Day 4 from COP 24 in Katowice: Meeting the Paris Agreement

COP 24—A&WMA member Mike DeBusschere covers sessions the role of agriculture, energy, and systemic change to meet the Paris Agreement and where we are with actions and support to pave the way for success in 2020. 

by Mike DeBusschere

DAY 4 – December 6, 2018
Session - How do we get there? The role of agriculture, energy and systemic change to meet the Paris Agreement
Exploring ways in which agriculture, energy, and broader changes at societal level would allow us to reach the Paris Agreement's long-term goal without relying on geoengineering and negative emissions technologies. “IPCC + Paris = Equity”. “Without equity the world is less likely to achieve systemic change needed.”
Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy & Climate Change, University of Manchester, also at Uppsala University, Sweden - The implications of math and science
  • Presents a hypothesis on equity that suppose we had serious EU regulations, there would be a one-third cut in greenhouse gases (GHGs), even if no one else did anything
  • Unequal distribution of wealth underpins failure to meet Paris Agreement, doesn't think we will hold to 1.5 °C and impacts of 2.0 °C are much worse requiring massive amounts of negative emissions
  • We're doing just fine – but COP24 appears to be a meeting of climate glitterati
  • Criticizes the IPCC 1.5 °C Special Report as not real world because it ignores equity of emissions
  • 2.0 °C – humility a starting point for hope and action, 28 years of ongoing failure to make progress on climate change, haven't seriously attempted to reduce carbon dioxide
  • Math – Paris + IPCC = Equity, Greed – There are entitlements people will not give up
  • 49% of GHGs are emitted by the top 10% of global population (the wealthier tiers)
  • Need profound changes in energy behaviors and practices
Kelsey Perlman, Forest Climate Campaigner
  • Need to stop preventing nature from its cleansing power, stop deforestation and minimize carbon consumption or come up with negative emission pathways
  • IPCC Report finds forests play an essential role, difference between 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C have big impacts on biodiversity
  • IPCC report shows we are very much behind in meeting biodiversity, no significant progress in restoring forest biodiversity and we are moving away from the target (goal is to cut deforestation in half by 2020, actually, it is 42% higher than the base year)
  • 800 million hectare eliminated by deforestation and disasters since base year (the size of Brazil)
  • Another goal is to produce forest based negative emissions is 800-1,000 gigatons (similar to all the GHGs from China)
  • Thinks we should not replace fossil fuels with biomass (destroys forests and it takes a long time to grow them back), promotes illegal logging, destruction of old growth forests
  • Restoration solutions include enforcing indigenous people's land right to prevent deforestation, avoid one-trick pony reductions (get fast GHG trades vs destruction of long term sinks and create pathways for forest restoration
Shefali Sharma, Director Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) – Emissions Impossible
  • If all other sectors but livestock meet target livestock would make up 80% of the remaining GHGs
  • Top 20 meat and dairy companies emit more GHG than France or Germany, and the top five together emit more than Exxon Mobile GHGs
  • Key producers and consumer countries are mainly a limited number EU and five others 90% of pork, 80% of chicken and 70% of beef. Approach to controlling livestock emissions in Kenya therefore is ridiculous
  • Main GHGs are methane and nitrous oxides both are much more powerful GHGs than carbon dioxide (23 and 310 times more GWP respectively)
  • Nitrous oxide emitted twice, once to produce feed from fertilizer, then again from field manure
  • Aerial views and map of nitrogen plume from Mississippi delta dead zone (5,000-6,000 square miles) and others in Chile, Japan, China, Northern Europe
  • Adaptive multi-paddock grazing, ecological leftovers approach, less is more and better
  • Climate change will be devastating to the agricultural system and will not be linear, worries that world population will be less fed as effects heighten
Francois DeBeaux–Catholic International Development Society & Environment (CIDSE), France
  • Advocates an integrated approach, looking for paradigm shift
  • Good news is the integrated approaches do exist, bad news is that they threaten the current established systems
  • CIDSE report issued regarding energy and “agroecology” sectors
  • Energy accounts for two-thirds of global GHGs yet many lack access to energy, need to identify energy system transferrable technologies for small communities respectful of human rights and sufficiency of supply
  • Looking at ways to transform agriculture with respect to livestock, recycling nutrients, reducing dependency on energy and long-distance transportation
Session -- Actions and support before 2020: Where we are. Paving the way for success under the Paris Agreement. The UNFCCC secretariat has prepared a summary report of the third biennial reports submitted by developed countries, which includes information on the progress made toward the achievement of the 2020 targets and the provision of support to developing country Parties.
Daniel deSegas--Developing Countries are Progressing Toward their 2020 Targets but Gaps Remain
  • Between 1990 and 2016 developing country GHGs have been reduced by 13%
  • Since 2010 GHGs dropped 4.4%, but were offset by growth of population and economy
  • Solid legal, institutional and policy frameworks are still needed
  • Developed country GHGs projected to go from 19.6 to 17.1 giga tonnes between1990 to 2030
  • Expect sizeable reductions from tendering for renewable energy projects, emissions trading, energy efficiency and some other programs
  • From 1990 to 2020 expect GDP per capita to grow 61%, population to grow 12%, GHGs to reduce by 13%
  • 2020 emission targets increasingly being seen as just a starting point
