Substantial progress has been made in achieving the target set out for the electricity sector through investment in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency programs and policy reforms. However, international support is necessary to ensuring the low emission pathway chosen by the electricity sub sector is achieved.
The potential for economy‐wide emissions reduction is conditional on assistance provided to other sectors such as transport, agriculture, forestry and waste. These sectors have set in place plans and strategies to reduce emissions; however, implementation is a common problem across all sectors due to limited human,financial and technical resources. The transport sector which has the highest sectoral emissions in particular has a regulation in place to restrict
emissions from vehicles to a certain level. However enforcement has not been possible due to a lack of technical capacity, technological capacity and financial resources. Enforcement of this regulation will have significant impact on reducing emissions from this sector."

Jun 15, 2017 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

South Sudan next (INDCs also submitted on 23rd November 2015). This is another country where one might think they have other problems to worry about, and where they also have an issue squaring the circle, given that "... the export of oil is the main economic sector accounting for over 98% of the GDP...".

Also in the "why bother?" category, without doubt in my opinion, given this:

"There are limited data on GHG emissions available in South Sudan, due to the history of conflict, limited capacity and a lack of financial resources. However, as an under-developed country with limited industrial activities, South Sudan’s
total GHG emissions are estimated to be relatively low. Emissions are mainly from the land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and agriculture sectors. This may be explained by the reliance on wood fuel by an estimated 96%
of the population (National Baseline Household Survey, 2009) coupled with the increasing demand for agricultural land and urban development. In the energy sector, emissions are mainly from diesel generators. The other significant
emissions are from the transport sector, with the waste and industrial processes contributing negligible amounts."

I suppose, rather understandably, they haven't really bothered:

"In absence of detailed analysis the assessment of BAU emissions and impacts of identified policies and actions of GHG emissions reductions below shall be presented at a later date."

And of course (and very understandably in their case) they want lots of money:

"Within the context of the current economic circumstances, low levels of capacity and limited availability of climate technologies, South Sudan will only be able to embark on achieving its INDCs with the financial, capacity building and technical support from the international community in its efforts at all levels. The implementation of the above mentioned mitigation and adaptation actions for the period 2016 – 2030 requires the continuous development and strengthening of South Sudan’s capacities".

"Regarding climate finance, South Sudan has yet to access the same level of financial resources as other least developed countries owing to its recent existence. It is therefore of utmost importance that South Sudan is extended the
opportunity to obtain support from the international donor community and other sources of climate finance to design and implement initiatives aimed at addressing the mitigation and adaptation priorities outlined here within the country’s INDCs. South Sudan has begun the process of unlocking access to climate finance through the initiation of the NAPA process that is due to conclude in November 2015. South Sudan also aims to access finance through international carbon markets...".

"It is estimated that investment of over USD 50 billion is required for mitigation and adaptation actions across sectors up to 2030. These are approximate estimates and further analysis is planned to identify support requirements for
implementing the policies and actions listed above. "

"...over USD 50 billion is required...". Wow! At this rate, the Paris Accords are going to cost $tens of trillions!

Jun 15, 2017 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Guyana next (INDCs also submitted on 23rd November 2015).

Interestingly, "With the world‟s second highest percentage of rainforest cover (85%), Guyana commands globally important carbon stocks (19.5 GtCO2eq). As one of only a handful of countries that are net carbon sinks, Guyana‟s forests sequester more carbon than the nation‟s human activities generate. "

Not surprisingly, therefore, forest conservation is high up in their INDCs and represents their only unconditional commitment, other than seeking to extend their renewable energy supply.

Their conditional offer is "avoided emissions contributions resulting from reforms in the timber and mining industries can contribute up to 48.7 MtCO2e to the global mitigation effort through the implementation of the Emission Reduction Programme described in greater detail below."

