The Week Ahead: International Climate Talks Resume, Mexico Set to Unveil Climate Strategy


International U.N. climate negotiations will resume June 3 in Bonn with a goal of establishing a pathway for an agreement in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The talks, which will run through June 14, are the last formal negotiations before the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP-19) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that will take place in Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 11-22.

At last year's COP-18 summit in Doha, Qatar, negotiators agreed to launch two "work streams" on the scope and structure of a global deal that would require all nations to commit by 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement would go into effect in 2020 after ratification.

Also, COP-18 extended the Kyoto Protocol for another eight years after its first commitment period expired Dec. 31, 2012, though it mainly covers only European countries and Australia.

As detailed in a May 3 Energy and Climate Reportarticle, the Bonn talks during the next two weeks are a continuation of April 29-May 3 negotiations, also held in Bonn, which ended on an unusually positive note, with delegates laying the early groundwork for a "dynamic" 2015 global agreement. However, critics remain skeptical that a breakthrough will be achieved in the upcoming two weeks of talks.

The talks come on the heels of a May 13 announcement by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the 400 parts per million threshold, which Christiana Figueres, the U.N.'s top climate change official, said signals the world has entered "a new danger zone." Her remarks are detailed in a May 13 article.

Also worth mentioning, in light of the upcoming talks, is the planned launch June 18 of a carbon emissions trading program in the south China city of Shenzhen. China, along with India and the United States have been the holdouts for an international binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Here in the United States, President Obama renewed a call May 29 for market-based solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saying climate change is occurring more quickly than previously thought and poses greater risks than other environmental threats that are more visible.

Shenzhen's trading plan is covered in a May 22 article, and Obama remarks are featured in a May 30 article.

Mexico to Launch Climate Strategy

In another international climate development, Mexico is expected to unveil a National Climate Change Strategy June 5.

The strategy is designed to implement Mexico's 2012 Climate Change Law which calls for a 30 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from anticipated-growth levels by 2020, using 2010 as a baseline, and 50 percent from 2000 levels by 2050. It also states that 35 percent of Mexico's electricity generation should stem from clean and renewable energy sources.

A Bloomberg BNA interviewwith Environment Minister Juan Jose Guerra Abud on Mexico's plan to address climate change was published May 20. 

Other International Developments

On June 6, the European Commission is expected to officially announce antidumping duties against China on imported Chinese solar panels.

As detailed in a May 8 article, the move follows a nine-month investigation into accusations from European manufacturers that competing Chinese products were being sold below production costs, contributing to the bankruptcy of more than a dozen firms.

The antidumping duties are expected to raise the price of Chinese solar products an average of 47 percent.

From June 5-6, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and the Clinton Global Initiative will meet in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to develop a framework to help municipalities prioritize what actions to take to prepare for climate change impacts.

As detailed in a May 6 article, the framework will also help cities compare climate actions with those taken by their peers and help banks structure loans for resilient infrastructure and climate change adaptation projects.

RGGI to Hold Auction

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will hold its next quarterly auction June 5. As detailed in a March 15 article covering its most recent auction, the clearing price of carbon dioxide emission allowances jumped significantly following a tightening of the group's emissions cap.

The allowances sold for $2.80, a 45 percent increase from the selling price in the previous four auctions and $0.82 above the minimum auction price.

States participating in RGGI include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode island, and Vermont.

California Climate, Energy Meetings

The California Air Resources Board will hold the first of three workshops June 3 in Sacramento on its greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program. The first workshop will focus on the treatment of natural gas suppliers in the program, including calculation of compliance obligation and allowance allocation issues.

A June 25 workshop will cover market-related reporting and cost containment, and a July 18 workshop will cover proposed program amendments.

The California Energy Commission will hold a staff workshop June 3 in Sacramento on the "Status of Bioenergy Development in California."

EPA to Hold Interactive Webinar Series 

The Environmental Protection Agency, along with North Carolina State University, will hold interactive webinars June 3-4 as part of its "States-Tribes-EPA Climate Adaptation Symposium."

On June 3, webinars will be held on "Building Adaptive Capacity for Climate Change, "Planning for Sea-Level Rise," and "Water, Communities & Planning." June 4 will feature a webinar on "Adapting to Air Quality and Health Impacts of Climate Change." Additional webinars are planned for the week of June 10.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The Coastal States Organization will hold a briefing June 3 for members of Congress and staff at the Capitol Hill Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., on "Island Communities: Adapting to Climate Threats Through Coastal Planning." 

On June 4, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions will host an event in Washington, D.C., on "Leveraging Natural Gas to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions."

Ceres will hold a webinar June 6 on "Power Factor: Institutional Investors' Policy Priorities Can Bring Energy Efficiency to Scale."

On June 6, the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program will hold an event in Washington, D.C., on "The Energy and Climate Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities for Transatlantic Security."

The Heritage Foundation will hold an event June 6 in Washington, D.C., on "The Lack of Science in the Scientific Consensus: the Case of the National Climate Assessment."