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Discussion > The Paris Accords and INDCs

Apologies if this has ended up posted somewhere else. My mistake. This is just background

South America and Spain
This was agreed by the Pope in 1494, it divided " and colonising rights for all newly discovered lands of the world between Portugal and Castile (later applied between the Spanish Crown and Portugal) to the exclusion of other European nations."

"This treaty would be observed fairly well by Spain and Portugal, despite considerable ignorance as to the geography of the New World; however, it omitted all of the other European powers. Those countries generally ignored the treaty, particularly those that became Protestant after the Protestant Reformation."

One of those countries that ignored this Treaty was England. Spanish Galleons liberated a lot of South American Gold and Silver from South America across the Atlantic to Spain. The English were happy to liberated South American Gold and Silver from Spanish Galleons. South American riches were one of the prompt for the Spanish Armada in 1588. They effectively paid for it though. The Spanish Armada was a catalogue of disasters for the Spanish, rather than a triumph of English seapower. The English did have "home advantage" from Plymouth to Kent in benign looking water with tricky tides and shoals, thereafter the weather did the rest.

The Battle of Trafalgar 1805 saw Nelson beat the French. Actually, Nelson's 27 "Ships of the Line" beat 18 French and 15 Spanish Ships. 11 of the Spanish ships were captured. Before Napolean's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the French and Spanish had turned on each other.

Spain was unable to sustain its power and influence in South America, and over the next few decades, independence from Spain was achieved, with varying amounts of lives lost.

Achieving independence from Spain, was no more a guarantee of success than Independence from the UK was 100+ years later for Countries of the British Empire.

Jul 28, 2017 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mark Hodgson, I digressed again! But I have not posted on Peru yet

Jul 28, 2017 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

gc, please feel free to digress as much as you like. Having visited Peru, I was tempted to digress, myself. I have also just acquired a book, which sits in my pending pile, on the rise of the Spanish Empire ("Rivers of Gold" by Hugh Thomas). It's all interesting stuff.

Jul 29, 2017 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

South Africa next (INDC submitted on 25th September 2015).

This is a country I visited extensively post-Apartheid, and about which I have a reasonable knowledge and for which I have great fondness. However, Iif ever a country signed up to the Paris Accords while cocking a snook at them, South Africa would seem to be that country. They make it fairly clear early on that they're not terribly serious about it, and that their development needs take priority (as indeed they should, given the desperate poverty in much of the country).

"South Africa’s national response considers both development needs and climate change imperatives. South Africa faces the challenge of climate change as a developing country, with overriding priorities to eliminate poverty and eradicate inequality. Eliminating poverty and eradicating inequality requires addressing major challenges in creating decent employment, which in turn requires sustainable economic development, improving basic education, health and social welfare and many other basic needs such as access to food, shelter and modern energy services. In addition, South Africa is presently facing acute energy challenges that hamper economic development. As a result of the historical development pathway of its energy sector, South Africa is currently heavily dependent on coal, with a fleet of old and
inefficient coal-fired power plants that are nearing, but not yet at, the end of their design lifecycles as well as being reliant on a significant proportion of its liquid fuels being generated from coal.
Therefore, in the short-term (up to 2025), South Africa faces significant rigidity in its economy and any policy-driven transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society must take into account and emphasise its overriding priority to address poverty and inequality. South Africa’s INDC should be understood in the context of these and other national

Their mitigation offer is drafted cleverly to sound impressive, but is actually extremely vague:

"In keeping with South Africa’s commitment to progress its contribution to the global effort to mitigate climate change in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, South Africa’s mitigation component of its INDC moves from a “deviation from business-as-usual” form of commitment and takes the form of
a peak, plateau and decline GHG emissions trajectory range. South Africa’s emissions by 2025 and 2030 will be in a range between 398 and 614 Mt CO2–eq, as defined in national policy. This is the benchmark against which the efficacy of mitigation actions will be measured."