As to money:

"Conditional Contributions
Guyana is committed to eliminating our near complete dependence on fossil fuels. Given our solar, wind and hydropower potential and relatively small national demand, we believe that with adequate and timely financial support, Guyana can develop a 100% renewable power supply by 2025. Assessment of the potential of the renewable power
sources will be undertaken to determine the most cost effective and efficient means of developing this potential; to this end an independent review of the Amaila Falls Project is to be undertaken with the assistance of the Kingdom of Norway.
Assumptions and Risks
It is assumed that Guyana and Norway will agree to renew and extend our bilateral agreement. It is further assumed the Green Climate Fund will be fully operationalized and begin disbursing from 2016."

In fairness, nobody should really ask them to do anything, given that "Guyana‟s aggregate emissions in 2004 were 0.004617GtCO2eq, representing one hundredth of one per cent of the world total emissions for that year. This, paired with the carbon sequestration of our 18.48 million hectares of natural forests and our extremely low historic deforestation rates (0.06%) makes Guyana one of the world‟s few net carbon sink countries."

But they are making additional commitments that won't make much difference to anything in the hope of obtaining international funding.

Jun 15, 2017 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Islamic Republic of Iran next (INDCs submitted on 21st November 2015). As one of the world's leading oil-producers, their INDCs are rather important if the Paris Accords are going to amount to anything other than a lot of hot air (pardon the pun). Unfortunately, the introduction makes it clear that they are pretty effectively sticking two fingers up at the process, so it's worth quoting in full. It's all highly negative, but the final short paragraph is the killer:

"The Islamic Republic of Iran, in recent decades, has always supported the international efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, on the basis of the principle of “Common But
Differentiated Responsibilities” (CBDR). Despite various obstacles such as unjust sanctions, the eight year imposed war upon Iran (1980-1988) which put Iranian young and talented human resources at risk, as well as hosting millions of refugees from the neighboring countries, Iran has implemented comprehensive programs over the last three decades in the field of sustainable development. In the coming years, however, economic growth, social development, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability continue to be the main priorities of the national development agenda.
In spite of the desire to move towards low-carbon economy and to implement and achieve its objectives, young population and national development requirements on the one hand, and availability of hydrocarbon resources from the
other hand, have made the national development to rely on the energy-intensive industries. These have made upward trend of GHGs emissions in the country inevitable.
Dependence of the national economy on revenues from production and export of oil and its byproducts - that are high-carbon intensive- have made the economy, public welfare, resources and technology of the country, vulnerable to
mitigation of GHGs emission. These adverse impacts from the point of view of response measures to climate change, have turned the Islamic Republic Iran to a suitable candidate, to the attention of developed country parties to the Convention, in the areas of finance, technology transfer and capacity building support (according to articles 4.8 and 4.9 of the UNFCCC).
This intended program, inclusive of unconditional and conditional participation in mitigating GHGs emission as well as in terms of areas related to adaptation, is in its entirety, subject to the removal of economic, technological and financial restrictions and in particular termination of unjust sanctions imposed on Iran during the past several decades, as well as non-imposition of restrictions or sanctions in the future.
Obviously, due to the long-term impacts of unjust sanctions and restrictions, capacity development and creation of suitable institutional structures will be a time consuming process and constrain achieving objectives of this program, even if international financial and technical support as well as technology transfer are provided. The Islamic Republic of Iran, while has no legally binding commitments under the Convention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while
emphasizing the voluntary nature of its actions, presents its “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”, as endorsed by the Cabinet of Ministers, in the following macro-areas of mitigation, vulnerability and adaptation.
It is noteworthy that, this document does not constitute committing the Islamic Republic of Iran, in any way, in a binding manner, with regard to the measures that will be undertaken in its various economic and industrial sectors."

