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The Paris Mirage - Reducing emissions while increasing them PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Written by Joan Russow
Monday, 10 August 2015 06:43



BY LINGOLeave It In the Ground Initiative09/08/15




This is an important one pager of numbers that show the largest national extractive sectors globally, the size of their proven reserves, how many years they could keep extracting at the current level, and the expected impact of an assumed Paris Accord on their future development - based on currently submitted "Intended Nationally Determined Contributions" (INDCs).

"Many governments will pledge to reduce their countries’ CO2 emissions at COP21. Paradoxically, at the same time, most are working to increase them. Mitigation is not yet framed in terms of extraction of fossil fuels, but rather exclusively in terms of “emitting”. This allows extraction to go on, barely affected by mitigation efforts. Climate policy does not yet speak to mining and extraction policy. Governments continue to provide subsidies for fossil fuel extraction, even to exploration. The biggest national extraction sectors that in 2014 caused more than half a gigaton of CO2 emissions each are shown in Figure 1. Together, they are responsible for a total of 20 out of 35 gigatons of global fossil fuel CO2 emissions."

Game Changers for the Climate



The following solutions could develop into Game Changers for the Climate:

Resisting the extraction of fossil fuels is the only way to keep them from disrupting the climate. It makes fossil fuels more expensive, fossil fuel projects more risky to investors and motivates a shift to potentially more benign energy alternatives.

This systems analysis clearly shows that the cheap supply of fossil fuels is a key driver that keeps us heading in the wrong direction – and a strong lever for change. Due to global energy markets, the opposite approach – “reducing emissions” – just shifts them around. Like a balloon where you increase or decrease pressure at certain points, which just shifts the shape, but not the overall size of the balloon – which is determined by how much coal, oil and gas comes out of the ground and flows into the balloon. “Emissions reductions” happen automatically when extraction is successfully impeded – avoiding most of the strenuous work of traditional climate campaigning.

As long as there is no legally enforceable negative consequence for pushing the fossil monster economy forward, people will continue to do it and explain away the problem. Once you can go to prison for doing so, people will shift course very quickly. A few examplary cases could have an extraordinary impact. Finding possibilities to do so under existing law is one strand of this work and the other one is creating new laws that would make it possible to bring polluters to justice.

Fossil fuel companies are still often seen as “normal” today, although their standing is decreasing. By convincing ethically inclined investors to drop their investments in fossil fuel companies, a new narrative gets established where fossil fuel companies are doing something morally wrong. As the business case for fossil companies worsens through competition by cheap renewable energy, this narrative and the economic case reinforce each other. Engagement practices such as shareholder activism can amplify these voices within the company and shorten the time until companies correct their course. Because much of the fossil frontier is being opened up by private companies, divestment and engagement are important efforts to turn the tide from the outer limits inwards.

  • Subsidy Reform

Our governments continue to throw billions of subsidies into fossil fuels every year, making them much more competitive in the market place. When we manage to correct this situation, the energy marketplace will look very different – and fossil fuels will be the losers in many more places where they are still standing strong today.

  • Lobby Work and Transparency in Policymaking

This systems analysis points to the critical role of the fossil fuel lobby in keeping fossil systems in place. Their influence on political decisions is huge. By creating more transparency and explicit limits on their influence on policy-makers, climate friendly policies will be much easier to pass and our societies will stop pushing for more fossils and can start to focus on what’s important in life.

This amazing approach has the potential to shift the mainstream of economic activity and entrepreneurship towards solving environmental and social problems, becoming climate friendly would be just one of them.

Having an example to point to of persons, cities or nations that have managed the transition to 100% clean energy would be an important psychological game changer. So far there are many plans, but real-life examples of full transitions still need to be achieved.

  • Transition Funds

These financial mechanisms create a link between our fossil fuel addiction and the transition road. The more we spend on fossils, the more money we raise for getting rid of them. Examples: Fondo Futuro para México, the Future Box

We hope to draw more climate activists and conscious citizens into these efforts that could just turn out to be essential roads for our future on this planet. The meetings in Paris in 2015 will be important to strengthen these game changers.

summary http://parisclimatejustice.org/sites/default/files/images/theparismiragelingobrief.pdf

1. China coal: 7.7 Gt ^
2. USA coal: 1.8 Gt 
3. USA gas: 1.5 Gt ^
4. USA oil: 1.3 Gt ^
5. Saudi Arabia oil: 1.3 Gt ^
6. India coal: 1.3 Gt ^
7. Russia oil: 1.3 Gt ^
8. Russia gas: 1.2 Gt -
9. Australia coal: 1.0 Gt n
10. Indonesia coal: 0.9 Gt n
11. Russia coal: 0.7 Gt n
12. South Africa coal: 0.5 Gt n
Figure 1. Key extraction sectors with annual CO2 emissions and 5-year-trends (arrows)
Sector Extraction Reserves Years Paris Accord Impact
(GtCO2/year) (GtCO2) (R/P ratio)
China coal 7.7 229.0 30 No impact (intensity target)
USA coal 1.8 474.6 262 Negative impact
USA gas 1.5 19.5 13 No impact (coal substitution)
USA oil 1.3 15.4 11 No impact (import substitution)
Saudi Arabia oil 1.3 84.6 64 No impact (no target & export)
India coal 1.3 121.2 94 No impact (intensity target)
Russia oil 1.2 32.7 26 No impact (hot air & export)
Russia gas 1.2 65.3 56 No impact (hot air & export)
Australia coal 0.8 152.8 155 No impact (export)


Indonesia coal 0.9 56.0 61 Possibly small negative impact
Figure 2. Sectoral impacts of an assumed Paris Accord over the next 15 years


Sources: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015, own calculation
Russow · 
Excellent article and research exposing the hyponcrisy of consentrating only on emissions while continuing to subsidize and extract fossil fuels ( Ihe have included the information in my statement see below)
Another key issue is the target date is now at 2030 with no incremental time frame commitments.
"Because of the global urgency, there must be the political will to return earth’s temperature to its natural pre-industrial level, and strict time frames must be imposed, so that overall global emissions of greenhouse gases will begin to be reversed as of 2015 There must be a global target
 for greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2015, at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2020, at least 75% below 1990 levels by 2030, at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2040 and 100% below 1990 emissions by 2050 while adhering to the precautionary principle, the differentiated responsibility principle *, and the fair and just transition principle. The required reductions in emissions cannot be achieved without an immediate end to the destruction of carbon sinks. Under the UNFCCC, every state signatory incurred the obligation to conserve carbon sinks; thus the destruction of sinks, including deforestation and elimination of bogs must end immediately.
The goal of COP 21 must be to return temperatures to pre-industrial levels and return atmospheric CO2 back to 278ppm at the latest by 2050."

From my statement: 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 September 2015 01:23

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