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17 Dec, 2007

Climate Change: Telecom Firms Target Business Travel

Final wrap-up dispatch from the UN Framework on Climate Change Conference in Bali.

In this dispatch















The outcomes of the climate change conference in Bali will impact travel & tourism, its energy usage and emission reduction efforts, in the same revolutionary way that the Internet impacted the distribution of travel & tourism products and services. Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire, covered the conference with greater depth than any other travel & tourism publication. Industry conferences and forums seeking a first-person account of what went on behind the scenes as well as ways by which travel & tourism companies can put the word “balance” back into their balance sheets, can contact Imtiaz Muqbil at imtiaz@travel-impact-newswire.com.



BALI — Already under fire from environmentalists for its greenhouse gas emissions, the aviation industry is set to come under direct assault from telecommunications and I.T. companies targetting the business travel market. At the UN Framework for Climate Change Conference here last week, executives of Climate Risk Pty Ltd were publicising a report prepared for Australian telecoms company Telstra saying that multinational organisations and companies could save billions of dollars in costs and cut millions of tons in GHG emissions by replacing long-haul, short-duration business travel with videoconferencing.

Dr Karl Mallon, director of science and systems at Climate Risk, said the same factors which revolutionised mobile phones would apply in the case of videoconferencing as improving technological quality, higher bandwidth and lower costs would make it an increasingly feasible option for any company or institution in a globalised, inter-connected world.

He said that in Australia, a company setting up a videoconferencing room for A$250,000, plus the time-charges, would soon find that investment being recouped both in actual costs as well as increased productivity by staff members being able to avoid time wasted on aircraft and in airports. It would also allow executives to maintain a better work/life balance and help countries meet their national targets for cutting GHG emissions, he said.

Telstra is marketing this service along with other I.T. giants Cisco and HP which will be providing other components of the videoconferencing system. Both have offices all over the world and a highly mobile workforce. Cisco is cited in the report as saying that, since adopting the technology internally, it has set a worldwide target of reducing its own air travel by 20%. The Australian division of Cisco has already reduced air travel by 16% in less than one year.

Aviation is just one sector looked at in the report where telecommunications could provide a “solution” to both costs and GHG emissions, along with buildings, road transport and renewable energy production.

Dr Mallon said, “Transport today is about air travel, car use, freight movements, commercial fleets. At the same time, telecommunications go to every building, every office, house and they’re going potentially to every vehicle and every person. That’s an unparalleled level of access. So if you can find a way to deliver an emission abatement solution down that conduit, you know that the level of penetration is potentially exceedingly high.”

The report notes that Australia has the highest emissions per capita of any OECD country with the equivalent emissions of 26 tonnes per person carbon dioxide per year, as against China which, on a per capita basis, is responsible for about 2.5 tonnes per year.

At the same time, it says that aviation emissions are amongst the fastest growing in the Australian energy sector. “Domestic aviation in Australia alone produces 5.1 million tonnes of CO2 per year and international aviation using fuels procured in Australia give rise to approximately twice these emissions,” the report says. “Yet because aviation emissions occur at altitude the warming effect is as much as 2.7 times higher. Based on international studies about 50% of short-haul air travel may be for business.”

It adds, “Business air travel can be exceedingly time inefficient. High-value executives spend valuable hours and sometimes days in transit, a significant waste of human resources with a direct dollar value to their companies.”

Says the report, “Long-distance, short-duration travel can be effectively replaced with ‘in-person’ high-definition, high fidelity, online conferencing that is significantly more efficient in cost, time, energy and emissions. The emissions saving of (such) services in avoided domestic and international air travel is 2.4 MtCO2-e per annum through direct fuel use reduction (equivalent to 6.5MtCO2-e per annum when the increased warming effect of aviation emissions at altitude or ‘up-lift’ is included). Excluding up-lift, the avoided emissions are equivalent to 0.43% of total national emissions. The financial value of the avoided spending on air travel is $2.2 billion and the value of the carbon credits are in the range $24 million to $12120 million.”

Although aircraft are gradually becoming more fuel efficient, “this is outweighed by increased demand, and as a result, aviation greenhouse emissions are rapidly increasing,” the report says. “In the medium to longer term, the high growth rates of 4% forecast by the (Australian) aviation sector are likely to be unsustainable, given fuel supply costs and expected carbon constraints.