And sure enough, the detail demonstrates that they aren't really interested:

"On the basis of national capabilities, financial resources available and requirements of the national development program, taking into account GHGs emission scenarios, the Islamic Republic of Iran intends to participate by mitigating its GHGs emission in 2030 by 4% compared to the Business As Usual (BAU) scenario." And

"Subject to termination and non-existence of unjust sanctions, availability of international resources in the form of financial support and technology transfer, exchange of carbon credits, accessibility of bilateral or multilateral implementation mechanisms, transfer of clean technologies as well as capacity building, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the potential of mitigating additional GHGs emission up to 8% against the BAU scenario (i.e. 12% in total). "

And just to make the point (in case we hadn't got it already):

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has already included a program to mitigate GHGs emission in its "Fifth 5 Year National Development Plan" (2010 to 2015), targeting 30% reduction in energy intensity. Unfortunately, due to the unjust
sanctions imposed on our economic, financial and technological sectors, not only this target was not achieved, but energy intensity was increased in recent years. " And:

"Bearing in mind the status of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a major developing country with a growing economy, the national development plan of the country aims to achieve 8% economic growth annually, with an emphasis on energy and industrial sectors in the next fifteen years. "

And despite offering next to nothing, they aren't shy about asking for lots of money:

"The total annual investments needed to achieve unconditional and conditional GHGs mitigation are about 17.5 and 52.5 billion US dollars respectively".

I still have quite a few to look at (and Qatar is up next) but I'm not seeing a lot of serious effort from the Middle eastern oil producers so far!

Jun 15, 2017 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

As promised, Qatar next (INDCs submitted on 20th November 2015). As with Iran, they set the scene early:

"Although the essential living resources are rare, Qatar is blessed with oil and gas resources that are being used to overcome the living difficulty on this land. Since the exploration of hydrocarbons in Qatar, oil and gas in addition to their associated petrochemical industries have been contributing to the economic and social growth of the state. Qatar's ecological and human systems are vulnerable to the adverse impact of climate change as well as the impact of response measures due to its unique circumstances."

"Qatar has been contributing indirectly to the global efforts to mitigate climate change by exporting Liquefied Natural Gas as a clean energy".

And this isn't exactly massively positive:

"Despite the abundance of gas which is clean energy, Qatar is heavily investing in other natural resources. Attempts have been made to utilize clean energy and renewable sources such as solar and wind power. Efforts have been made into solar energy generation with a view to becoming a regional supplier of solar-generated electricity. However, based on the harsh environment and weather conditions, utilizing such renewables as reliable power sources is very challenging due to the lack of access to high technology, which is necessary for using these sources effectively and efficiently. Yet, some national entities started considering solar and wind sources to generate electricity for small buildings aiming to open a new market, in the hope of strengthening the economic diversification. Utilizing clean energy and renewables is an adaptive precaution to climate change impacts that would open a window to diversify the economy and reduce emissions to the atmosphere from the fuel combustion. Some of clean energy and renewable sources are available, however, they cannot be utilized without the needed support; especially, technology transfer."

And that seems to be about it, really. Just to be clear, in case we haven't understood where they are coming from:

"Due to Qatar's dependence on the export of oil and gas, there is an uncertainty from the potential impact of the implementation of response measures to climate change that may negatively impact the strength of Qatar's economy and potentially the quality of life of its residents."

Hey ho!

Jun 15, 2017 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

They don't actually admit this, though they do concede "FSM’s contribution to climate change has always been marginal."

Jun 15, 2017 at 12:25 PM | Mark Hodgson Micronesia

As previously mentioned ....

Their contribution was through imported oil, the shipping cost being paid by other Governments. Other Governments found it simple, even without Global Warming to make a financial case for introducing Unreliable Wind and Solar. The fact that they still require imported oil for reliable power, confirms the Unreliability of Wind and Solar - plus the fact that Wind and Solar can not fuel a 747 full of tourists .....

Jun 15, 2017 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I think we should all be eternally grateful that we don't live there. It's a pity that a country with such pressing problems still has to genuflect to the great god climate change.

Jun 15, 2017 at 12:39 PM | Mark Hodgson

I think some from Yemen have found cushy Global Warming jobs to be genuinely life saving, especially if it involves flying to other countries for long periods.

Jun 15, 2017 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The move forms part of the EU's strategy for getting emissions down by 40% in 2030 below 1990 levels."

Based on what I've seen of the INDCs so far, they don't have a snowball in hell's chance of achieving that!

