Day 5 from COP 24 in Katowice: Climate Change Issues

COP 24—A&WMA member Mike DeBusschere reports on sessions focusing on renewables and energy storage, electrification and fuel cells in transportation, and ocean-related issues, as well as an IPCC-Sponsored short course on the Paris Agreement.
by Mike DeBusschere

IPCC Sponsored Short Course on the Paris Agreement

There was a 45-minute course presented today by a delegate to the COP process representing IPCC. She was knowledgeable and there was great audience participation. The IPCC rep has been involved in the COP process for 10 years. Here is a brief summary of what was covered.
The Paris Agreement has three pillars:
  1. Legally required agreements
  2. Nationally determined contribution commitments (NDCs)
  3. Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV)
The 2015 COP21 in Paris was attended by 177 heads of state, a highly unusual evet. Subsequent to the agreement, 188 countries of the world submitted interim NDCs, which are basically greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets, and in some cases, how they will be achieved. Countries have to get their NDCs approved by their respective treaty approval bodies, report progress every two years and submit to a worldwide reckoning called a stock-tacking every five years. The Paris Agreement is composed of Articles, which address how the agreement is to be implemented. The COP24 delegates are to develop something called a Rule Book to define how NDCs can be counted, demonstrated and what MRVs will be required. Apparently, a country cannot just drop out, it takes a three-year cycle of confirmation to do this.
COP24's purpose is to develop plans and requirements for the three pillars of the agreement. The requirements have been referred to as the “Rule Book”. Already, groups are providing their ideas as to what their sector rule books should be like. The International Chamber of Commerce seems to have their act together.
There is US$100 billion/yr. in funding to help undeveloped countries meet their commitments (32 of 45 are in Africa).
Here's a link to the full agreement:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
This body was tasked with performing research to determine the status of climate change by the Paris conference and report back to the COP this year. That report was submitted, but the COP is not sure about what to do about it because it was not a positive outlook for the Earth's trajectory and the 1.5 °C temperature rise proposed limit. I have attached a summary of this report at the end of today's update. One item in the report keeps getting cited in sessions and that is the graphic below of linkages between mitigation measures and defined Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) countries are to use to develop their NDCs. A link to the full IPCC report is included with the report.

Session - Renewables and energy storage: An ideal marriage for a low carbon world?
To avoid a 1.5 °C or 2 °C rise in global temperatures a significant scale-up of renewable technologies is likely to be required. This session looks at opportunities for growth in renewables and how energy storage can help address the challenge of variable renewable energy supply.
Chair: Dr Rob Gross (Imperial College London) – What Role do Renewables Play in Keeping Warming to 1.5 °C?
  • 1.5 °C target would require 2,200 plus or minus 320 gigatonnes to be cut, leaving 420 or gigatonnes by 2020
  • Improve energy efficiency gives 20%
  • Renewables could supply 25% of electricity by 2020 and 55% by 2030, then 75% by 2050
  • Storage is critical, projects about 20% of electricity use in 2050 needs to come from storage of renewable generate power, up to 60% is possible (wind & solar)
  • Wind requires less storage % than solar
Steve Sawyer (Global Wind Energy Council) - Scaling Up Renewables to Meet the Climate Challenge
  • Wind Force 10 – Global Wind Energy Outlook report discussed, just under 5% of global electricity is from wind in 2017, expects to rise to 6-7% by 2020
  • Global Cumulative New Wind Power Capacity bar chart
  • At above 25% wind generated fraction, substantial storage facilities will be required to increase wind fraction of global electricity
  • Uruguay Case Study – 100% renewables attained in 10 years, 59% hydro, 31% wind, 7.5% biomass, 2.1% solar
  • South Africa Case History – 2011 City of Durban report, 2018 capacity energy plan shows the least cost option is solar and wind electricity generation, which is about ½ the cost of new coal fired generation
  • Denmark is 50-60% wind generated power in 2018
  • Expects prices for solar and wind to continue to fall, especially with China taking the lead in solar
Rana Adib (REN21) - Renewable Energy & Storage – A Driver for the Electrification of Heat & Transport
  • Most electricity used for heating and transport
  • Heating sector drivers – reduced cost of heat pumps, abundance of renewable electricity, electricity is more mobile than thermal energy carriers, electricity can change the quality of heat efficiency
  • Knowledge of heat sector storage needs to be improved, storage must provide flexibility, match supply and demand from grid, thermal demand and heat quality, energy storage is 50-100 times cheaper than electricity storage, storage provides a support function
  • Graph on electrification trends in transport, includes rail, light rail, electronic vehicles (EVs) on market (only1% in 2016)