“Currently bunker fuels are excluded from restriction under the Kyoto Protocol. This is expected to change in the next commitment period, foreshadowed by emergent regulation in the EU. As regulatory risks increase overseas, this may impact on inbound and outbound long-haul travel as well as pricing structures in Australia.”

Entitled “Towards a High-Bandwidth, Low-Carbon Future: Telecommunications-based Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, the report was originally released in Australia in October 2007 but is now being promoted worldwide. Download free: http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/csr/docs/climate_full_report.pdf.pdf



Bali, 15 December 2007 (UN Information Service) – 187 countries agreed to launch negotiations towards a crucial and strengthened international climate change deal. The decision includes a clear agenda for the key issues to be negotiated up to 2009. These are: action for adapting to the negative consequences of climate change, such as droughts and floods; ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; ways to widely deploy climate-friendly technologies and financing both adaptation and mitigation measures. Concluding negotiations in 2009 will ensure that the new deal can enter into force by 2013, following the expiry of the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

Indonesian Environment Minister and President of the conference, Rachmat Witoelar said: “We now have a Bali roadmap, we have an agenda and we have a deadline. But we also have a huge task ahead of us and time to reach agreement is extremely short, so we need to move quickly.”

Earlier this year, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a finding that if left unchecked, the world’s average temperature could rise by as much as 6 degrees centigrade by the end of the century, causing serious harm to economies, societies and ecosystems worldwide.

“This is a real breakthrough, a real opportunity for the international community to successfully fight climate change,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “Parties have recognised the urgency of action on climate change and have now provided the political response to what scientists have been telling us is needed,” he added.

While a new global deal is envisioned for 2013, countries also agreed on a number of steps that need to be taken immediately to further implement the existing commitments of Parties to the UNFCCC. These issues are particularly important for developing countries (see fact sheet below).

The conference was attended by around 11,000 participants, among them the Secretary-General of the United Nations and six heads of state. Four major UNFCCC meetings to implement the Bali roadmap are foreseen for next year, the first to be held in March or April.

ABOUT THE UNFCCC: With 192 Parties, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has 176 member Parties to date. Under the Protocol, 36 States, consisting of highly industrialised countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

ABOUT THE CLEAN DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM: Under the CDM, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and contribute to sustainable development can earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits. Countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol buy CERs to cover a portion of their emission reduction commitments under the Treaty. There are currently more than 860 registered CDM projects in 49 countries, and about another 2000 projects in the project registration pipeline. The CDM is expected to generate more than 2.6 billion CERs by the time the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.

FACT SHEET: Individual decisions taken at Bali to further implement the existing commitments of Parties to the UNFCCC:

ADAPTATION: Governments decided that funding for adaptation projects in developing countries, financed by the CDM, would begin under the management of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This ensures that the Adaptation Fund will become operational in an early stage of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012). The fund is filled by means of a 2% levy on CDM projects.

Currently the fund is worth about 37 million euros. Considering the amount of CDM projects in the pipeline, this figure will rapidly increase to an estimated US$ 80-300 million in the period 2008-2012. The governments could not agree on additional practical adaptation measures, such as how to integrate adaptation into national policies. This issue will be on the agenda of the next meeting of the so called Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice in Bonn in June of 2008.

TECHNOLOGY: On the issue of technology, one of the key concerns of developing countries, governments agreed to kick start strategic programme to scale up the level of investment for the transfer of both the mitigation and adaptation technologies that developing countries need. The aim of that programme is to give an extra push to concrete demonstration projects, to create more attractive environments for investment, as well as to provide incentives to the private sector for technology transfer. The GEF will start setting up this programme together with international financial institutions and representatives of the private financial sector.

Parties also agreed to extend the mandate of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer for a further five years. The Expert Group has been asked to pay particular attention to the assessment of gaps and barriers to the use of, and the access to, financing resources. Furthermore, the Expert Group will start working on performance indicators that can be used to regularly monitor and evaluate progress on the development, deployment and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The work of the Expert Group provides important input into the discussions on technology transfer for the new post-2012 climate change deal.

REDD: “Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries” (REDD) was a key issue at Bali. Parties affirmed the urgent need to take further meaningful action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and adopted a work programme for further methodological work.

