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The USA steps in


This week has seen the United States table draft negotiating text to the United Nations in the lead up to Copenhagen, or more formally “United States Input to the Negotiating Text for Consideration at the 6th Session of the AWG-LCA“. I should say that this text appears very preliminary at the moment, but it does recognise the key elements that most parties are now discussing.


Importantly, the text highlights the need for assistance to developing countries, with the paragraph;

The development of low-carbon strategies and the implementation of mitigation actions of developing country Parties will, as appropriate, be supported by financing, technology, and capacity-building, as set forth in Section 4 and Appendix 3.

At this early stage though, Section 4 and Appendix 3 don’t really contain much. The US negotiating team are also seeking input, particularly from business, given the expectation that private finance and project investment will play a significant role.

This then brings me to some ideas in this area. There are some useful lessons in the EU that can be applied more broadly. Rather than simply relying on the CO2 market to deliver reductions, the EU has also focussed on certain classes of technology and structured programmes and targets to promote and develop them. This is most apparent for carbon capture and storage where the EU has set a strong agenda;

Whether it is CCS or some other technology area, the idea of establishing specific programmes of activity, setting timelines and ensuring adequate funding needs to make its way into the international agreement.

One idea which has been put forward by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, repackages the original notion of sectoral agreements. They have proposed a large-scale sector-based approach introduced into the framework. The approach would give rise to agreements, each negotiated for a specific sector by a limited number of parties (i.e. governments), as “satellites” to the main agreement, but utilising the infrastructure (crediting mechanisms, clean technology funds, MRV etc.) offered by the overall framework. Each agreement would have a specific purpose and would operate by encouraging wide spread business-led project development in the target countries, incentivised by the mechanisms and the availability of targeted funding and financing. The projects would typically result in the introduction of infrastructure and new technologies into developing countries together with the capacity for ongoing operation and future expansion.

This then puts developing countries on a pathway towards substantial future action. Ideally, each agreement would lead to the sector within the developing country involved to then adopt a long term binding mitigation target. Importantly, the adoption of a target in a developing country is then specifically linked with the necessary funding and capacity building such that those countries can then realistically manage CO2 emissions going forward.

Such agreements would be structured as follows:



The approach has broad application and could be extended into areas such as avoided deforestation and afforestation (i.e. as envisaged under REDD).






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