Robert Campbell reports on Mexico’s intentions to put forward an offer to cut the growth of its own greenhouse gas emissions at the Copenhagen climate change negotiations:
"If Mexico can bring a plan for cuts through 2020 to the table with a detailed description of what will be mitigated it would set a positive precedent for the other big emerging economies," said Adrian Fernandez, the president of the National Ecology Institute, in an interview on Monday. The plan will likely offer significant cuts in expected emissions growth from Mexico, which currently accounts for 1.5 percent of global emissions, by proposing projects like improving efficiency of power plants or reducing deforestation. Mexico will be able to implement some of the initiatives itself and for others it will look for outside financing. Global climate talks have moved slowly as developing nations, such as China, have demanded that rich countries shoulder the bulk of the cuts experts say are needed to slow the warming of the earth. Mexico shares the view that wealthy countries, led by the United States, will have to provide a substantial amount of money to help poorer governments Mexico has also been supportive of the United States, which argues it cannot make deep cuts by 2020 but is prepared to commit to slashing emissions by 2050. Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced in June that Mexico would voluntarily cut 50 million tons of verifiable annual emissions by the end of his term in 2012. Despite Calderon's personal commitment to the issue, Mexico allowed carbon dioxide emissions from the oil industry to soar in 2008 as massive amounts of natural gas were flared off in a bid to keep aging oil fields in production. Mexico will need to make extensive legal changes to meet the emissions targets laid out in the plan, especially in the electricity and oil sectors which are largely closed to private investment. "There's not enough public money in the whole world to meet this challenge, the private sector is needed and for the private sector you need clear rules," Fernandez said. He said complicated legislation governing the electricity sector could hinder adoption of plans for renewable power. Finding the political will to tackle these sectors could be difficult. The Institutional Revolution Party which won last month's mid-term congressional elections blocked Calderon's attempt to open up oil refining to private investment last year and has vowed to protect the state run utilities. Businesses are taking note of a plan to launch so-called cap and trade measures in the United States to implement emissions cuts and Mexico could eventually join the scheme, Fernandez said.
Mark Stevenson, writing for The Associated Press, reports on the Mexican President's proposal for a $10 billion ‘green fund’ as a more efficient way to fight climate change than carbon credits:
Felipe Calderon spoke at the opening of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together representatives of 19 countries and the EU that together account for 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. "The current carbon credits would not have to disappear, but they are not an efficient mechanism," Calderon said, noting that the credits market "has to match an industry that wants to pollute with another" that has projects to compensate or reduce gas emissions. The two-day meeting is the third in a series of talks called for by President Barack Obama. The goal is to help broker a replacement for the expiring Kyoto Protocol, ahead of a UN conference in Copenhagen this December on a new international treaty for dealing with global warming. Calderon said the green fund could be administered by the World Bank or some other multilateral agency. It would be funded by contributions from all nations — and open to finance projects from all nations — as opposed to largely private-sector carbon credit market. "It will have a framework of greater multilateral participation, which will result in a more equitable and efficient distribution of funds," Calderon said. He said the idea "does not seek, as has been traditional, that the funds to fight climate change ... come from the same old donors as an act of charity or a handout given to developing countries." "It is time to move on from mutual reproaches, to a shared scheme of responsibility," Calderon said.
Published in Climate Finance
The UK’s Chatham House May edition of the World Today includes a piece on Brazil, climate change and energy. Written by the Brazilian Embassy’s Paulo Wrobel in London, the article asserts that Brazil is now at the centre of two of the world’s most pressing issues: climate change and energy independence...

Brazil has evolved its position on climate change negotiations, and started to engage more positively at an international level. Agreeing that deforestation is a major carbon emitter has turned Brazil into one of the main protagonists for an agreement in Copenhagen.

As the world’s most competitive and successful producer of biofuels. Brazil crusades in favour of biofuels as a crucial complement to fossil fuels.

Ironically, at the same time the country is arguing for biofuels as a real alternative to fossil fuels, it is debating the best way to explore huge oil and gas fields recently discovered offshore. The new fields could turn it into a most influential player in the geopolitics of oil. Petrobras – the Brazilian national oil company – and its partners, are well prepared to invest what it takes to exploit them.

The discoveries could propel Brazil into the league of large oil producers and exporters. The prospect of joining the oil cartel OPEC has even been mentioned. Inside and outside government, a vigorous debate is taking place about the need for a new legal framework, and exploration agreements with foreign oil companies.

The announcement of new oil and gas deposits was seen by many analysts as a potential landmark. New discoveries worldwide are not keeping pace with rising demand.

Despite the present gloomy picture for the global economy, world production of oil will have to rise from the current level of 86 million barrels a day to 106 million barrels by 2030. The medium-term trend for prices seems certain to be up.

By playing a more active role in the international negotiations for a post-Kyoto agreement, as well as combining its successful renewables energy sector with a new vigour in the production of oil and gas, Brazil seems well positioned to face the challenges of climate change and energy independence.

No doubt Brazil is a major player in the climate change debate. However, the oil and gas discoveries risk challenging this image. Curiously, an article by the Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, posted last month does not mention the discoveries at all. In fact, one of the only references to hydrocarbons states that our addiction to fossil fuel needs to be drastically curbed.

The two pieces seem at odds with each other. Potential investors in the new oil and gas fields may feel more relaxed about investing given the clean and green advances elsewhere in the country. But the Copenhagen climate change talks will press developing countries such as Brazil to adopt legally binding carbon reduction targets which may prove incompatible with drilling up vast quantities of new oil.
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