Jun 15, 2017 at 8:08 PM | Mark Hodgson

Juncker demonstrates the befuddled logic that persists in Climate Science and the EU. He boasted of sending David Cameron away with a flea in his ear, in the run-up to BREXIT, and now feels mandated to insult Trump. I am sure the teetotal Trump will be less judgemental, when he confirms to Juncker that the EU will need to fund compensation payments without US financial support.

Jun 16, 2017 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I still have quite a few to look at, but I'm not seeing a lot of serious effort from the Middle eastern oil producers so far!

Jun 15, 2017 at 9:04 PM | Mark Hodgson

Middle Eastern oil producers are happy to stick their middle finger up. Their biggest concern is maintaining demand for oil, whilst restricting supply, to maximise profit.

Conflict in the Middle East used to push oil prices up. Nowadays, conflict just causes more oil to leak to consumers, outside of controls fixed by OPEC and Member States. There is a thriving International Black Market in oil, and it is, by definition, immeasurable. This has thrown the unreliable Green Blob predictions about the price competitiveness of Unreliable power

Jun 16, 2017 at 1:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jun 15, 2017 at 9:16 PM | Mark Hodgson

Qatar was hoping to buy International respect and prestige with their successful campaign to host the World Cup. Since then things keep getting worse for FIFA, Qatar and corruption. Now, and allegedly nothing to do with fraud and corruption, just extortion, other Gulf States have fallen out with Qatar.

Black Market Oil and Gas is set to flow out of Qatar, with factions competing for control.

Jun 16, 2017 at 1:54 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Back to earth with a bump - Cook Islands next (INDCs submitted on 20th November 2015). They're another example of a small country making a big effort, but in view of their insignificant emissions, it won't make any difference to anything.

" Globally, the Cook Islands contributes to only 0.00012% of GHG emission, which is an insignificant amount relative to the total global emission of 2004".

"The energy sector alone contributed 79% of the total emission for 2006, with 34% attributed to electricity generation".

"The Cook Islands is committed to a future powered by renewable energy with targets of 50% of islands transformed
from diesel based to renewable sourced electricity by 2015, to 100% coverage by 2020 (Cook Islands Renewable
Electricity Chart, 2011). To date, the Cook Islands has achieved its 50% target and is on track to achieving the 2020
target. Using 2006 as the base year, emission from electricity generation will be reduced by 38% by 2020 ".

And conditionally:

"To ensure sustainability and the credibility of its efforts, the Cook Islands will endeavour to put in place the appropriate structures to monitor, evaluate and pursue value added activities. These will include inter alia undertake the construction of additional and new grid storage, integration of improved energy efficiency and new technologies, technology transfer, and strengthening capacities for overall sustainability and co-benefits. This would reduce emissions from electricity generation by a further 43%, totalling an 81% emissions reduction by 2030 (relative to 2006). This further reduction is conditional on receiving external support."

Impressive, though insignificant in the scheme of things. And there's also an expectation of being sent international money, probably lots of it:

"Note that Loss and Damage is not factored into the policy and planning processes outlined above. Nor are the full
costs associated with building resilience to climate change, which the Cook Islands expects will be covered by the
international community over time."

And it's not in any way binding:

"Cook Islands reserves the right to adjust this target and its parameters subject to the outcome of COP21 and to
external support."

Jun 16, 2017 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Saint Lucia next (INDCs submitted on 18th November 2015). In many ways it's a re-run of the summary I just posted about the Cook Islands.

"Saint Lucia’s greenhouse gas emissions are miniscule in global terms, with the country having contributed approximately 0.0015% of global emissions in 2010 at a per capita rate of 3.88 tCO2-eq. "

"The mitigation targets of this iNDC are set against a Business As Usual (BAU) projection and consider emissions reductions from the Energy Demand, Electricity Generation and Transportation sectors".

Despite the fact that they are offering reductions against a BAU projection rather than against current emissions, the offering is still quite impressive, even if utterly insignificant. It should, if achieved, see a very slight reduction in absolute emissions. Though having said that, the unconditional target is not stated, only that which is conditional on international funding.

