China Maps Path to Peak Emissions Before 2030, EU and Others Address Mitigation
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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Several governments, international organizations and initiatives are using the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco as a platform to report on their mitigation actions and strategies.

Reports during the first week of COP 22 addressed China’s plan to reduce GHG emissions, the EU’s mitigation performance, progress by UN agencies and programmes and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

November 2016: China revealed details of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieve its commitment under the Paris Agreement to ensure that its emissions will peak no later than 2030, ahead of the opening of COP 22, on 4 November 2016. According to the China State Council, the plan will ensure an 18% percent reduction in carbon intensity per unit of GDP over the period of the 13th Five-Year Plan from 2015 to 2020.

To achieve this goal, the plan provides for energy conservation in the industrial, construction and public transport sectors; and for an increase in the use of non-fossil energy sources including nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal and biomass power. Other measures include: the promotion of low carbon agriculture; reforestation towards a forest coverage rate of 23.04% by 2020; and promotion of low carbon lifestyles. These measures will be supported by the establishment of a carbon emissions trading system covering eight industrial sectors, including petrochemical, steel, paper making and aviation industries. [State Council of the People’s Republic of China Press Release][Associated Press Coverage]

Despite increases, the EU remains on track towards meeting its 2020 target to reduce GHG emissions by 20% compared to 1990.

After four consecutive years of achieving absolute reductions in GHG emissions, the EU now faces the challenge to prevent a backlash, as in 2015 emissions from sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) increased faster than emissions from those sectors included in the ETS could be reduced. According to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), overall emissions in the EU increased by 0.7% in 2015 following a decrease of 4% in the previous year. Despite this increase, the report concludes that the EU remains on track towards meeting its 2020 target to reduce GHG emissions by 20% compared to 1990. With regard to the EU 2030 target to reduce emissions by 40%, the report’s projections suggest that EU countries will fall short as current measures will only achieve 26-29% reductions. The gap can be bridged, the report suggests, with additional measures such as new annual binding GHG emission targets, integration of land use and forestry, and action focusing on the transport sector. The EEA also released a report covering emissions of all GHGs from all sectors except land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). Proxy estimates have been developed based on GHG emissions reported by Member States to the EU Council. [EEA Press Release][Trends and Projections in Europe 2016: Tracking Progress Towards Europe Climate and Energy Targets][GHG Inventory Abstract][Approximated EU GHG Inventory: Proxy GHG Estimates for 2015]

UN agencies and programmes and IMO also reported on mitigation action. The UN released its ‘Greening the Blue Report 2016,’ which provides an overview of progress towards the UN’s target of becoming climate neutral by 2020. As of 2015, the emissions of UN agencies and programmes still represent an average of seven ton of CO2 equivalent per staff member. IMO on the other hand, presented on progress made towards reducing GHG emissions from international shipping to the UNFCCC SBSTA, including its recently adopted mandatory data collection on fuel oil consumption of ships and its Roadmap 2017 to 2023 for developing a ‘Comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships.’ The reporting requirements apply to ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above that will have to collect fuel consumption and other data. Adopted at the 70th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) held in October 2016, the requirement is the first element of a three-step approach towards transparent data analysis to enable an inclusive policy debate. The Roadmap outlines activities to be carried out by the MEPC towards the adoption of a revised strategy for ship energy efficiency improvements in 2023. This strategy will, among other issues, address the shipping sector’s contribution towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change [IISD RS story on UN Greening the Blue Report][UN Press Release][UNEP Press Release][Greening the Blue report 2016][IMO Press Release][SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Mandatory Fuel Consumption Reporting]

The final piece of mitigation news this week addresses the challenge of developing and implementing climate-friendly technologies for refrigeration, air condition and foam production (RAC&F). These activities have in common that they are energy intensive and currently rely on the use of fluorinated gases, mostly hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs). The use of HFCs for RAC&F is increasing rapidly as refrigeration and air conditioning are essential for adapting to higher temperatures in many areas, whereas foam-based insulation is a key part of strategies for making buildings more energy efficient. HFCs are extremely potent GHGs, which is why in October 2016, Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to the Kigali Amendment, committing to phase out HFC emissions over the next 30 years. To help countries get started, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) released a report to support policymakers in aligning national strategies and efforts under UNFCCC and the Montreal Protocol for more effective action and realizing synergies under the two agreements. The report provides background information on the requirements for implementing relevant UNFCCC and Montreal Protocol provisions and outlines: main elements of an RAC&F mitigation strategy; tools and methods for implementing such strategies; the role of nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs); and options for financing RAC&F mitigation. The report provides technical information as well as practical advice for policy development, including a large number of resources and links to further information. The document was developed as part of the GIZ’s Green Cooling Initiative, a platform aiming to link technology suppliers and users and provide sector specific data and materials to the private sector and policy makers. [Abstract][Advancing Nationally Determined Contributions through Climate-friendly Refrigeration and Air Conditioning: Guidance for Policymakers][Website of the Green Cooling Initiative]


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