That programme will focus, for example, on assessments of changes in forest cover and associated green house gas emissions, methods to demonstrate reductions of emissions from deforestation and the estimation of the amount of emission reductions from deforestation. The decision also encourages Parties to support capacity building and to undertake efforts, including demonstration activities, to address the drivers of deforestation. This is important to address the needs of local and indigenous communities who depend on forests for their livelihoods.

Deforestation is regarded to be an important component of a future climate change regime beyond 2012 – in both mitigation and adaptation strategies.

IPCC: Parties agreed to recognize that the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of climate change to date. The scientific findings will continue to inform the international climate change process.

CDM: Small-scale afforestation and reforestation: Parties agreed to double the limit in size of small-scale afforestation/reforestation project activities to 16 kilotonnes of CO2 per year. This move will expand the number and geographical reach of the CDM to countries that have thus far been unable to take part in the mechanism for this category of project activities.

CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE: Parties for the first time considered the possible inclusion of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in geological formations as CDM project activities. They agreed to do further work on this and established a workplan for 2008. The plan will include receiving and considering input on technical, legal, policy and financial topics associated with CCS.

This input will be considered at the next Climate Change Conference in Poznan next year. CCS is widely regarded as an important technology to enable the continued use of fossil fuels in a clean way.

LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES: Parties agreed to extend the mandate of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Expert Group. This group provides critical advice to LDCs in assessments of adaptation needs. It is universally accepted that it is critical that LDCs are supported in assessing their adaptation needs because of their low adaptive capacity.



Dec 12 2007 — Joining global efforts to become climate neutral, the United Nations announced that it will offset the carbon emissions – estimated at around 3,370 tons of carbon dioxide – resulting from its members’ travel to and from the historic UN Climate Change Conference under way in Bali, Indonesia.

The greenhouse gas emissions arising from the travel of staff from nearly two dozen UN agencies, funds and programmes, as well as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his team, are estimated to be worth approximately $100,000 at current carbon prices. The UN bodies will invest in credits accumulating in the Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund, which aims to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries.

“Offsetting emissions by supporting the soon-to-be operation adaptation fund sends a clear signal that climate proofing vulnerable economies has – like the UN’s action climate change generally – risen to the top of the organization’s agenda in 2007,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=523&ArticleID=5724&l=en).

“The entire UN system has now pledged to work towards climate neutrality, not just in Bali but across offices and operations globally and forever,” he added. Mr. Steiner lauded the news that like UNEP, several countries, which are “prepared to go that extra mile,” have pledged to become climate neutral. “And it is not just countries but a growing and widening group of companies, cities and individual citizens who are also looking to their carbon footprints with a view to working towards climate neutrality,” he said.



Bali, 11 December 2007 – From the use of horse-drawn carriages to solve public transport shortage in Bayamo, Cuba to an emissions trading scheme in Taiyuan, China, cities around the world are providing inspiring examples in the global quest for sustainability and the fight against climate change.

The report “Liveable Cities: The Benefits of Urban Environmental Planning”, published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Cities Alliance and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, showcases 12 examples of cities around the world. It explores various options for sustainable urban development ranging from practical tools and comprehensive policies to innovative market mechanisms.

“The report contains many ‘take home’ messages – environmental management can boost city budgets, prove a strong marketing tool for attracting investors and contribute to public health and poverty eradication,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at the launch of the report today at the Local Government Climate Sessions at the UN Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia.

“A modern city can only be truly successful if it can convincingly demonstrate its green credentials by recognizing its natural assets, creating efficient water, energy and transport infrastructure, and protecting its citizens in the face of present and future impacts of climate change,” he added.

For example, the City of Bayamo in Cuba, faced with a situation where motorized transport was available to just 15% of local commuters, has in 2004 reverted to horse-drawn carriages. Horse-drawn services now take care of around 40% of local transport needs, demonstrating that motorized transport is not the only solution to a public transport problem.

The Municipality of Bohol in the Philippines has been using the ecoBUDGET© tool, an environmental management system that incorporates natural resources and environmental goods into budgeting cycles, to achieve the twin objectives of environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation.

Taiyuan, an industrial city in the coal belt of northern China, is addressing urban air quality problem by introducing a city-wide emissions trading scheme to help reduce sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentration in the atmosphere.

The report makes a strong case for the environment as the key asset for cities. For example, a 2006 survey of professionals working in Hong Kong revealed that almost four out of five professionals were thinking of leaving or new others who have already left because of the quality of the natural environment, while 94% ranked it as the top factor in selecting a place to live.