Estimated reductions against BAU scenario:

" Reduction of 121 GgCO2-eq by 2025
 Reduction of 188 GgCO2 - eq by 2030"

Since the BAU scenario is as follows, this would be a slight overall reduction in emissions:

"2010: 643 GgCO2-eq
2025: 758 Gg CO2-eq
2030: 816 GgCO2-eq"

But it does come at a price:

"Total cumulative investment costs to achieve the mitigation targets by 2030 are expected to be in the order of US$ 218 million (at 2015 prices) and government programme costs are estimated to be US$ 23 million. Total cumulative investment costs to achieve the mitigation targets by 2025 are expected to be in the order of US$ 183 million (at 2015 prices) and government programme costs are estimated to be US$ 19 million."

"The Government of Saint Lucia, recognising its current national effort toward emission reduction and being fully cognisant of its vulnerability to extreme events and the likelihood of being caught in a cycle of repair and recovery, commits to meeting the mitigation targets contained in this iNDC on condition that it receives financial and technological assistance to do so. "

And: "Financing will be a critical constraint to Saint Lucia’s ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change, with international funding through the UNFCCC architecture being critical."

Jun 16, 2017 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

St Vincent & the Grenadines next (INDCs submitted on 18th November 2015) and it's more of the same:

"Despite the obvious focus on adaptation to climate change and the fact that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from St. Vincent and the Grenadines only account for approximately 0.001% of global emissions, the GoSVG is striving to reduce its emissions."

"St. Vincent and the Grenadines intends to achieve an unconditional, economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 22% compared to its business as usual (BAU) scenario by 2025."

That would still see overall emissions rise, but as they're insignificant, it hardly matters.

And there's a big pitch for international money:

"St. Vincent and the Grenadines has shown its commitment to mitigating climate change by independently taking concrete measures to reduce its emissions, particularly through renewable energy and waste initiatives. It is hoped that this commitment and ambition will be recognised by the international community as progressive (in the context of the
country’s SIDS status) and that it will enable the country to leverage international finance (through the Green Climate Fund for example), technology transfer and capacity-building support to help further reduce emissions, especially in the areas of transport, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
In particular, St. Vincent and the Grenadines would welcome financial and capacity-building support to help produce a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) for the country’s transport sector. This is a key priority if national GHG emissions are to be stabilised and reduced over the coming years. Similar international support in capacitybuilding
and finance for the LULUCF sector is also sought to help establish a related programme of mitigation actions.
Despite the injection of funds to the country through the PPCR, the need for financing climate change adaptation and mitigation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines remains significant. This is especially so considering the extent of vulnerabilities and the percentage of the population potentially exposed. Devastating losses already being experienced and projected climate change impacts suggest that mobilizing additional, adequate and timely financing is vital to the country’s socio-economic development. "

Jun 16, 2017 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Jun 16, 2017 at 10:06 PM | Mark Hodgson

You have mentioned St Lucia, and now with St Vincent and the Grenadines, you are into what in terms of Cricket, constitutes the West Indies. I do not know whether you enjoy cricket, but take a look at this list of Cricket Grounds, and note the number of new ones built this century. You may conclude that China has many fans of West Indian Cricket given their investments.

You may also notice some other countries with an unexpected interest in West Indian Cricket. One Island Nation equals One Vote in International Political Power Broking.

Jun 16, 2017 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Gwen, as always, many thanks for your input. We seem to make a good tag-team!

Speaking of islands, Bahamas next (INDCs submitted on 18th November 2015). They start with the usual obeisance to climate change, but then immediately concede their own use of fossil fuels. The world has a lot of problems with this sort of thing!

"The vulnerability of The Bahamas to the impacts of climate change is well known given its geographical vulnerabilities (limited land masses, low-relief and dispersion of islands), environmental vulnerabilities (high temperatures, storm surges, sea level rise, flooding, tropical cyclones and non-tropical processes), the concentration of socio-economic activities and critical infrastructure in narrow coastal zones, its dependence on tourism and the limited human and institutional capacity. The Bahamas is also highly dependent on the imports of fossil fuels for energy needs which places a heavy burden on its economies as a result of the vagaries of global petroleum prices."