This session was more of a private discussion between four panelists. Only one actual presentation.
Session - Business and Industry Day: Business exploration of carbon neutral pathways at country level France has committed to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. EPE members carried out a study to propose a full picture of the economy and society compatible with this target. This session aims to highlight the benefits of this collaborative long-term carbon neutrality strategy and related success factors.
Norma Airman, ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) Netherlands, Moderator
Claire Tutentuit, Managing Director, EPE-France. A Net Zero Emission France in 2050, A Study By Business “ZEN” (for Zero Emission Net or Zero Emission Nation?)
  • EPE an organization of 46 industries in France
  • Approaching the issue through collective cooperation, cross-sectorial approach and socioeconomic inputs
  • Roadmap analyses of carbon sinks, household profiling, and Identifying trajectories for jobs and investment to reach an end landscape by 2050
  • Recommendations on short-term efforts
  • Assumptions include that this is not a unique scenario, there will be offsetting abroad, efficiency and decarbonization will come first, and there will be the same level of industrial activity
  • Key outputs expected to be that all economic sectors will have to contribute, with reductions by sector to be calculated (starting at 480 million tonnes) with domestic transport reducing by 90%, energy, agriculture and air flight also
  • Realistic and attractive lifestyles also assumed, with 9 socioeconomic profiles to be designed, diverse way of life consistent with advanced ways of today such as less meat, equivalent mobility, insulated housing.
  • Biomass a key resource for fossil fuel energy substitution and for new uses increases up to 336 tera watt hours (TWh) by 2050
  • Action must start immediately, direct energy emissions to be cut by 6, job creation and transition will increase by 10-15% of the economy (chart by industry sector chowing increases)
  • 10-15% of new investment to occur in improved transportation infrastructure to support EVs and NGVs
  • Want to promote to general public the appreciation of changes to them, move within other EU states in trade, price, green taxes and redistribution, take sectoral measures I education, agriculture, low-carbon industry and mobility systems
  • Biomass forest and agriculture measures to be explained
Emmanuel Normant, Vice President & Group Chief Sustainability Officer, Saint Gobain-France.
  • Company is 200,000 employees and makes building products such as glass, cement, and participating in the ZEN study
  • ZEN is acceptance way to approach the issue because it is cross-sectorial, consequences are defined if a sector underperforms, provides vehicle for innovation
  • Significant improvement in production efficiency is required which will provide payback to the company
  • ZEN makes the company to examine material use and design of the product, such as for cement – design the buildings to use less cement, make cement with less energy, make cement products that are attractive in the building as a final surface
Bernhard Schwager, ChemE, Head of Sustainability, Bosch-Germany.
  • Reporting on the BDI Study “Climate Paths for Germany”, which is pushing for a 60% GHG reduction for Germany, needing pubic acceptance for the new products being designed
  • Goal is achievable with the technology available today, using 200 experts, 40 workshops within 10 industry sectors
  • EVs and HEVs part of the mix
  • Looking at 1,500 to 2,300 billion Euro investment requirement through 2050
  • Have already achieved 32.8% reduction company-wide in 2017 compared to 2007, needing another 30% by 2027 costing 0.5 billion Euros
Marie Alix du Laz, Senior Climate Advisor, Total - France. Was in Myanmar.
  • Joined ZEN willingly because of the quality of research, hope for innovative approaches, etc
  • Study for the refining sector financed by BP
  • Thinks the year 2050 is too far away
  • Using the ratio of all their emissions divided by al the energy produced – the goals is to make the ratio decline by 50%
  • Includes refinery operation, electricity activity, biomass activity and one other
  • Looking at national carbon sequestration as a possible technique
  • US$300 million into energy efficiency projects, reducing energy intensity from 0.2 to 0.02 %
  • Also have programs in forest preservation, use of HEVs and EVs to generate offsets
Yvon Slingenberg, Director, DG Climate Action-EU Commission.
  • Long-term strategies by France and Germany may be needed since it appears the 1.5 °C target may be exceeded
  • EC has put into place specific target for renewable energy use increase, reductions from 1990 by sector, regulations and policies to enforce country agreements
  • Has come to the view that a 60% reduction by 2050 will not be enough
  • EC report out on effects on all economic sectors, what do each have to do
  • Want the EU area to be the first major economic area to be carbon neutral, will require European solidarity, thinks Euro elections next year may be largely shaped by climate change agenda
  • Additional investment costs estimated to be 175-290 billion Euros/year
  • Benefits estimated to be at least 266 billion Euros/yr just for fuel import cost savings
  • Looking at increasing energy efficiency in the housing industry, 80% of energy from renewable sources, 2-3 trillion Euros in savings then to be reinvested in other sectors
  • EVs, HEVs, city planning, infrastructure being implemented by municipalities at direction of EU
  • Idea of sector coupling such as for re-use of waste heat, precision farming & fertilizer use in combo with livestock GHG management
  • Carbon capture and storage is declining in role because of better than expected success in renewable energy installation, might even get to negative emissions in the UK
  • Target of net zero carbon is technically feasible today, may require about 0.8% of GDP but then again might produce a positive increase of 2.8% GDP when implemented
Monologue for Thursday

