Environmental Audit Committee

8 January 2008 NEW INQUIRY

8 January 2008 NEW INQUIRY

Post-Kyoto: The International Context for Progress on Climate Change

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is today launching an Inquiry into the international context of negotiations for the next commitment phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

This Inquiry follows the December 2007 UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, which formally agreed a roadmap for negotiations on the next Kyoto commitment period starting in 2012. Although the agreed roadmap contains some welcome features including a recognition that all developed countries have to make deep cuts and that more has to be done to help developing countries to adapt to climate change, there are concerns that the agreement lacked clear goals or timetables. It is likely that negotiations leading to the eventual agreement of a framework that will help us to avoid dangerous climate change are going to be challenging.

The Committee will explore key issues raised by the Bali roadmap including adaptation funds, reducing deforestation and the transfer of technologies. We will consider what "common but differentiated responsibilities" will actually mean in relation to the commitments required. As part of the Inquiry the Committee will in particular focus on the EU, China and Australia to explore how these key parties are likely to respond both to the roadmap negotiations and to climate change mitigation and adaptation more widely.

The Committee invites organisations and members of the public to submit memoranda setting out their views on these issues. Some specific subjects on which the Committee would welcome comments are set out below, although respondents are free to comment on any issues which they consider relevant:

1. Is the Kyoto Protocol still a relevant and effective mechanism? How successful was the Bali conference? Does the roadmap contain all that is needed to lead to a post-Kyoto agreement that adequately addresses the climate change challenge? Will the roadmap focus on implementation issues or will it come to an agreement on a stabilisation level? How do we ensure that no key parties are left out of the process?

2. What needs to be done between now and Potznan? Emissions from international aviation and shipping were not included in the Bali roadmap. Why did this happen and what can be done to address these emissions?

Emission reduction frameworks

3. How can 'common but differentiated responsibilities' be decided in such a way that ensures the engagement of all parties? How can equity concerns regarding the allocation of mitigation targets and historical responsibility for climate change emissions be reconciled?

4. How might an agreement be reached with emerging economies to ensure that their emissions trajectories move into line with the need to reduce global emissions? How might developing countries' need to expand their economies be reconciled with controls on emissions?

Adaptation and technology

5. Is there adequate support for developing countries to adapt to climate change? Should there be binding targets for funding and how could these be decided? How will funding for climate change mitigation or adaptation interact with existing aid budgets? Will such funding contribute to wider sustainable development goals?

6. Is there effective international coordination on technology R&D? How might technology transfer to developed countries be improved? How does technology transfer interact with international trade rules? How effectively do Government technology programmes, such as the Energy Technologies Institute, lead to technology development and transfer to developing countries? How effective are UK Government measures to assist developing countries to reduce emissions?

7. Is the Asia-Pacific partnership a complement or a rival to the Kyoto Protocol? How is it likely to develop and what is it likely to achieve?


8. How might mechanisms to tackle emissions from deforestation be developed? How can we ensure that such mechanisms contribute to wider sustainable development aims? Will such mechanisms deal with the need to ensure the protection of indigenous people, land use rights and governance? How might forest degradation be dealt with? Are additional mechanisms required to enable the creation of carbon sinks?

9. Are the Clean Development and Joint Implementation Mechanisms functioning effectively? How might they be improved? How might they better be used in relation to forestry or other land use emission reduction projects? Should CDM and JI projects play a greater role in sustainable development more widely? To what extent should credits such as those from the CDM and JI be permitted to be used in emissions trading schemes, or contribute to emissions reduction targets?

10. What action is the Government taking to prepare for and accelerate the linking of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme with other trading schemes? Is a new institutional or regulatory framework required to enable their development and coordination? How might schemes be linked where they have different emission caps? Might the EUETS be undermined by linking with other schemes?

Written evidence should be sent to the Committee by Friday 25 January 2008. Evidence sessions are likely to start on 19 February 2008.

For printing purposes we require written submissions via e-mail to [email protected] in Word format. We are unable to accept PDFs except for supporting documentation already in the public domain which will not be printed by us. Although we no longer require a hard copy, it is your responsibility to check that we have received your submission if no email acknowledgement has been received by you. A brief guidance note on the preparation and submission of evidence is available on the Committee's web pages. For more information on this inquiry, please call 020-7219-1378.