Dr. Michael Whiston (Carnegie Mellon University), to energy efficiency – Co-Benefits of and Pathways for Renewables, Energy Storage and Fuel Cells
  • Storage is not a green silver bullet, nor necessarily green
  • Using storage study in the US showed increases in SO2 and NOx in energy arbitrage situations
  • Storage is often charged up during off hours using coal combustion then used during peak hours, displacing natural gas generation
  • Solar and wind renewables can off set these storage increased emissions at only 0.1-18 MW and 1 – 67 MW of solar would off set increased emissions caused by increased storage
  • Fuel cell continuous power can balance renewable, are modular, cost competitive presumably, however U.S Department of Energy (DOE) projects US$900/kW capacity, costs could be brought down by reducing operating temp to avoid ceramic refractory systems
  • Estimates fuel cell costs to drop to US$1000/kW by 2035
Prof. Evelina Trutnevyte (University of Geneva), Chair: Dr. Rob Gross (Imperial College London) – How can we pioneer systemic innovation for renewable energy and storage?
  • Report on high-level pathways in EU, climate neutrality and systemic needed, deeply integrated zero-carbon energy urban systems, pumped storage, batteries, vehicle to grid
  • Social innovation is more than just acceptance, studies interest of households in buying solar PV in Switzerland – 64% are interested, motivations include low coat, protecting from electricity price rises, independence
  • High decarbonization potential for mining industry, civil society, conventional agriculture
  • Solution is deeply integrated zero-carbon strategy, and two other points
Session - Optimizing the integration of ocean-related issues in NDCs and NAPs for the achievement of SDG 14
The session builds on the ongoing discussions under the UNFCCC process on the importance of raising awareness on the role of oceans in climate and climate change, and interlinkages and synergies for action. First side event for UN Oceans at a COP. IPCC report on oceans due out next year. (UNO UN Oceans). The first part of this session presented no overheads or data, just some people talking about what their group is doing with a limit of 5 minutes each. Second portion was not better. Q&A – arctic melt, Greenland melting urgent problem – there is a treaty to protect but need more countries to sign up; Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi emphasized need for ocean climate change NDCs and financing, use of green bonds, and that mangroves are just as important as coral
Julio Cordana, UNFCCC Adaptation Committee, Chile Session Coordinator
  • Three dialogs – synergies and coordination, mitigation adaptation on fisheries and sea life, compare programs in place that appear to be working
Kristen Isensee, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Assistant Director General (IOC-UNESCO)
  • Ocean science is crucial to understand climate change, oceans take up 38% of ozone generated every year
  • 20% of countries produce 80% of ocean research
  • 2 years to prepare ocean SDG, mitigation plans by 2030
Taholo Kami, Special Representative, Fiji, The Ocean Pathway Partnership (OPP)
  • Oceans are not being addressed by only one agency but a number of them
  • OPP born to coordinate with all other agencies
  • Emissions from ships being studied for impacts
  • Fiji and others working to ban use of heavy oil in tankers I the arctic?
Yasser Eddebar, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
  • SDG 14 aims at sustainable management of resources, like ecosystem drivers (pH, temperature, chemicals, nutrients), could beef up ocean monitoring network
  • Future resilience program pairing with Imperial Beach, San Diego to employ predictive models using data monitoring, plan to scale up to nation level assistance such as Chile
Guillermo Navarro, WMO (World Meteorological Organization), Chile
  • Video by the WMO states 2018 will be fourth warmest on record, severe weather impacted on every continent
  • Goal is to work closer with the IPCC and other organizations to support their projects and capacity building, and to provide government agencies with a severe weather warning system
  • Sea ice melting at alarming rate, need to focus on SDG 14
  • Chile experiencing increasing storms and floods to extent the government has adopted an aggressive climate change action plan, a specific plan to restore and protect fisheries
  • S America has great responsibility to make better and more observations through the WMO
Jeff Ardon, Commonwealth Secretariat, British Commonwealth
  • Secretariat has adopted specific measures to be employed, 33 countries are members of the UN Oceans secretariat
  • Commonwealth Blue Charter adopted this year allows for voluntary country SDGs to be proposed, nine action groups in 12 countries, including mangrove and coral restoration and plastic ocean pollution
  • Climate change urgency has forced diverse “silo” groups to start working with each other as evidenced within the Commonwealth
  • Looking at coral reef restoration methods because of the emergency
  • “The main difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic is that the Antarctic is an unclaimed continent surrounded by ocean while the arctic is claimed ocean surrounded by continents.”, refereeing why it will be hard to achieve a treaty to protect artic ice.