So, I arise from sleep, eat a huge Euro + American breakfast (this means all the cold cuts, cheeses, yogurt, muesli and grain laden bread plus fresh waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, coffee and pastries you can eat (you can surmise which is European and which part of the menu is American). I get on the COP4 free bus, very modern and about 80 degrees in there, and we head off to the conference from Oswiecim, where I am staying, to Katowice. I link my cell phone to the Wi-Fi and check my Tesla's charge – only lost 30 miles in five days, not bad. I check my home solar system, pretty low results for the last few days due to rain and heavy clouds but still racked up 6 kW yesterday.

I am in conversation with delegates from New Zealand and from the UK about why the air here smells like sulfur.  I explain its from the burning of lignite in apartment and commercial buildings, and of course the fact it is only 25F outside. I was here 20 years ago and it was the same. We pass by Auschwitz as the tourists are assembling to tour. The bus is playing the disco hit “I will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor as we pass by a coal distributor.

I arrive at the venue, take some pics. One can immediately note the most popular exhibits are the ones providing free coffee. I stick my head into the press room and ask if anyone knows how many attendees there are (the info desk did not know). The five or six journalists in there barely looked up from their laptops but someone hesitantly offered about 30,000. On the way to my first session I overhear a group of Russian delegates in discussion about climate change issues.  There were a lot of “nyets” being said. I pass through the Poland exhibit, it's comprised of 2 x 2 timbers of Polish poplar erected as if they were still trees, very calming and fragrant. I go by the Republic of Serbia exhibit because my son-in law is from Serbia. Nobody there (no free coffee I am guessing would explain this). I continue the 20 minute walk to Building G where most of the side sessions are held. I notice how youthful the crowd is, lots of pony tails, form-fitting jackets, jaunty steps. The women also looked nice.  I go to my first session's antechamber.  Here they once gain have free Polish orchard apples, very tasty, tart, cool in temperature, so I have one.

