Climate News of the Week Roundup: Warsaw Climate Conference Set to Kick Off

This week’s roundup features the Warsaw climate conference, UNEP’s latest “emissions gap” report, renewables in developing countries, economic benefits of decarbonisation, EU member states finally taking steps to do something about the EU ETS, the problems of Germany’s energy giant RWE, and more.

11th-22nd November 2013: International climate negotiations in Warsaw. The next round of UN climate negotiations is starting this Monday in Warsaw. Some of the main issues on the agenda are:

  • Countries need to agree a clear roadmap for the negotiation of the new comprehensive climate agreement that is to be concluded in 2015 and take effect from 2020.
  • Countries need to find ways to ramp up the inadequate ambition of their emission reduction efforts up to 2020.
  • Given that climate change is already happening and that it will not be possible to adapt to all of its impacts, small island states and least developed countries are pressing for the establishment of a mechanism to deal with climate-related loss and damage.
  • The Green Climate Fund needs to be made operational and countries need to figure out how to scale climate finance up to USD 100 billion in 2020, as industrialised countries promised in Copenhagen.

Details can for example be found in the Öko-Institut’s excellent annual briefing.

The Wuppertal Institute will be on site with in total 7 people and participate in 3 side events:

Our own side event “Squaring the Circle of Mitigation Adequacy and Equity – Options and Perspectives” on 18 November, organised in cooperation with Climate Analytics, Ecofys, Fraunhofer ISI, and the Öko-Institut.

The side event “Combating climate change with or without nuclear power” on 12 November organised by ParisTech and the Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Développement.

The side event “GHG mitigation around the globe: Potentials, instruments and ways towards implementation” on 19 November, organised by the Federal Environment Agency, Ecofys, Climate Analytics, Fraunhofer ISI and the Wuppertal Institute.

The Emissions Gap Report 2013. On the issue of ambition up to 2020, UNEP published this year’s installment of its annual “emissions gap report”, which measures how countries’ emission reduction pledges and plans measure up against what’s necessary to get on a pathway to achieve the 2°C target. The report says that there’s been hardly any improvement since last year’s report, even if countries implement their pledges 2020 emissions are still projected to be 8-12 Gt higher than they should be to get on a least-cost pathway. Failure to get onto this pathway by 2020 would mean that achieving the 2°C target would become much more difficult and costly.

The Global Green Investment Shift. Simon Zadek opines that developing countries are leading the charge on renewables investment.

PWC study: Economies generate growth thanks to decarbonisation. Karel Beckmann reports on a study on the past performance of five EU member states, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which concludes that countries can decarbonise at faster than average rates without reducing economic growth or losing competitiveness while still generating new sources of economic growth and jobs.

Establishment of Council’s position – important step towards safeguarding the EU emissions trading system. The Lithuanian Presidency reports that EU member states have finally agreed on a mandate to negotiate backloading. The deadlock was broken by the exit of Germany’s Liberal Democratic Party, which had been dead set against ETS reform, from the German government. The question is, will this to be the first step towards, or a substitute for structural ETS reform?

Green makeover will be struggle for Germany’s RWE. Reuters reports that, being a latecomer to renewables, Germany’s major utility RWE is trying to turn itself green at a time when it lacks the two resources it needs most: time and money. According to the article, RWE anticipates that profits from traditional power generation could plunge to zero by 2020. As noted in last week’s post, they had ample warning beforehand.

German utility embraces Energiewende? Craig Morris doubts whether RWE is indeed really revising its business strategy as thoroughly as reports have claimed. He notes that RWE is a member of the 10 CEOs Initiative which is complaining about expensive renewables and warning against blackouts.

Why there won’t be a new electricity price shock. The German manager magazin projects (article in German) that the recently announced increase of Germany’s renewables surcharge will not lead to an increase of retail tariffs since it is compensated by recent years’ drop of wholesale power prices.

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