Regina Asariotis, Chief Policy and Legislative Section, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • Thinks adding oceans to the agenda is very important, must have legislative requirements to be effective, will enhance policy objectives of SDG 13 & 14 for the oceans
  • Shipping sustainable use should be a requirement, and as numerous legal requirements regarding economic and commercial nature
  • Are participating in development of the Paris Agreement toolkit
  • “Enormous disconnect between what scientists are telling us about emissions and oceanic impacts”
  • Coral reefs economically important way beyond use as for diving, such as for coastal barrier protection, oceanic life diversity, etc.
Here are some example NDC commitments from a few countries from the UNFCCC site shown below.
  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.
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.

There are two documents that underpin the COP24 and bring together much of the work the UNFCCC has been doing since Kyoto decades ago.  They are the Paris Agreement and the IPCC 2018 Report on Climate Change.  Here is a brief summary of each and how to get to the full texts.
What is the Paris Agreement?
At COP 21 (Conference of the Parties # 21) in Paris, on 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake take ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.
The Paris Agreement's central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to increase the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, and at making finance flows consistent with a low GHG emissions and climate-resilient pathway. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate mobilization and provision of financial resources, a new technology framework and enhanced capacity-building is to be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for an enhanced transparency framework for action and support.
The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts. There will also be a global stocktake every 5 years to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and to inform further individual actions by Parties.
The Paris Agreement opened for signature on 22 April 2016 – Earth Day – at UN Headquarters in New York. It entered into force on 4 November 2016, 30 days after the so-called “double threshold” (ratification by 55 countries that account for at least 55% of global emissions) had been met. Since then, more countries have ratified and continue to ratify the Agreement, reaching a total of 125 Parties in early 2017. The current number of ratifications can be found here.
In order to make the Paris Agreement fully operational, a work programme was launched in Paris to develop modalities, procedures and guidelines on a broad array of issues. Since 2016, Parties work together in the subsidiary bodies (APA, SBSTA and SBI) and various constituted bodies. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) met for the first time in conjunction with COP 22 in Marrakesh (in November 2016) and adopted its first two decisions. The work programme is expected to be completed by 2018.
The Paris Agreement, adopted through Decision 1/CP.21, addresses crucial areas necessary to combat climate change. Some of the key aspects of the Agreement are set out below:
  • Long-term temperature goal (Art. 2) – The Paris Agreement, in seeking to strengthen the global response to climate change, reaffirms the goal of limiting global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.
  • Global peaking and 'climate neutrality' (Art. 4) –To achieve this temperature goal, Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as soon as possible, recognizing peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs in the second half of the century.
  • Mitigation (Art. 4) – The Paris Agreement establishes binding commitments by all Parties to prepare, communicate and maintain a nationally determined contribution (NDC) and to pursue domestic measures to achieve them. It also prescribes that Parties shall communicate their NDCs every 5 years and provide information necessary for clarity and transparency. To set a firm foundation for higher ambition, each successive NDC will represent a progression beyond the previous one and reflect the highest possible ambition. Developed countries should continue to take the lead by undertaking absolute economy-wide reduction targets, while developing countries should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move toward economy-wide targets over time in the light of different national circumstances.
  • Sinks and reservoirs (Art.5) –The Paris Agreement also encourages Parties to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of GHGs as referred to in Article 4, paragraph 1(d) of the Convention, including forests.
  • Voluntary cooperation/Market- and non-market-based approaches (Art. 6) – The Paris Agreement recognizes the possibility of voluntary cooperation among Parties to allow for higher ambition and sets out principles – including environmental integrity, transparency and robust accounting – for any cooperation that involves internationally transferal of mitigation outcomes. It establishes a mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of GHG emissions and support sustainable development, and defines a framework for non-market approaches to sustainable development.