“Cities today have to be competitive. They operate in a global marketplace, competing with other cities and urban settlements around the world for investment. A city cannot compete, however, if it cannot offer investors security, infrastructure and efficiency. Hardly any city can offer these elements without incorporating environmental issues into its planning and management strategies,” said Cities Alliance Manager William Cobbett.

“Today’s cities only cover one-third of the urban area we will have in 2030. That gives city mayors and planners the opportunity to influence what kind of cityscape we will have in the future. At present, city sprawl is dominating the scene with tripling of space requirement for every doubling of city population. With bold leadership we can prevent slum proliferation and urban sprawl through building denser and more energy and transport efficient cities that will curb the negative trend of undermining the natural resource base the cities are built upon,” he continued.

With an estimated 80% of greenhouse gas emissions originating in cities and three-quarters of urban settlements located in coastal areas at risk from sea-level rise, local governments are also increasingly involved in global efforts to address climate change.

“Through initiatives like ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection campaign and C40, cities around the world are taking the lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions – some with targets above and beyond national commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Furthermore, climate change adaptation is top of the agenda for many developing country cities featured in this report, including the ancient city of Alexandria in the Nile Delta, South Africa’s coastal jewel of Cape Town, and Asia’s booming megalopolis of Bangkok,” said ICLEI Secretary-General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann.

Over 65 cities and local governments are participating in the two-day Local Government Climate Sessions in Bali. These sessions, organized by ICLEI in collaboration with UNEP at UN Climate Conferences since 2005, give local authorities an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the global climate change negotiations, as well as showcase their climate actions.

“As champions of the climate cause and centers for innovation, efficiency, investment, and productivity, cities are posed to play an increasingly prominent role in the international climate change debate. It is in cities that climate and sustainability solutions for more than half of the humanity will be found,” concluded UNEP Executive Director Steiner.

The report Liveable Cities: The Benefits of Urban Environmental Planning can be found on UNEP’s website at www.unep.org/urban_environment/ or on Cities Alliance website at http://www.citiesalliance.org/. The report was prepared by UNEP’s Urban Environment Unit, Cities Alliance Secretariat and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.



Following the approval of the Bali roadmap, European Parliament Vice President Alejo Vidal Quadras and Climate Change Committee Chairman Guido Sacconi made the following joint statement on behalf of the EP’s delegation to the Bali conference:

As you know, the European Parliament will be legislating, in the years to come, on decisions that emerge from the Bali roadmap process. With that in mind, let us remind you that in its November resolution the EP had called for the Bali mandate to include, among other things, the following element: – specific, binding targets for all industrialized countries: i.e., a commitment to reduce emissions “by at least 30% by 2020 and 60% – 80% by 2050 compared to 1990.”

This resolution and these targets have been our key benchmarks for success. That said, from the European Parliament’s perspective, the text we now have before us – specifically, the lack of a direct reference to emission cuts by the Annex I (industrial) countries – falls somewhat short of the mark.

Most importantly, however, the EP applauds the Portuguese Presidency and the Commission for having secured the best politically viable outcome here at Bali. It welcomes, in that vein, the Bali roadmap as the opening of a process, which will lead us to, and beyond, 2012, with a global agreement to be reached by 2009. Moreover, it applauds the Kyoto signatories’ decision to recognize the target of a 25-40% cut in GHG emissions by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels), as noted in the Fourth Assessment report of the IPCC.

Of course, important concessions have been made in comparison to the Parliament’s resolution. But none of them undermine the principles underlying the EP position. It is important to say, in this context, that the range of the required emissions reductions has been clearly placed within the framework of the IPCC report. We also consider important the fact that all the Parties will be involved in the process, thus overcoming the rigid distinction between Annex I and non-Annex I Parties.

We would also like to stress that the decision clearly identifies the issues to be tackled during the process starting in Bali: mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and the corresponding necessary financial assistance. This is very important from our point of view, as is the decision to start pilot projects in the area of deforestation.

In light of these decisions, Europe is now called upon to show even more responsibility, to confirm its leadership role, and to underline its commitment to tackling climate change. The Parliament, for its part, will help lead the way by legislating on the instruments necessary to achieve the targets established by the Spring Council in March 2007: to achieve, at the very least, a 20% reduction of GHG emissions by 2020.


