Vol. 5 No. 241
WEDNESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2007
Delegates considered air pollution/atmosphere in the morning session, and climate change in the afternoon. On air pollution/atmosphere, discussions focused on reducing indoor air pollution from traditional biomass fuels, and reducing outdoor air pollution, taking into account its relation to transportation, industry, urban development, and energy production and consumption. On climate change, the IPM focused on promoting international cooperation on climate change, including both mitigation and adaptation, and on strengthening international support on adaptation measures.
This session was facilitated byVice-Chairs Frances Lisson and Alain Edouard Traore.
PANEL PRESENTATIONS: Hilal Raza, Hydrocarbon Institute, Pakistan, drew delegates' attention to road transport emissions as major contributors to air pollution in developing countries, especially in urban areas. He observed that switching from liquid hydrocarbons to clean natural gas is an effective measure to improve ambient air, and presented on Pakistan's successful experience in promoting the use of compressed natural gas through market-based policy initiatives and consumer choice.
Brian Doll, Exxon Mobil/International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, commended the UNEP-led Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, and suggested a high-level UN initiative to remove lead from the fuel supply chain, followed by sulphur reduction.
PARTIES' AND MAJOR GROUP STATEMENTS: Delegates spoke in detail on both indoor and outdoor/atmospheric air pollution.
Outdoor Pollution: Delegates raised issues such as transport and industrial policy, urban planning, transboundary pollution, emissions from aviation and maritime sources, sulphur dioxide, unleaded gasoline, and the Montreal Protocol.
The G-77/CHINA called for enhanced international cooperation to enable developing countries to implement national plans and strategies. He suggested a series of policy options, including the transfer of affordable technologies on favorable terms, and capacity building. He also proposed national-level policies, in particular for implementing air quality strategies.
The US highlighted examples from the Matrix that had already succeeded in translating the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation agreement on outdoor and indoor air pollution (paragraph 56) into action, such as the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA urged strong international efforts on transboundary air pollution and further work on aviation and maritime transport. IRAN expressed concern at increased sandstorms that affect those living in desert regions, and called for improved monitoring and early warning systems. MEXICO urged improved urban planning and targeting pollution from transport and industry.
BRAZIL noted the government's role in developing Brazil's biofuels sector since the 1980s, noting the importance of sound policy and strong regulations. CHINA stressed the importance of national enforcement of environmental legislation, and regional cooperation.
NORWAY said the polluter pays principle should lead to taxes on emissions, and proposed that the ECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution be considered for other regions. The EUROPEAN COMMISSION discussed the health sector savings which come from carbon dioxide reductions and called for serious standards for marine-based air pollution. QATAR supported regional agreements on transboundary air pollution.
AUSTRALIA discussed the Montreal Protocol and the positive impact of its Multilateral Fund for developing countries in terms of phasing out ozone depleting substances. VANUATU supported the Marrakesh process for production and consumption patterns, eliminating lead in petrol, and tax incentives for hybrid vehicles. NIGERIA said they have decided to stop gas flaring by 2008. EGYPT highlighted the removal of lead from gasoline and the move towards natural gas in public transportation.
JAPAN emphasized ambient air pollution and described regional cooperation efforts of 13 countries to monitor acid rain. INDIA discussed clean technology and quality control in heavy industry, and called for greater standardization of norms and regulations.
WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS called for efficient transportation systems to get people to work. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES emphasized scientific expertise in each country to monitor and control air quality, called for greater regional scientific cooperation, and said pollution control was very cost effective when public health savings were considered. CHILDREN AND YOUTH proposed prioritizing efforts on air pollution in urban centers, and promotion of public transport. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said access to clean energy requires sound governance and regard for intellectual property rights. WOMEN suggested a clear commitment to policy options on reducing the number of women without access to clean energy..
Indoor Pollution: Many parties also spoke about indoor pollution, noting the gender-specific issue, the need to scale-up successful approaches relating to home stoves and cooking and to switch from traditional biomass to other options, and the importance of capacity building, technology transfer, financing, and the role of international financial institutions.
