My Research On This Paris Treaty And What I Learned

In pursuit of understanding the Paris Agreement, and the implications of United States bowing out, I have attempted to gain a better understanding what it is.

paris-agreement

 

Paris Agreement: essential elements

The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.

The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework. Further information on key aspects of the Agreement can be found here. (Emphasis mine)

One of the key issues is having some countries ‘assist’ other countries in to help develop their infrastructure. With United States having over $19 trillion in debt as of 2017 June 2, I cannot foresee our ability to support another countries framework. See our debt in real time.

Paris Agreement: Status of Ratification

The Paris Agreement pdf-icon entered into force on 4 November 2016, thirty days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary. A full list of the 195 signatures and 147 parties can be found here.

Paris Agreement: How will these goals be attained?

When attempting to review how will these goals be met, and what method is used to identify progress, I came across the below statement.

The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) regularly undertakes work on methodological and scientific matters as they relate to the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol process.  Some of the issues the SBSTA is currently dealing with are bunker fuels; and research and systematic observation. Source.

That is a pretty broad statement, that tells me to look at the Convention and Kyoto Protocol process.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, countries’ actual emissions have to be monitored and precise records have to be kept of the trades carried out.

Registry systems track and record transactions by Parties under the mechanisms. The UN Climate Change Secretariat, based in Bonn, Germany, keeps an international transaction log to verify that transactions are consistent with the rules of the Protocol.

Reporting is done by Parties by submitting annual emission inventories and national reports under the Protocol at regular intervals.

A compliance system ensures that Parties are meeting their commitments and helps them to meet their commitments if they have problems doing so.

Adaptation
The Kyoto Protocol, like the Convention, is also designed to assist countries in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. It facilitates the development and deployment of technologies that can help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. (Emphasis mine)

The Adaptation Fund was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. In the first commitment period, the Fund was financed mainly with a share of proceeds from CDM project activities. In Doha, in 2012, it was decided that for the second commitment period, international emissions trading and joint implementation would also provide the Adaptation Fund with a 2 percent share of proceeds.

The issue I see with this is, each Country would provide their reports to the UN Climate Change Scretariat. How do you keep each Country accountable for proper and accurate data entry?

Paris Agreement: What is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.

Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” Source.

In essence the more developed Countries would be paying additional global taxes as opposed to under developed Countries. This appears to be counterproductive for any Country. Develop more, Pay more. So what would be the incentive for a Country in developing?

Interestingly,  a link between stagnant economy was pointed out with the Kyoto Protocol goal before United States even signed the Paris Agreement under Obama.

Well, it seems like killing the economy went hand in hand with CO2 reductions, imagine that. The graph below is from EIA with my annotations.

kyoto_met_1997-2012

From the EIA report:

Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2012 were the lowest in the United States since 1994, at 5.3 billion metric tons of CO2 (see figure above). With the exception of 2010, emissions have declined every year since 2007. Source.

United States primarily uses coal for electricity generation. Under the Obama Administration with the strong arm of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), by 2016 a reduction of 83K coal jobs and 400 coal mines closed down had occurred. A 2015 study found the coal industry lost 50K jobs from 2008 to 2012 during Obama’s first term. Source. In essence during the Obama Administration, the coal use fell by 29%. This caused coal companies Peabody Energy, Arch Coal to file bankruptcy, as well as Alliance Coal announcing mass layoffs. Source.

This reduction of coal as the main tool of less ‘carbon’ use and production of electricity is not applicable to United States alone. At 6 least major countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and now Finland, have all recently announced the imminent phase-out of all coal-fired power plants. Source.

Paris Agreement: International Transaction Log

The International Transaction Log (ITL) connects registries and secretariat systems that are involved in the emissions trading mechanism defined under the Kyoto Protocol and its Doha amendment. One of the key mandates of the ITL is to ensure an accurate accounting and verification of transactions proposed by registries in order to support the review and compliance process of the Kyoto Protocol.

In practical terms, registries send transaction proposals to the ITL, which assesses each proposal against a set of defined checks, derived from the Kyoto Protocol, its Doha amendment and other relevant COP/CMP decisions. The ITL then responds to registries’ transaction proposals by clearing them for further processing. If a transaction proposal is approved, the registry completes the transaction; if the transaction proposal is rejected, the ITL sends an error code indicating which ITL check has failed and the registry terminates the transaction.

The full specifications of the ITL system are defined in the pdf-icon Data Exchange Standards (6517 kB) (DES). The DES describes the technical requirements for the communication between the ITL and registries. It also provides the list of all the checks performed by the ITL.

The UNFCCC secretariat in its capacity of the ITL administrator has awarded a contract for the development, hosting and technical support of the ITL to leading IT services companies. The technical arrangements for the ITL include adequate provisions to ensure high-availability of the system and secure communications between the ITL and registries. A service desk team, operating 7 days a week, is also in place to assist the administrators and operators of systems connected to the ITL. Source.

Even with the killing of the coal plants, United States has yet to register or make payments to the international transaction log. Note 2016 report pages 19-24. The available reports go back to 2005. As of 2016 report, the disaster recovery for the International Transaction Log has not been tested.

Paris Agreement: Summary

At the end of this article, what have I learned?

From what I can perceive, the Obama Admin may have signed onto the Paris Agreement, but I have not found where United States has linked to the International Transaction Log. This would be the connection of showing how United States is reducing Carbon Emissions or paying the global tax per tonne used.

The primary immediate action appears to be removal of coal use. One of Trump’s campaign promises was the return of the coal mines and coal jobs. While it is true coal price has dropped, even before Obama took presidency, natural gas prices have plummeted faster. With the killing of coal mines and workers, can Trump help re-surge coal’s use?