We are also pleased that the attitude of the US administration has evolved over the last few years – from a reluctance to enter into negotiations to, as is now the case, specific commitments. The agreement reached at Bali is the beginning of a process. Bearing that in mind, we hope – no, we expect – that in the very near future the US will join Europe in adopting the sort of ambitious emission targets, for which we have fought throughout.

In his speech on Thursday, Al Gore remarked that – at this stage – we need ‘to pass the puck’ to the United States: not to where it is, however, but to where it is going. Here, at Bali, we have made the pass. The eyes of the entire world are upon you, but we need you to skate faster. The ice is melting under our feet.”



Bali, 13 December 2007 – To promote efforts that will allow all forms of life on Earth to cope with climate change, the Convention’s Biodiversity Adaptation website was officially launched today by the Executive Secretary, Ahmed Djoghlaf and the Director General, of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Jochen Flasbarth during a press briefing on the margins of 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC in Bali.

Serving as a repository of knowledge, the adaptation website is a contribution from the Convention on Biological Diversity – one of the three Rio Conventions, adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro – to the implementation of an initiative launched at the last UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Nairobi to address the issues of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.

Recent assessments indicate that climate change is likely to become the dominant cause of biodiversity loss by the end of the century. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, climate change is already having an impact on biodiversity either through shifting habitat, changing life cycles, the development of new physical traits or species die-offs and extinctions.

Adaptation to climate change, a complex issue, often requires significant planning and cross-sector support and adaptation activities help species and ecosystems cope with changing climatic conditions.

The website contributes specifically to the adaptation planning and practices area of work under the Nairobi work programme and forms an important part of enhanced efforts to maximize cooperation between the CBD and the UNFCCC. The website brings together tools and information developed by governments, a variety of organizations and agencies on the integration of biodiversity considerations within adaptation planning.

In launching the site, Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention said “Thanks to the financial contribution from the government of Canada, the website, available in French and Spanish is a major tool to assist in the implementation of the Curitiba decision in integrating adaptation into the CBD work programmes,” and that, “the website therefore has the potential of being a major tool to enhance synergies between biodiversity and climate change.” Other joint efforts between the three Rio Conventions on climate change include: The Rio Conventions Calendar and the Information Notes on Adaptation and Forests from the Joint Liaison Group of the Rio Conventions.

Jochen Flasbarth stated, “The website is yet another step to enhance cooperation between UNFCCC and CBD – climate change and biodiversity, of which we are proud to be a part of.”

BACKGROUND: Germany, the host of the ninth CBD Conference of the Parties has made climate change a top agenda item. As we cannot ignore the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and vice versa, Germany showed it’s commitment to safe safeguarding the planet by ensuring that biodiversity was on the agenda of the G8+5 Summit held in Heiligendamm, Germany in June of this year.

In the Summit Declaration, the G-8 countries committed to increase efforts for the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity to achieve the agreed goal of significantly reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010.

BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION: According to the IPCC, eleven of the last twelve years ranked among the warmest years since recording began in 1850. Furthermore, an additional increase of approximately 0.4°C is expected over the next two decades.

Climate change is already adapting having a major impact on biodiversity. It is causing many species to shift toward the poles, changing the timing of life events such as hibernation, migration or reproduction and, in some cases, developing new physical traits.

In some cases, the changes forced by climate change threaten the continued health of species or ecosystems. Observed changes include: an increase in the number of female sea turtle hatchlings as a result of higher nest temperatures, reductions in the range and distribution of the King Protea in South Africa, and in North America, rapid population growth of the Pine Beetle at the expense of pine forests — with tree losses expected to reach 50% by 2008.

BIODIVERSITY, ADAPTATION AND FOREST – THE CRITICAL LINK: With an estimated 20% of anthropogenic emissions resulting from deforestation a good deal of attention has been paid to reducing deforestation rates as an effective climate change mitigation strategy.

At the same time, climate change is threatening the continued existence of many of the world’s forests. In the Amazon Basin, for example, forest fires frequency is expected to increase by 60% if the global average temperature increases by 3 degrees. In Western Europe, temperature changes have favored the Leaf Miner moth, which is invading chestnut forests causing significant die offs.