  • Adaptation (Art. 7) – The Paris Agreement establishes a global goal on adaptation – of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change in the context of the temperature goal of the Agreement. It aims to significantly strengthen national adaptation efforts, including through support and international cooperation. It recognizes that adaptation is a global challenge faced by all. All Parties should engage in adaptation, including by formulating and implementing National Adaptation Plans, and should submit and periodically update an adaptation communication describing their priorities, needs, plans and actions. The adaptation efforts of developing countries should be recognized
  • Loss and damage (Art. 8) – The Paris Agreement recognizes the importance of averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, and the role of sustainable development in reducing the risk of loss and damage. Parties are to enhance understanding, action and support, including through the Warsaw International Mechanism, on a cooperative and facilitative basis with respect to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Finance, technology and capacity-building support (Art. 9, 10 and 11) – The Paris Agreement reaffirms the obligations of developed countries to support the efforts of developing country Parties to build clean, climate-resilient futures, while for the first time encouraging voluntary contributions by other Parties. Provision of resources should also aim to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation. In addition to reporting on finance already provided, developed country Parties commit to submit indicative information on future support every two years, including projected levels of public finance. The agreement also provides that the Financial Mechanism of the Convention, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF), shall serve the Agreement. International cooperation on climate-safe technology development and transfer and building capacity in the developing world are also strengthened: a technology framework is established under the Agreement and capacity-building activities will be strengthened through, inter alia, enhanced support for capacity building actions in developing country Parties and appropriate institutional arrangements. Climate change education, training as well as public awareness, participation and access to information (Art 12) is also to be enhanced under the Agreement.
  • Climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information (Art 12) is also to be enhanced under the Agreement.
  • Transparency (Art. 13), implementation and compliance (Art. 15) – The Paris Agreement relies on a robust transparency and accounting system to provide clarity on action and support by Parties, with flexibility for their differing capabilities of Parties. In addition to reporting information on mitigation, adaptation and support, the Agreement requires that the information submitted by each Party undergoes international technical expert review. The Agreement also includes a mechanism that will facilitate implementation and promote compliance in a non-adversarial and non-punitive manner, and will report annually to the CMA.
  • Global Stocktake (Art. 14) – A “global stocktake”, to take place in 2023 and every 5 years thereafter, will assess collective progress toward achieving the purpose of the Agreement in a comprehensive and facilitative manner. It will be based on the best available science and its long-term global goal. Its outcome will inform Parties in updating and enhancing their actions and support and enhancing international cooperation on climate action.
  • Decision 1/CP.21 also sets out a number of measures to enhance action prior to 2020, including strengthening the technical examination process, enhancement of provision of urgent finance, technology and support and measures to strengthen high-level engagement. For 2018 a facilitative dialogue is envisaged to take stock of collective progress towards the long-term emission reduction goal of Art 4. The decision also welcomes the efforts of all non-Party stakeholders to address and respond to climate change, including those of civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other subnational authorities. These stakeholders are invited to scale up their efforts and showcase them via the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action platform ( Parties also recognized the need to strengthen the knowledge, technologies, practices and efforts of local communities and indigenous peoples, as well as the important role of providing incentives through tools such as domestic policies and carbon pricing.
What is the 2018 IPCC Report?
This Report responds to the invitation for IPCC ‘... to provide a Special Report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways' contained in the Decision of the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to adopt the Paris Agreement.1 The IPCC accepted the invitation in April 2016, deciding to prepare this Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature2 relevant to global warming of 1.5°C and for the comparison between global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The level of confidence associated with each key finding is reported using the IPCC calibrated language.3 The underlying scientific basis of each key finding is indicated by references provided to chapter elements. In the SPM, knowledge gaps are identified associated with the underlying chapters of the Report.
Sections of the Report:
  1. Understanding Global Warming of 1.5°C4
  2. Projected Climate Change, Potential Impacts and Associated Risks
  3. Emission Pathways and System Transitions Consistent with 1.5°C
Global Warming
  1. Strengthening the Global Response in the Context of Sustainable Development and Efforts to Eradicate Poverty