Sunday 13 December 2009

COP15, #3. Another nine snippets

> Did you see yesterday's spat between the US and China: US negotiator Todd Stern "says no way US public money is going to go to China"- an expected domestic political position, eyes averted from the fact that once the US has a cap and trade scheme millions of private money will be buying carbon credits from Chinese clean energy projects. China then says it's "shocked" at the comments, and that developed countries had a legal and moral obligation to deliver, based on their history of high emissions. Worth remembering that two days ago China was wrongfooted by Tuvalu, leading to headlines about a split in the G77. Nothing like pushing attention back on a common enemy to try and get the troops back in line.

> HSBC's Nick Robins at last night's Carbon Disclosure Project panel: "The market for low carbon services is now around $530 billion a year. By 2020 it will be $2 trillion a year. This is a big, exciting opportunity for people to get into, now."

> Wandered around the main, vast, negotiating hall yesterday with two friends, taking pictures of the hallowed ground where an agreement to avert disaster (we hope) is being worked out. Countries sit in strictly alphabetical order; the US is way up the back, very noticeable because its sign is in white, while every other one you can see is in black. They're the odd ones out because they haven't ratified the Kyoto Protocol; nice.

> Even the tiny hilltop cafe town of San Marino has a seat, albeit observer. Look it up on Wikipedia. But of course Taiwan was nowhere to be seen.

> Bonds gossip:
- Last week's green bond issue by SEB for the World Bank sold very quickly; it was their third. Expect a fourth tranche in quick time.
- RE manager for a major London-based bank told me, in the corridor, that they were working on a green bonds issue for renewable energy, which would make it asset-backed. Couldn't provide issuer details - yet. Perhaps we're seeing the beginning of a green debt capital market?

> Stockholm Environment Institute briefing: a 2°C target only gives us a 50/50 chance of avoiding runaway climate change; target needs to be 1.5°C and no more than 350ppm. Tough stuff in the context of what the negotiators are looking at, and supports Tuvalu's proposal a few days ago. What was especially interesting about this was that the session was presented by Sweden in its capacity as EU president. Hopefully this is getting through to the EU negotiating team. See research article at

> Interesting aside about their (SEI's) improved understanding of biodiversity inter-connectedeness: if Amazon basin forests dry out to savannah, as many models forecast for 3°+, it triggers an extra 3° warming in northern China to Mongolia, and a 2° cooling in North Africa. Buy real estate in Algiers as a hedge?

> At an meeting today of Public Finance agencies around the world working on climate, the UK Carbon Trust presented a great story about technology transfer. I'd heard the bones before, but it was pointed when explained in the milieu of slow-moving public finance agencies. Last year they were approached by China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation, who wanted to set up a joint venture. They've set up a £10 million pound venture capital fund. One of the first investments was in a small UK company that had developed a low-energy, money and emission saving air-conditioning solution for mobile phone towers. These typically rely on high-emission diesel-fuel generated air-conditioners. The company was selling into the UK market, which has 20,000 mobile phone towers. China is building 600,000 in the coming year; they now have contracts to roll out a good chunk of those. That's technology transfer!

> At that same session the Mexico Energy Ministry person told of research they'd done into how to encourage bicycle use. It showed that the main driver for Mexican men using bicycles was the number of women using bicycles. They're still trying to figure out what to do with the results.

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