And "The economy is mainly based on Tourism which is the major contributor to GDP and foreign exchange earnings of The Bahamas ". Tourists mostly arrive by aeroplane, I imagine...

There's not really any need for them to do anything, given the low level of their emissions:

"The Bahamas’ contribution to the total global greenhouse gas emissions is almost negligible - 0.01%. Significant sources of GHG emission come from the energy and transport sectors."

They offer a number of adaptation possibilities by reference to different sections of the economy, but they put a price against forestry only. This stuff doesn't come cheap:

"An option is to further quantify costs for Forest Estate Management Plan, four (4) Pine Islands (Abaco, Grand Bahama, Andros, New Providence) alone amounts to between $75M-100M for monitoring, imagery and sustainable forestry management practices."

Energy and forestry are the areas concentrated on by their INDCs and as a result "it is estimated that The Bahamas will reduce its emissions by a minimum of 30% below 2002 levels." I don't know if using 2002 as a start year is a bit of a trick, or whether this really is a very positive plan - it might well be the latter, but as usual with small countries it doesn't really matter, since their contribution to GHGs is minuscule to start with.

And then later on that 30% is qualified, to make it clear that it isn't an absolute 30% reduction, but a reduction against the Business as Usual scenario. "The Bahamas intends to achieve these mitigation actions through an economy-wide
in GHG emission of 30% when compared to its Business as Usual (BAU) scenario by 2030."

And of course, this is going to require lots oof international funding:

"The implementation of the INDC is estimated to cost in excess of 900 million dollars to implement mitigation actions alone, through 2030. The cost for implementation is anticipated to be met through multilateral and bilateral support from a variety of sources, instruments and on varying access terms. The Bahamas has limited experience using market mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol; however, it is open to the consideration of market mechanisms.
The Bahamas will undertake a cost analysis to determine the cost to implement adaptation actions."

Jun 17, 2017 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Somalia next (INDCs submitted on 17th November 2015).

Charcoal use and sale seems to be a big problem for Somalia (on top of all its other problems):

"Somalia has limited forest of about 10.5 percent of the area of the country, because most of the tropical forest along the Shabelle and Jubba Rivers and the inter-riverine areas, have been cleared for agricultural use (World Bank, 2012). In addition, after the civil war, the production of charcoal for local cooking use and mostly for export to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate (UAE) solely for tobacco smoking using “Shisha” had a negative deforestation impact. There is also some charcoal export to Yemen and India. Aerial survey reveals drastic clearing of forest throughout the southern Somalia (UNDP and World Bank, 2007). Therefore, the production and export of charcoal resulted in a colossal deforestation that resulted in desertification (Hamza, Buri M., 2012).
The lack of alternative source of energy for domestic cooking and the inefficient process of making charcoal was already contributing to deforestation. However, the greatest damage resulted from the huge export of charcoal to the Gulf Countries. The Acacia species, were originally source of grazing for goats and camels, nitrogen fixation to enhance soil fertility, fencing of livestock in night enclosures and the traditional use of only dead trees for cooking. Such local use was sustainable, but logging of living trees for charcoal export resulted in extreme deforestation and is leading to desertification. In addition, the acacia trees do not grow fast enough to replace the felled trees. Therefore rangeland which consisted of forest trees of mostly Acacia species, shrubs and grassland are denuded and results in soil erosion. These factors lead to the reduction of land use for agriculture and pastoral livestock production (UNDP and World Bank, 2007).
Most charcoal is today produced in Southern Somalia and illegal exports (about 80 percent of production) constitute a large share of all exports from the South. There has been a rapid expansion in the production of charcoal in recent years, with much of it being exported to meet demand of the above mentioned importing countries. The incentives for charcoal exports are clear: charcoal prices in Southern Somali regions are in the vicinity of US$3–4 per bag, while in the Gulf States the same bags sell for US$10 each (UNDP and World Bank, 2007)."