It is generally accepted that a more diverse forest is better able to resist and recover from disasters. Considering biodiversity when developing forest adaptation programmes, is therefore critical to enhancing resilience, managing risk and ensuring that forests are able to provide mitigation benefits over the medium and long term.

INTEGRATING BIODIVERSITY IN ADAPTATION: There are three main avenues of action to integrate biodiversity into adaptation.

1. Preventative Action: including monitoring ecosystem health and the status of threatened or vulnerable species and alleviating other threats to biodiversity.

2. Corrective Action: including off-site conservation, the establishment or revision of protected areas and the identification of resilient components of biodiversity.

3. Technology transfer: including the sharing of lessons learned and the integration of traditional and indigenous knowledge in adaptation programmes.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international framework for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of its benefits. With 190 Parties, the CBD has near-universal participation among countries who have committed to preserving life on Earth. The CBD seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs and Women.



MANILA, 14 December 2007 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is exploring ways to develop a future carbon fund beyond the 2012 period of the Kyoto Protocol, as part of its commitment to help its member countries and development partners address climate change issues.

Attending the 13th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Conference being held in Bali, Indonesia, ADB Vice-President of Knowledge Management Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said ADB is committed to help meet the challenges presented by climate change and is prepared to do more, including developing the future carbon fund.

“The fund will be the first of its kind. It will provide upfront financing for clean energy projects leveraging carbon credits to be generated after 2012, and will therefore help bridge the gap until an international successor agreement is in place,” Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said.

“Climate change is a global challenge, and the case for action is particularly strong in Asia and the Pacific region,” she said. “It is home to more than half of the world’s poor, who are predicted to suffer the greatest from expected adverse impacts. The region will increasingly be a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, a consequence of rapid and carbon-intensive economic growth.”

Developing countries in the region are more concerned about the threats of climate change, and are responding with strategies and programs for both climate change mitigation and adaptation. “The requirements are clear: deployment of low-carbon and efficient technologies, pricing of carbon emissions, appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks, sustainable land use, climate-resilient infrastructure, disaster preparedness, and a range of additional adaptation measures,” she said, adding that large financial resources and a collective response will be needed from governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. “We all have to do our respective share. ADB is rising to the challenge.”

The Vice-President noted ADB’s Clean Energy and Environment Program was launched to help fill gaps in financing and knowledge and foster partnership. Additionally, ADB expects to expand its energy efficiency and renewable energy portfolio to $1 billion a year. Currently, ADB manages the Asia Pacific Carbon Fund (APCF), which has raised $151.8 million to help develop clean energy projects in the Asia Pacific region. The APCF, which is part of ADB’s Carbon Market Initiative, targets energy efficiency, clean energy and methane capture and utilization projects with strong development and environmental benefits.



ROME – The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, called on governments and humanitarian organisations to take urgent steps to help people adapt to climate change. “We are now facing a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges around the world, where climate change is combining with a boom in commodity prices, slipping levels of food aid, and the scourge of HIV/AIDS to increase the vulnerability of more and more people,” Sheeran said, adding that for WFP, adaptation to climate change was not a choice but a reality.

Sheeran noted that the poorest and most vulnerable communities, living in countries heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture were inevitably the people most susceptible to the effects of climate change. According to estimates by WFP’s sister agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, 95% of agriculture in Africa is rain-dependent. And the IPCC estimates that yields from rain dependent agriculture could be down by 50% by 2020.

WFP is already working with communities in many parts of the world to ensure that fragile food security ecosystems are kept intact and sustainable. To this end, WFP has planted more than five billion trees over the past decades, helping to ward off desertification and to re-establish soil systems after disasters.

WFP has also worked with communities on building tens of thousands of canals and dykes, restored river beds and taken other practical steps to protect food systems, as well as working with governments to establish drought and flood early warning systems. Just in the last few weeks, warnings helped thousands escape the worst effects of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.

A key aim of WFP operations is to provide community-based food assistance that helps people adapt to and mitigate climate change. As the agency feeds people, it also looks for ways that will help them shift from subsistence farming to more sustainable livelihoods. At the same time, WFP works constantly to improve productivity and prevent the degradation of natural resources.



Bali, 13 December 2007 – Responding to calls for more clean development mechanism (CDM) projects in Africa and growing carbon market interest in the continent, partner UN agencies and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) announced on Thursday they will organize a carbon forum in Senegal under the umbrella of the Nairobi Framework.

