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Bali - Global Talks to Further the Kyoto Protocol

Bali climate change conference highlights...think retrofits of lighting, heating and insulation. Major impact!

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California Green Chemistry Initiative Delegates from nearly 190 nations have gathered for the December 3-14 summit, tasked with laying the groundwork for a new treaty to tackle global warming beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol's first phase expires. Speaking to AFP, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change, acknowledged the deep divides within the international community on how to tackle the problem of the world heating up, notably on whether countries should set binding targets. "I think all the delegations have understood the urgency, but I also think that none of the delegations have forgotten their national interest," he said on the sidelines of the meeting. When do the "departments" understand that their private fiefdoms can harm the company? I remember participating in an exercise to explore competition and collaboration, but it was not introduced to us that way. It was an "achievement exercise". How fast could our team reach the goal through exchanges with the other teams? Teams split up. We strategized. We traded. We competed to win the prize.

Only after the exercise ended did we learn that we had failed miserably compared to other groups who had participated in the exercise. They had collaborated and more than doubled their achievement compared to our competitive approach.

The global situation reminds me of that dichotamy...compete or collaborate...which will we choose?

A meeting of Kyoto parties in Austria in August recommended emissions cuts for rich nations of 25 to 40 percent by 2020, and green groups are keen for a similar figure to be mentioned in the final text of this UNFCCC conference. But the United States, the only rich nation not party to Kyoto, has made it clear it will not commit to any such figures during this meeting. Canada has said targets should include growing economies like India and China. "I think they (developing countries) are all willing to limit the growth of their emissions to the extent economically possible," mused de Boer.

Practical Climate Strategies Discussed

Installing energy-efficient lighting could save 1.5 billion barrels of oil a year, or the annual output of 530 medium-sized power stations, according to a Phillips executive.

"The entire current emission reductions commitment under the Kyoto Protocol can be achieved in the building sector alone. And the costs of achieving these reductions are low, very low."

Building greener homes and office towers and installing energy-efficient lighting could slash planet-warming carbon emissions, U.N. and industry officials said at climate talks in Bali on Friday.

They said the technology already existed to dramatically cut electricity use for very little cost, and yet it was puzzling that governments, industries and home-owners weren't cashing in on the energy-saving ideas.

"About 40 percent of all energy is consumed in buildings and in construction. This is the incredible fact most people don't realise," said Kaarin Taipale, of the U.N.'s Marrakesh Task Force on Sustainable Buildings and Construction.

The trick is to install greener lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling systems, said Sylvie Lemmet, director of the United Nations Environment Programme's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics.

Market failure is happening because there is little knowledge of materials, little awareness about by business about sustainable buildings, and economic disincentives.

UN studies have found that building upfits will not happen if governments are not active to help overcome the market failure. "Decision-making islands" cause poor overall communication that lead to energy-inefficient designs.

  • Lack of coordination between building professionals (lack of basic communication during the design phase, with architects, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers not working closely enough..and then construction teams)
  • Lack of knowledge about how to construct greener buildings
  • Lack of government involvement in overcoming market failures

Bush's administration will host new talks among 17 major emitters of greenhouse gases in Hawaii in late January, and Bush wants all to set new long-term emissions goals by the end of 2008 to help the world agree a new U.N. pact by end-2009.

Bush's chief negotiator at Bali said that the administration had no intention of changing its climate policies despite pressure from Congress.


"a href="">World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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