COP Gossip – Day 2 of Week 2

by Chris Bisson

OMG you will not believe what happened at COP today!

The World Bank has two new initiatives that focus on expanding the reach of carbon finance to the poorest countries: one will expand the fund for forest-based mitigation programmes. The other one will support poor countries in accessing the carbon markets to finance low-carbon investments.

A draft UN document shows that  taxes on shipping fuel may fund climate assistance. The money raised by the International Maritime organization would go to the Green Climate Fund for ‘developing’ nations. Civil society groups have suggested a tax on flights and international financial transactions to finance climate initiatives. This would be in addition to public policy such as taxes.

While taxes could have the effect of cutting Bunker fuel use, a fundamental problem with the tax is that it assumes the continued exploitation and trade of bunker fuels, which when burned, launch carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Over the weekend China presented a list of five demands under which it would accept legally binding emissions targets. One of the conditions is that major emitters must also commit to the second period as well. In a speech yesterday Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced that it would not be committing to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol. When asked if additional details of the demands could sway Canada to reconsider its decision the Canadian ambassador essentially said that it wouldn’t.

On Friday, the European Union was supposed to vote on the Fuel Quality Directive that would decide whether Canadian tar sands oil would be banned for import.  It was feared that the vote was going to allow for this to happen, but instead the vote got pushed back to January.

In the high level opening plenary this afternoon UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon suggested that the outcome of Durban will not likely be a “comprehensive or legally binding” agreement, but incremental steps on particular policy items are needed.  In the same plenary the European Union announced that it would be committing to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol regardless of whether other parties decide to commit as well.

Things are heating up. Stay tune for more COP gossip!

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