It isn't currently in a good place:

"Traditional biomass fuels such as firewood and charcoal, primarily used in rural and poor communities, account for 82% of the country’s total energy consumption." And "Existing power generation in Mogadishu by BECO is predominantly by diesel generators. "

But this gives them great hope about their capacity to reduce their GHG emissions:

"Therefore the introduction of 15 MW of solar power would avoid the emission of greenhouse gasses by 75,000 tCO2."

What they need is money (in Somalia's case, that is certainly true), though there are also other obstacles:

"Somalia is rich in renewable energy resources, untapped hydropower, extensive geothermal energy resources, many promising wind sites, and abundant sunshine, which can produce solar power. The major obstacles to development of these potentially available energy resources are political, financial and institutional."

For such a messed-up country, I'm quite impressed with their planning and detailed costings in respect of a number of desired projects (headings below -much more detail in the INDCs if you want to read them):

Project Profile 1: Adoption of Sustainable Land Management to Build Resilient Rural Livelihoods and Enable National Food Security - Indicative Budget: 6.45 USD million

Project Profile 2: Adaptation Using Integrated Water Resources Management to Ensure Water Access and Supply to Vulnerable Populations and Sectors - Indicative Budget: 8.1 USD million

Project Profile 3: Adaptation by Reducing Risks among Vulnerable Populations from Natural Disasters - Indicative Budget: 4.1 USD million

Project Profile 4: UN Joint Programme on Sustainable Charcoal Production and Alternative Livelihoods (PROSCAL) to Mitigate Against Deforestation. Project budget: US$ 23,671,610

Project Profile 5: Rehabilitation of Fanoole Hydro-Electric Dam and Irrigation Infrastructure - $28.175M

Project Profile 6: Project for Domestication of Indigenous and the Introduction of Economically Important Plant Species - $1,043,350

Project Profile 7: Project Proposal Charcoal Production from Prosopis and Replacement with Crop Production ("The project implementation and costing are yet to be determine and shall be finalized in consultation with the target communities and line ministries.")

Project Profile 8: Up scaling the Use of Solar Energy ("The project components, implementation and costing require further studies and consultation with government agencies and private sector involving more in depth studies of needs and potential.")

Project Profile 9: Marine and Coastal Environmental Governance and Management of Somalia - $31.35M

There are some occasional references to GHG savings, but none of the grand statements seen elsewhere so far. No grandstanding, no blaming of others for their problems, no demands for vast sums of money. A thoughtful list based on the country's actual problems, with reasonable and not overly dramatic costings. If all the INDCs were like this, I think I'd be much more impressed (notwithstanding - perhaps because of) the lack of dramatic (if often arguably misleading) claims about GHG emissions reductions (especially when couched against a Business as Usual Scenario which turns a real increase into what looks like a decrease).

Well done Somalia!

Jun 17, 2017 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

The Republic of Nauru next (INDCs submitted on 17th November 2015). According to Wikipedia:

"Nauru is a 21 square kilometres (8 sq mi) oval-shaped island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, located 55.95 kilometres (35 mi) south of the Equator. The island is surrounded by a coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a seaport, although channels in the reef allow small boats access to the island. A fertile coastal strip 150 to 300 metres (490 to 980 ft) wide lies inland from the beach."

As the INDC says, it is " of the smallest independent, democratic states in the world...". It is "a very small nation with absolute levels of CO2 eq emissions under 0.0002 % of world emissions(2014)." Given what it is and where it is, I suppose this is inevitable:

" Like other small island nations Nauru has with the implications of climate change since the problem appeared on the world scene. Being one of the smaller low lying island nations it is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change including sea level rise."

