UNFCCC chief suggests 3 pillars for climate talks

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | Updated: Oct 23 2009, 21:25pm hrs
Barely six weeks to go before the crucial climate conference in Copenhagen, the nodal institution United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) has urged the member countries to urgently address three pillars greenhouse gas (GHG) emission cut and reduction in growth of emission, significant funding and technology transfer and setting up of a suitable mechanism for monitoring.

The UNFCCC Executive Director, Yvo de Boer said that though in the long run $200 billion per year would be needed for effective reduction in emission cut and another $100 per year would be needed for adaptation, the member countries can do with a short-term funding of $10 billion. This would be a good beginning, he said.

Boer, who is in India to attend the high level global conference on climate change, technology development and transfer in New Delhi, said : Copenhagen climate conference has to deliver at this crucial juncture. Not much has been done in the areas of capacity building, technology transfer and adaptation.

The two-day high level global conference on climate change, technology development and transfer is being attended by 30 environment ministers and 58 delegations from various countries and 148 corporate houses across the world.

On emission cut he was of the view that it would be difficult to agree to bring down the emission to the level of 350 ppm from the current level of 387 ppm as being demanded by small island countries, keeping in view of containing global temperature rise to 1.5 degree C. Rather it is more logical at this juncture to limit the global temperature rise to 2 degree C and follow the decision of G-8 plus 5 to try to bring down the emission level to 450 ppm. We need more adaptation measures to fill the gap, he said and added that the developed countries have agreed to effect a cut in their emissions in the range of 25% to 40% by 2020.

Though the developing countries have no obligations to effect a cut in their emission under common but differentiated responsibilities, Boer said : They should not take it as business as usual. They should make 15% cut in their emission in the long run, particularly those which are rapidly industrializing.

On the future of clean development mechanism (CMD), he said that US was shifting its stance on this issue. The US had earlier criticized CDM. Many countries want reforms in CDM to make it more efficient accessible to small and medium sized countries, he said.

In response to the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singhs inaugural address suggesting that the world leaders should adopt the same approach regarding IPR regime for environment technologies as they have for done for pharmaceutical technologies for the benefit of HIV/AIDS victims in developing countries, Boer said : It is a good concept. It is possible in case of HIV/AIDS victims who require one or two effective medicines.

It is not possible in the case of environment technologies which are more in number. We have to reward the investments made by the private sector for developing technologies. My suggestion is that there should be a resource pool at the global level to help the developing countries to purchase these technologies. Public fund should also be used by national governments to purchase the technologies already available for deployment at the ground level.

In his inaugural address the Indian Prime Minister urged to view environment technologies as global public goods and advocated transfer of appropriate technologies and adequate funds to the developing world so that they can meet their developmental goals while at the same time minimize ecological costs.

Giving his views on IPR regime on environment technologies, he said : Suitable mechanism must be found that will provide incentives for developing new technologies while also facilitating their deployment in developing countries at affordable cost..An important barrier to technology adoption is the poor absorptive capacities of large number of developing countries. This situation cannot be remedied through forced harmonization of standards. We have to strengthen the limited innovation capabilities in many countries to realize the potential of these new technologies.

Further clarifying he said that India has proposed setting up of an international network of Climate Innovation Centres (CICs) which would act as vehicles for enhancing technology innovation and capacity building in developing countries. These centres would assess and identify locally-relevant key technologies and support their successful and faster development and deployment. Their task may also include addressing the diverse development and diffusion of specific technologies. The CICs in different countries may also cross-fertilise each other by sharing of learning-by-doing experience.

Equating GHG emissions across nations on a per capita basis was the only just and fair basis for a long-term global arrangement on climate change, he said.

On CDM, the Indian Prime Minister said that it proved to be an effective vehicle for promoting sustainable development in many developing countries, while helping developed countries accomplish the abatement of their GHG emissions at lower cost. CDM revenues often take some of the sting out of the risks associated with the introduction and adoption of newer and cleaner technologies, he said.

The Under Secretary General of United Nations Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Sha Zukang said that global climate policy would succeed or fail depending on whether it brings low emission technologies and adaptation technologies within the reach of poor countries and communities without further delay. UNDESA has advocated big investment push in renewable energy sector in the developing world he said.

The guest of honour and the Maldives President, Mohamed Nasheed said that the common but differentiated responsibilities of UNFCCC was the only basis to strike a fair deal in climate negotiations. The developed countries should drastically cut their levels of emissions and the developing countries should choose a different path and take recourse to renewable sources of energy.