Many parties supported discontinuing use of traditional biomass and switching to other options, with INDONESIA and QATAR referring to LPG. ZIMBABWE urged better ventilation in homes and lower health costs from reducing air pollution. SOUTH AFRICA highlighted the link between indoor air pollution and poverty and called for international efforts to harmonize standards and guidelines.
CAPE VERDE called for scientific research and public education on the urban transportation problem and the biomass burning problem in rural areas. WHO called on all countries to support the target of reducing by half the number of people without access to modern cooking fuels by 2015.
This session was facilitated by CSD Vice-Chair Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado.
PANEL PRESENTATIONS: José Domingos Miguez, outgoing Chair of the CDM Executive Board, briefed delegates on the current status of the CDM. He noted that there are 1597 CDM projects in 55 countries being implemented or considered. He explained that these would result in emission reductions of 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent during the initial crediting period, creating a multi-billion dollar market of carbon credits. He also highlighted the CDM's role in leveraging new investments, creating jobs, and reducing local pollution.
Richard Moss, UN Foundation, spoke about the results of a UN foundation-Sigma XI scientific study, "Confronting Climate Change: Avoiding the Unmanageable, Managing the Unavoidable." He called for a range of actions, including: accelerating use of win-win solutions; implementing a new global policy framework for mitigation; developing strategies for adaptation; making cities climate resilient and environmentally friendly; increasing investments and cooperation in energy-technology innovation; and improving communication and education.
PARTIES' AND MAJOR GROUP STATEMENTS: Parties reflected on a wide range of issues, including the varied and serious impacts of climate change, policies relating to mitigation and adaptation, the role of the CSD, and UNFCCC discussions on a regime for post-2012, when the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period ends.
The G-77/CHINA highlighted the Kyoto Protocol and principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. She identified various policy options, including: designing effective mitigation and adaptation policies; donors' financial support and new and additional resources for mitigation and adaptation actions; easier access to financing; capacity building; strengthening observation systems; supporting North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation; transferring appropriate technology; and developing insurance markets.
Tuvalu, for AOSIS, urged the international community to implement commitments in the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy. He said negotiations on the post-2012 period should be concluded by December 2008 and lead to substantial reductions in the shortest possible time.
The US said CSD should not duplicate the work undertaken in other fora, but could add value by highlighting implementation challenges and proven solutions. CANADA said a mechanism more effective than Kyoto was needed after 2012 and should include all major emitters. REPUBLIC OF KOREA said energy efficiency and reduced vehicle emissions address both pollution and climate change.
IRAN highlighted energy efficiency, transfer and use of advanced fossil fuel technology, and further research and utilization of renewables and other less polluting sources of energy. COLOMBIA stressed the need for international support for forest conservation and reforestation, a point echoed by MEXICO, who also urged greater attention to climate adaptation measures and the elimination of excessive subsidies. COSTA RICA announced that it intends to be the first country to achieve a neutral carbon balance. NIGERIA spoke of Africa's vulnerability to extreme climate events, and emphasized early warning systems. ARGENTINA said the carbon market must be used to transfer best technologies to developing countries. KUWAIT called on developed countries to increase technological support for clean fossil fuels in exporting countries, including in carbon sequestration and storage.
Several SIDS noted that low-lying islands, while contributing least to climate change, are least prepared to address it, and lamented slow donor support. SINGAPORE emphasized the climate effects of peat and forest fires, and the need for preventing deforestation. Barbados, speaking for CARICOM, attached high priority to post-2012 negotiations, and FIJI invited assistance in early warning and climate observation facilities.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Some delegates were heard commenting on the "focused" interventions on Wednesday. Several also noted the constructive nature of many of the interventions, which for the most part steered away from confrontational or politically-provocative posturing. Some noted a tendency to "information overload" as delegates tried to cram as many proposals as possible within the three-minute limit for each speech. Many delegates were looking one day ahead, though, as they waited for the presentation of the Chair's draft negotiating text on Thursday. There was speculation that some groups might try to submit their own last-minute versions of parts of the document.