The nuclear lobby is out in force, they think nuclear energy is being ignored as a solution, still claiming it is cheaper than natural gas even. But the panelists mostly ignore these statements. There are helicopters crisscrossing above the meeting room, very loud but not playing Wagner. I am at my session and once again, no speaker names are posted.  The name placards are “Secretariat”, “Secretariat”, “Secretariat”, “European Union”, “Norway”, “Canada” and “Japan”. I am learning that there is a lot of talking here.  In another session I ask how well have livestock CDMs reduced GHGs compared to the targets. The panelist expert on livestock replied she didn't think these CDMs were appropriate because it favors large producers to buy up small cattlemen in places like California, and it destroys the local fabric of Zambia, but about 19%.  I think this panel was the Socialist Panel. I go to the last meeting room and there is free dessert!

The last session of the day was really good, had all the speakers identified, all but one had a presentation, and many facts and figures were provided.  It was the Industry Forum, of course.  Met a Brit from the Global Development Integration organization. He's been in South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya for the last six years working for world peace, and also GHG reduction I assume. Interesting person, I think he was Jude Law‘s twin brother (by this time of day I am hallucinating). 

I trek the 25 minutes (it's getting longer) to the bus, it's playing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cindy Lauper.

About the Author. Mike DeBusschere, P.E., was President of A&WMA from June 2000 through December 2001. Before being elected President, he served as Section Council Chair and in several Board and leadership positions. He is a licensed chemical engineer and is President of Kentuckiana Engineering Company, an environmental consulting firm in Louisville, Kentucky, since 1996. Before entering private practice, he was Acting Air Branch Chief of Region IV EPA, and led EHS regional programs at Camp Dresser & McKee, ERM and TRC. DeBusschere is an A&WMA Fellow.
  1. China communicated that it will endeavour to lower its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 per cent by 2020 compared with the 2005 level. It also expressed the intention to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15 per cent by 2020 and to increase forest coverage by 40 million ha and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion m3 by 2020 compared with the 2005 levels.  China stated that the above-mentioned autonomous domestic mitigation actions are voluntary in nature and that they will be implemented in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention, in particular Article 4, paragraph 7. The Party also stated that its communication is made in accordance with the provisions of Article 12, paragraphs 1(b) and 4, and Article 10, paragraph 2(a), of the Convention.
  2. Canada communicated a target of a 17 per cent emission reduction by 2020 compared with 2005 levels, to be aligned with the final economy-wide emission reduction target of the United States of America in enacted legislation. Submission of this target was made with the expectation that other Annex I Parties and major Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (non-Annex I Parties) would submit information on their emission targets and mitigation actions by 31 January 2010, pursuant to paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Copenhagen Accord.
  3. The EU and its member States communicated an independent quantified economywide emission reduction target of a 20 per cent emission reduction by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. Under the conditions set out by the European Council of December 2009 and as part of a global and comprehensive agreement for the period beyond 2012, the EU reiterated its conditional offer to move to a 30 per cent emission reduction by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and that developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities. The EU and its 27 member States wished to reconfirm their commitment to a negotiating process aimed at achieving the strategic objective of limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2 C above pre-industrial levels. Meeting that objective requires the level of global GHG emissions to peak by 2020 at the latest, to be reduced by at least 50 per cent compared with 1990 levels by 2050 and to continue to decline thereafter. To this end, and in accordance with the findings of the FCCC/SB/2011/INF.1/Rev.1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, developed countries as a group should reduce their GHG emissions to below 1990 levels through domestic and complementary international efforts by 25 to 40 per cent by 2020 and by 80 to 95 per cent by 2050, while developing countries as a group should achieve a substantial deviation below the currently predicted rate of growth in emissions, in the order of 15 to 30 per cent by 2020. The EU and its 27 member States are fully committed to continuing to negotiate with the other Parties, with a view to concluding as soon as possible within the United Nations framework a legally binding international agreement for the period commencing 1 January 2013.  The EU and its 27 member States wished to recall that the EU climate and energy package has already been adopted.* Among other things, this package consolidates the European Union emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) and expands its scope. In addition, pursuant to the EU "effort-sharing decision", member States are required to implement additional policies and measures concerning the GHG emissions from sources not falling under the EU ETS, in order to reach the overall EU emission reduction target.