In November 2006, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the Nairobi Framework, aimed at spreading the benefits of CDM. Since then, several more projects have been launched in Africa, but Africa still accounts for just 2.6% of the more than 860 CDM projects now registered in 49 developing countries.

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN’s top climate change official, said: “That Africa can attract an international carbon market event, such as the Carbon Forum, is a strong indication that businesses see potential there. For the Nairobi Framework to be effective and truly help Africa reap more benefits from CDM, effective collaboration between the Framework partners and the private sector is essential. The Africa Carbon Forum is such a collaboration.”

IETA president Andrei Marcu said his association of more than 170 international companies “is excited about the prospect of holding this first ever Africa Carbon Forum in Senegal, and in particular with the partners of the Nairobi Framework. The IETA trade mission earlier this year showed the interest and willingness of industry to implement CDM in Africa effectively.” The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UNFCCC secretariat have joined to implement the Nairobi Framework.

Under the CDM, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development can earn saleable certified emission reduction credits (CERs). Countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol can use the CERs to meet a part of their obligations under the Protocol.

“In Africa, efforts to capture CDM benefits are accelerating, supported by a number of individual and joint UN efforts. Overcoming the complexity of the CDM and general investment barriers cannot be done overnight; however, our sustained efforts are producing results. The Africa Carbon Forum will provide a unique opportunity for countries in the region to present their projects,” said John Christensen, Head of UNEP RISO Centre, based in Denmark.

Konrad von Ritter, Sector Manager for Sustainable Development at the World Bank Institute, pointed to real accomplishments in the past year: “There has been a notable increase in capacity development and a growing pipeline of CDM projects, including 14 with already signed Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreements with World Bank Carbon Funds. While this is positive, we all know that more needs to be done, and therefore the critical importance of the Nairobi Framework to scale up capacity development,” Mr. von Ritter said.

For that purpose, the Nairobi Framework partners have presented a comprehensive Joint Program Proposal for which they are seeking donor support. The Africa Carbon Forum will be an important element of this scaling-up effort.



Closing Statement by the World Wide Fund for Nature on Saturday 15 December

Bali, Indonesia – Political leaders meeting in Bali for the UN’s Climate Change Summit hammered out a deal which launches formal negotiations with a 2009 end date, but the deal falls short in its ambition, says WWF.

Governments gathered in Bali for the most important climate talks in a decade to put on track a future treaty that would cut developed countries’ emissions 25 to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. The findings of the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year, shows clearly that to keep the world below 2°C warming compared with pre-industrial times, global emissions need to peak and decline before 2020.

During an emotional showdown in the final hours of the 15-day meeting, the US delegation, under intense public pressure, decided to join in the global talks. The price of US participation, however, was a deal weak on substance. “The US administration was asked to get out of the way, and in the end they bowed to pressure,” says Hans Verolme, Director of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme. “The Bali Roadmap leaves a seat at the table for the next US president to make a real contribution to the global fight to stop dangerous climate change.”

Over the next two years, industrialized countries need to agree to deep emission cuts, and to leverage new funding and support for technology transfer, finance and adaptation. The EU and leading developing countries such as Brazil, China and South Africa will have to propose a workplan for this two-year negotiation marathon. These talks will have to make up for Bali’s shortcomings.

On some of the practical building blocks of a future climate change regime, good progress has been made: technology transfer has been given appropriate attention, including technologies for mitigation and adaptation as well as financial incentives. The Adaptation Fund has finally been implemented but additional financing and technical support for the poorest countries will have to be created.

The commitment to address tropical deforestation, also known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), is another building block in the Bali Roadmap. Governments have recognized that 20% of emissions are from forest loss, and they now have two years to nail down the rules on how REDD will be implemented.

“A strong, well-funded REDD mechanism will enable tropical forest countries to develop their economies without destroying their forests. In doing so, they will make a real contribution to mitigating global climate change,” says Rodney Taylor, Director of WWF’s Global Forest Programme. “The mechanism must include safeguards to ensure that REDD projects benefit forest-dependent people and conserve biodiversity.”