There proposals are broadly as follows:

"The key mitigation intervention is to replace a substantial part of the existing diesel generation with a large scale grid connected solar photovoltaic (PV) system which would assist in reducing the emissions from fossil fuels. Concurrent to the above there needs to be put in place extensive demand side energy management improvements which will
complement the PV installation. The demand management improvements are expected to reduce emissions by bringing down diesel consumption further.
The cost of these mitigation measures is likely to be around US$50 million ( US$ 42 million for Solar PV and US$ 8 million for demand side energy efficiency measures) with some uncertainty depending on the storage of energy either as electrical ( battery) or thermal (chilled water) to account for the high night time electrical load on the island.
Due to somewhat higher phosphate extraction in past years Nauru’s emissions in 1990 were higher than at present and estimated to be around 80kt. If economic activity proceeds at the current pace the BAU estimate for 2030 emissions of CO2 only will also be around 80 kt.
The mitigation contribution will be contingent on obtaining funding and technical assistance to put in place the energy transition and energy savings measures."

So, as might be expected of the 3rd smallest state in the world (only Vatican City and Monaco are smaller) their emissions are minuscule, and their proposals don't make much difference to anything (though in fairness they might well improve the standard of life of the residents). But compare and contrast with Somalia's measured and relatively cheap plans. Nauru has plans to spend $50M and it has only 10,000 residents. That's around $5,000 per resident.

And the Business as Usual Assessment is rather vague:

"The expected trajectory in emissions is highly uncertain due to paucity of reliable data and uncertainties in economic activities on the island. Contributing factors include both the small size of the economy and the uncertainty of phosphate extraction opportunities and the other recently commenced activities including offshore banking and housing Australian bound refugees. An extrapolation of trends in the last three years suggests economic growth of around 2.2% p.a. Of concern are high levels of expansion in the electricity sector with growth over the same period being around 13% p.a.
Estimates, however, are that CO2 emissions will increase from 57 kt p.a. in 2014 to close to 80 kt p.a. in 2030. The mitigation options are envisaged to assist in reducing CO2 emission levels by 2030.It is important to note that the BAU emission estimates are not accurate due to substantial gaps in data for the sectors."

The request for $50M seems to be less to do with climate change and more to do with this:

"Nauru is also faced with serious economic challenges. Its once thriving phosphate industry has ceased operation thus depriving Nauru of its major lifeline revenue source. The local infrastructure, including power generation, drinking water and health services, has been adversely affected in recent years by the decline in income from phosphate mining. With fewer prospects in the phosphate industry, Nauru has to look at other alternative revenue sources to support its economic development. Unfortunately, for a country of the size of Nauru (21 km2) with its limited natural resources, the options are not many."

Jun 17, 2017 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Jun 17, 2017 at 8:26 PM | Mark Hodgson

Somalia actually makes the case FOR cheap fossil fuels. It never aroused much interest from 19th Century European Colonial Powers, and the Suez Canal never provided a bonanza, until:

I don't think pirates declare their income for GDP purposes.

Jun 17, 2017 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jun 17, 2017 at 9:13 AM | Mark Hodgson

Bahamas. One of the richest places in the Americas, tourism is the biggest earner followed by "Financial Services".

They have no income tax.

What are they going to do, with even more of other people's money under their control? Build more waterproofed underground bank vaults?

Jun 18, 2017 at 1:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jun 17, 2017 at 8:42 PM | Mark Hodgson

"Concurrent to the above there needs to be put in place extensive demand side energy management improvements". I think this means power cuts.

Another Island State that could save vast amounts if someone else paid for their Wind and Solar Generators. The coral reefs must make it difficult and expensive for large oil tankers to unload supplies.

Jun 18, 2017 at 1:44 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

El Salvador would have been next (INDCs submitted on 17th November 2015), but they have been submitted in Spanish, and I have already conceded that my limited Spanish isn't up to the job. I can get the gist of it, but am not sufficiently confident to offer a translation of any important parts, as I might make mistakes. It's here if anyone wants to look for themselves:

FWIW I read enough to see that they say that both historically and at the current time their emissions are among the lowest and make no significant contribution to the world climate. So that's a relief, I can pass on with a reasonably clean conscience.

Jun 18, 2017 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson