CRIB NOTES 2-5 NOVEMBER: GCF gathers in Zambia, UN debates HFCs in Dubai, Saudis host carbon capture forum
By Ed King
The UN’s flagship Green Climate Fund will announce its first projects at a board meeting in Zambia, which runs from 2-5 November.
Eight funding proposals worth $168m were recently published on its website, three targeted in Africa, two in Latin American and the others in Fiji, the Maldives and Bangladesh.
These include $25m of investment in an East African solar fund, $40m for a Bangladesh climate resilience programme and $22m for energy efficiency green bonds in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Colombia.
The GCF is deemed critical to the long term success of a global climate deal, set to be finalised in Paris this December.
Supporters say it should drive a ‘paradigm shift’ in the investment community, leveraging funds to clean energy and climate resilience projects in developing counties.
The board will also announce a new round of partners, who it hopes will boost its limited funding and help find potential investments.
Nearly 100 NGOs have published an open letter expressing dismay at GCF proposals to partner with HSBC and Credit Agricole, who they accuse of money laundering, financial mismanagement and close links with the coal industry.
“The accreditation of HSBC and Crédit Agricole would run counter to the GCF’s intent to be a game-changing institution with country ownership at its core,” says the letter, backed by CAFOD, 350 and Action Aid.
“In turn, the GCF Board’s rejection of their applications would be a strong mark in favor of maintaining the integrity of the Fund.”
We’ve had no comment so far from the GCF.
In Dubai, parties to the Montreal Protocol are debating how they can slash the use of potent warming gases known as HFCs.
Primarily used in fridges and air conditioning, HFCs are one of the fastest growing groups of greenhouse gases. The most common HFC is 1,430 times more powerful than CO2.
— Avipsa Mahapatra (@avipsa_m) November 1, 2015
Observers at the negotiations, which continue till 5 November, say there is little chance of a deal this year, but the discussions could lay the groundwork for one in 2016.
India, Brazil, China and South Africa have reiterated their “unequivocal commitment towards a successful outcome at the Paris Climate Change Conference through a transparent, inclusive and Party-driven process.”
A statement released after top negotiators from the countries met in Beijing is light on detail, expressing support for developed countries leading on carbon cuts, finance and that the concept of differentiation is embedded in a Paris pact.
“The Ministers emphasized that existing institutions and mechanisms created under the Convention on adaptation, loss and damage, finance and technology should be anchored and further strengthened in the Paris agreement,” it reads.
That statement comes a week ahead of key talks in Paris, where over 50 ministers will meet for two days of talks on a global deal.
There won’t be official negotiations as such – and the recent text agreed in Bonn will remain as it stands – but they will offer some useful guidance to the UN and French hosts on possible landing zones for a global deal.
Maldives environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim will be taking part in the discussion – he emailed Climate Home with some thoughts:
“As often seems to be the case in this process, money is behind much of the discord. Developing countries argue that the developed parties most responsible for the vast majority of historic emissions have an obligation to help them avoid carbon-intensive development pathways and manage climate impacts that can no longer be avoided.
“On the other hand, developed countries want to limit the amount of resources they commit to and, understandably, need to know that the financing they provide is put to good use.”
Good start, more needed
Ministers may also discuss how the world can meet an international target to limit warming to below 2C, beyond which there could be risky changes to the climate.
A UN report released on Friday said new climate plans (known as INDCs) from nearly 150 counties will make a “dent” in global warming but on their own are not enough.
“The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7C by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated 4C, 5C, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs,” said the UN’s top climate official, Christiana Figueres.
“Backed by financial support for developing countries, a clear long term destination of climate neutrality in the second half of the century and a ratcheting up of ambition in a structured, transparent and timely way, the INDCs provide an inspiring part of what will become the Paris package.”
Oil slump continues
Third quarter profits of Exxon and Chevron slumped, the companies reported on Friday, blaming low oil prices. Chevron said it will slash 11% of its workforce as a result.
Saudi CCS forum
Riyadh hosts a ministerial meeting on carbon capture technology from 1-4 November, involving delegates from the US, China, Brazil, EU, Japan and Australia among others.
The meeting will be chaired by Saudi Arabia’s influential oil minister Al Naimi and Ernest Moniz, US energy secretary.
In a statement sent to media, lead climate negotiator Khalid Abuleif said CO2 management was at the “cornerstone” of the Kingdom’s energy strategy.
“At a holistic level, the Kingdom has been an active and responsible member of the international community in all climate change initiatives over the past decades,” he said.
The release stressed Saudi Arabia was committed to slashing global emissions, but added: “it also recognizes that wisdom calls for a similar role for adaptation in order to ensure that developing nations are ready to face adverse effects and impacts if the international community cannot achieve its aim.”
According to the BBC: “The UK’s November temperature record has been broken, with 22.4C (72.3F) being reached in mid Wales.”
Scientists say global temperatures will likely break new records in 2015, with an El Nino event ensuring surface temperatures beat last year’s historic high.
UK fossil support
More controversy over the UK’s climate strategy, with news emerging that from 2009-2013 the government spent twice as much funding overseas fossil fuel projects as it did renewables.
Research from CAFOD and the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) reveals that of the £5.23 billion provided for energy investments in developing countries, around £2.25 billion was directed towards fossil fuels. £1.2bn was directed to renewables.
Leading investments include over £650 million to Brazil’s state-owned oil giant Petrobras, a business mired in a corruption scandal, and £220m to South Africa’s Medupi coal power plant, on course to be the world’s largest dry-cooled generation unit.
“Continuing to back the development of fossil fuels just doesn’t make sense in light of the UK’s goals on climate change and poverty,” said Neil Thorns, head of advocacy at CAFOD.