The Week Ahead: Climate Talks Wrap Up in Bangkok, Trade Officials Meet in Russia


A round of U.N. climate change talks in preparation for a year-end summit in the Middle East will wrap up Sept. 5 in Bangkok. 

As detailed in an Aug. 28 World Climate Change Reportarticle, the talks, which began Aug. 30, are informal negotiations that will set the stage for the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP-18) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Nov. 26-Dec. 7 in Doha, Qatar.

Topping the agenda are finance options for the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations adapt to climate change and post-2012 emission reduction targets for countries participating in the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period. The first commitment period ends Dec. 31 of this year.

Trade Meeting to Discuss Environmental Goods 

Determination of which environmental products will receive beneficial tariff treatment tops the U.S. agenda for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' meeting Sept. 2-9 in Vladivostok, Russia.

An articlepublished Aug. 30 covers remarks by a U.S. Trade Representative official who said a "credible list" would include core products such as renewable and clean technologies, water and wastewater technologies and equipment, air pollution control equipment, and monitioring and assessment equipment.

APEC leaders agreed last year to a maximum 5 percent tariff on certain environmental goods by 2015.

Regional Allowance Auction Scheduled

On Sept. 5, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will hold its 17th allowance auction as part of its greenhouse gas emission cap-and-trade program.

The 16th auction held June 8 resulted in the purchase by 24 bidders of 20.9 million carbon dioxide allowances at a price of $1.93 per allowance.

RGGI is undergoing a comprehensive review to determine, among other things, whether its emission cap should be lowered. Current emissions are already well below the 188 million ton cap set by the program. RGGI originally planned to keep the emission cap at 188 million tons through 2014 and then lower it by 2.5 percent per year over the next four years. Changes are not expected to be announced until the end of 2012.

RGGI states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

NASA to Host Forum

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will host a federal interagency forum on “Climate Change Impacts & Adaptations” Sept. 6 in Washington, D.C.

The agenda includes discussion of adaptation to climate change in national parks in coastal areas. As covered in an Aug. 29 article, environmental groups have reported that low-lying Atlantic Ocean shorelines that are home to several national parks are particularly susceptible to sea-level rise, flooding, and erosion caused by climate change.

The interagency meeting will also include discussion of climate change impacts in urban areas.

DOE Advisory Committee to Meet

A federal advisory committee on hydrogen and fuel cells will hold a webinar Sept. 5 to discuss an expert panel report on hydrogen production. A July 17 article covers remarks by GM and Toyota officials about progress in developing technology to allow vehicles to run on alternative fuels, including hydrogen.

CARB to Hold Webcast on Transportation

The California Air Resources Board will host a webcast Sept. 4 on “Low Carbon Transportation: A Crucial Link to Economic and National Security.” The presentation will be given by David Greene, a professor at the University of Tennessee and fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.