“I don’t think the Trump presidency will have a material impact on bringing coal miners back to work,” said Ted O’Brien, a coal analyst at Doyle Trading Consultants, a leading energy industry research firm.

“He may eliminate the regulatory overhang,” Mr. O’Brien said, referring to the environmental rules that have cast a shadow over coal, “but I have a hard time seeing a surge in coal demand.” Source.

To be fair, Trump did lift the moratorium on federal coal leases, as promised. Source. However, it doesn’t appear the coal usage for electricity will ever be recovered.

The primary issue I see is the cost of the regulations to developing Countries, under this Paris Treaty. As I conveyed earlier, what is the incentive for a under developed Country to even move forward on development, if the burden is global taxes and regulation cost?

Peter Yeung spells this out for us. “Oxfam estimates that just 16 per cent of the $100 billion a year pledged by rich nations in 2009 to help poorer countries adapt to climate change and cut carbon emissions has been paid. It has called on countries to target 35 per cent by 2020, and 50 per cent by 2025, via grants and other forms of financing in order to avoid the burden of “heavy repayments”.

The cost for developing countries to adapt to climate change could go as high as $500 billion a year by 2050 – four to five times larger than previous estimates, according to a report released last week by the UN.” Source.

#authorMattCole

–Update–

This conversation erupted over my post.

Matt Cole So, I checked out the hub-bub of the Paris Agreement and Trump pulling US out of it. http://www.mattcole.us/…/my-research-on-this-paris…/

In pursuit of understanding the Paris Agreement, and…
MATTCOLE.US

 

Jacob James
Jacob James Coal is not the best source of energy basket to put all of our eggs in. It is dangerous and unhealthy to mine as well as bad 4 environment. We need to invest in other sources of energy. Sure supporting other developing countries renewable energy couSee More

 

Matt ColeMatt Cole I hear what you’re saying Jacob. And what I could find, removing coal usage reduced carbon emission. But, in order for any Country to remain in development, a viable alternative must be in place to compensate it. I do not see that occurring. Obama had See More
Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2…
WASHINGTONTIMES.COM
Jacob JamesJacob James Coal industry is declining by 4% annually while the solar industry is growing annually by 12%. We have given subsidies to renewable energy but we also give heavily in subsidies to the oil industry that doesnt need them. Our gov is owned by oil so that is why. The other problem with fossil fuels is this👇

https://www.bloomberg.com/…/we-ve-almost-reached-peak…

The World Nears Peak Fossil Fuels for Electricity

BLOOMBERG.COM
Matt ColeMatt Cole I made the comment in my original post, coal was decreasing even before Obama administration. However, under his administration with the EPA he decimated the coal industry, without providing a sustainable alternative. The natural gas took up much of thSee More
Jacob JamesJacob James Well there is only two countries, other than the USA, in the entire world that would agree with that. Furthermore we currently invest heavily in bombing, destroying and then re building other infrastructures around the world, perhaps if we cut out the bombing part the investment would not be so great.
Matt ColeMatt Cole Not sure how that is part of the Paris Agreement. But the reality is, everything around us is derived from oil.
Jacob James  Jacob James The paris agreement is focused on renewable energy. Renewable energy is the enemy of the oil industry and the wealthy who can control the economy to their advantage by keeping us reliant on oil. Oil is also the #1 reason we go to war and build military bases around the world to protect our oil. Yes we have become ultimately tied to oil with little hope of change. Every little bit will help the possibility that our children wont be enslaved by it. If the truth was the persuit of our government we would be making a lot more changes and a lot faster. Rather than distrust the rest of the world on this one im under the impression that it is trump and his wealthy friends who are pulling the wool.
Matt Cole
Matt Cole I agree renewable energy is the enemy of oil. Just like Solar is the enemy of electric companies. Each would offset the profits for those niches. The same thing is seen in local governments finding ways to keep the burden of taxes and cost on the population when the idea of electric cars came into being. Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/…/electric-car-owners-get…
The government is a fat slob, unwilling to go on a diet. This issue has been occurring the last few years, not just within Trump’s inauguration. This Paris Agreement is just another method for taxes without a return.

States put a special fee on green-car owners…
BLOOMBERG.COM
Jacob James  Jacob James I agree, its not just trump. The oil industry has owned this country for quite a while now. However, b4 we discuss wasted tax dollars on the possibility of healing or helping the planet we need to look at the tax dollars that are spent on destroying or creating weapons to destroy the planet. The USA already spends more on military than the rest of the world combined and trump is increasing that by 54billion. This tells me that trump is committed to undermining the renewable energy platform while selling us out to oil. There are only two countries that did not sign paris agreement- syria and Nicaragua. The rest of the developed world is on board. There is no cost that is too much when it comes to doing what is right, especially since we spare no cost when doing the opposite.
Matt Cole Well, the idea of America reducing its military-industrial is a pipe dream. Eisenhower warned Americans on the military industrial complex in 1961 during his farewell speech. That complex has only grown in size and power. There are reasons the two other Countries not signing the agreement. Syria is having a civil war and under political turmoil. Nicaragua isn’t due to the Paris Agreement not doing enough about it. In Paul Oquist (Nicaragua’s representive) words, because “the commitments aren’t binding, the climate change agreement will fail to meet its goal.” Source: http://www.slate.com/…/why_isn_t_nicaragua_part_of_the…
This is the same issue I see for the Paris Agreement. More money from the developed Countries with no return.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBNmecVtdU&spfreload=10

Jacob James Jacob James Bernie for president also seemed like a pipe dream until it almost became a reality. Again, the rest of the developed world is on board with paris, perhaps the return could be saving the planet for our children. I dont see anything good coming from giving up.

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