The following statement was issued after the Bali conference by the civil society groups: Jubilee South Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development * GARPU Indonesia * KRUHA Indonesia * Freedom from Debt Coalition Philippines * Indian Social Action Forum * Rural Reconstruction Nepal * Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh * Action Aid Bangladesh * Action Aid Nepal * Community Development Library Bangladesh * Women’s Agenda for Change Cambodia * Nadi Ghati Morcha India * Independent Fishworkers Forum Kerala * BUP Bangladesh * GCAP Philippines * Sfchetan Bangladesh * LDC Watch * South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication * Save Our Seahorses (SOS) Action Committee Malaysia * Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement * Democratic Action Party, Malaysia * CENSAT Agua Viva / Friends of the Earth Columbia.

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We, debt and development activists from different social movements and non-government organizations from Asia-Pacific join the growing calls of the international community to decisively address the paramount issue of climate change.

The climate crisis is the most blatantly repulsive result of a flawed development paradigm imposed on us by global institutions, northern governments and transnational corporations with the acquiescence and collaboration of our local elites and neo-liberal economic apologists

We assert that debt has been used only as an instrument to dominate government and peoples of the South but also to finance projects and promote policies that have greatly contributed to the exacerbation and escalation of climate change.

We call on international financial institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other regional development banks, northern governments and their export credit agencies – TO STOP ALL FUNDING AND ALL PROGRAMS THAT HARM PEOPLES and the ENVIRONMENT.

We reject all IFI loans and “aid” supposedly for adaptation measures and renewable energies as hypocritical measures – when these same institutions continue to promote a development framework and pour several times more of their funds towards projects and policies that aggravate climate change.

We oppose carbon trading as a false solution that allows transnational corporations and rich countries to buy the right to pollute at the expense of impoverished peoples and countries. Worse, carbon trading has spawned new and despicable instruments to extract profits from pollution.

We demand the following:

<> Redirection of existing dirty energy financing to adaptation and mitigation measures and energy efficiency projects as a form of reparation to the decades of ecological debt owed by the north to the south;

<> Financing of renewable energies as one form of restitution for countless years of debt domination that hampered Southern countries capacity to develop alternative technologies and development strategies;

<> The sovereign and democratic management and control of funds for mitigation, adaptation and the development of clean, safe and renewable energy; And for the World Bank, ADB and other similar institutions with a horrible track record to be kept from any form of control and inolvement over the disposal and use of these funds;

<> Stop to all false solutions such as agro-fuels and carbon trading;

<> Rejection of all loans, aid and subsidies for fossil fuel extraction, dirty technologies and exploitation of natural resources that violate our national patrimony and the rights of indigenous peoples;

<> An end to imposition of all conditionalities (e.g. privatization, liberalization and deregulation) by international financial institutions and northern governments through loans, aid and debt cancellation;

<> Total and unconditional cancellation and repudiation of debts that have contribute to climate change, and all other illegitimate debts and “obligations” claimed from us by the north and lending institutions.

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15 December — Bianca Jagger, Chair of the World Future Council, said today in Bali: “Leaders of the industrialised nations present in Bali have failed in their moral duty. They have used the US’s decision not to sign any specific carbon emissions reduction treaty as an excuse for their own inaction.” The World Future Council supports Al Gore’s suggestion that world leaders should sideline the US and forge ahead to Copenhagen in 2009, with or without US commitment.

Bianca Jagger said, “This clearly demonstrates what the World Future Council is advocating. If we are serious about averting climate change catastrophe, we must think in revolutionary terms, and transform our way of life, restoring rather than destroying life on earth. We must embark upon a global renewable energy revolution: if we are to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2020, we must replace our carbon-driven economy with a renewable, carbon-absorbing energy economy.

We have experienced an industrial revolution. We have experienced a technological revolution. It will take a global renewable energy revolution, similar in scale and consequence to those two, to avert catastrophe. As Hermann Scheer, member of the German Bundestag and the World Future Council, said, “This cannot be achieved with the method of ‘talk globally – postpone nationally,’ but only with the method of ‘think globally – act locally, regionally and nationally.’”

Herbie Girardet, co-founder of the World Future Council, said, “To deal with the looming climate tragedy requires us to redirect global money flows on a massive scale: towards mainstreaming renewable energy and towards repairing the capacity of the biosphere to absorb greenhouse gases. We owe it to coming generations to leave them a thriving planet which they, in turn, can pass on intact to their own descendents.”

So far, our politicians have failed the test of leadership. So if this revolution is not to come from them, it must come from us. We know what is at stake, and we know what we can do about it. Now is the time for each of us to act.

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