Since they nowhere tell us what their current emissions are, nor do they commit to a firm figure, it is simply impossible to tell whether their offer is significant or not. It is, however, very easy to tell that whatever their offer comprises, it comes with a huge price tag:

"Analysis of the incremental costs of mitigation actions indicates that significant finance and investment will be required in the long-term. The following estimates are of total incremental costs required:
1. Estimated incremental cost to expand REI4P in next ten years: US$3 billion per year.
2. Decarbonised electricity by 2050 - estimated total of US$349 billion from 2010.
3. CCS: 23 Mt CO2 from the coal-to-liquid plant - US$0.45 billion.
4. Electric vehicles - US$513 billion from 2010 till 2050.
5. Hybrid electric vehicles: 20% by 2030 - US$488 billion
These costs are derived from energy systems and economic modelling. Further work is needed to prepare detailed business plans for finance and investment in mitigation. These numbers are presented for information to clarify the order of magnitude of mitigation finance and investment requirements."

I get that to $1.35 trillion. For a country with a population of around 56 million, that equates to around $24,100 for every man, woman and child in the country. I don't know if their mitigation targets are ambitious (they don't provide enough information for me to tell) but their financial request is certainly ambitious!

Jul 29, 2017 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Belarus next (INDC submitted on 25th September 2015).

I have mixed views about their offer. On the plus side it is unconditional and does not seek external funds. On the down side they play the ex-SSR game of offering a reduction in GHG emissions against the 1990 figure, so their actual offer is an increase in emissions. Having said that, though, there are still some positive aspects to their INDC. On balance, I'll call this one a curate's egg - good in parts.

1990 GHG emissions were 139,151.23 thousand tons in CO2 equivalent. In 2012 they were still only 89,283.33 thousand tons in CO2 equivalent, a fall of 35.8% compared to 1990. Their offer of a 28% reduction against 1990 figures therefore clearly represents an increase from the present day.

They seem to be going down the nuclear route (let's hope they do better than with Chernobyl) and expect their emissions to peak in 2035.

As they emerge from the environmentally unfriendly years of the USSR they do make an encouraging point. Economic growth re-commenced in 1995, and between then and 2012 per capita GDP increased 4.5 times, with an annual growth rate of 7.9% for GDP, while GHG emissions increased in the same period by an annual average of 0.4% meaning the carbon intensity of the economy decreased by 3.9 times, as they put it.

So, they're still increasing their emissions, but are doing quite a good job of squaring the circle of growing their economy without massively increasing GHG emissions. As I said - a curate's egg.

Jul 29, 2017 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Georgia next (INDC submitted on 25th September 2015).

This is another ex-SSR playing the 1990 base line game, but at least they're honest about it:

"The dissolution of Soviet Union and the collapse of centrally planned economy in early 90s caused significant reduction in national greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions (lowest value 8,799 KtCO2eq in 1995). According to the Third National Communication of Georgia to the UNFCCC, GHG emissions from Georgia in 2011 constituted 16,036 KtCO2eq which is 34% of 1990 emissions level (47,975 KtCO2eq)."

Against that background, this is their mitigation offer:

"Georgia plans to unconditionally reduce its GHG emissions by 15% below the Business as usual scenario (BAU) for the year 2030. This is equal to reduction in emission intensity per unit of GDP by approximately 34% from 2013 to 2030. The 15% reduction target will be increased up to 25% in a conditional manner, subject to a global agreement addressing the
importance of technical cooperation, access to low-cost financial resources and technology transfer. This is equal to reduction of emission intensity per unit of GDP by approximately 43% from 2013 to 2030. The 25% reduction below BAU scenario would also ensure that Georgian GHG emissions by 2030 will stay by 40% below the 1990 levels."

Which sounds very impressive, except that Business as Usual sees GHG emissions more than doubling between 2015 and 2030; almost doubling over the same period on the basis of their unconditional offer; and increasing by around 2/3 on the basis of their conditional offer, over the same period.

Of course, arguably none of it matters much anyway, given that "...national GHG emissions of Georgia represents only
approximately 0.03% of global emissions...".

Their conditional offer is obviously dependent on receipt of international finance, though they don't tell us how much they are seeking.

Jul 29, 2017 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Seychelles next (INDC submitted on 25th September 2015).


"The emissions of Seychelles are less than 0.003% of global emissions. Further, Seychelles are currently a net sink and
under the Business-As-Usual scenario it is expected to become a net emitter between 2024 and 2025. In this context, the contribution of Seychelles is considered fair and ambitious. With our contribution, Seychelles will remain a net sink in 2030."

So, insignificant GHG emissions, currently a net sink, emissions set to rise, and the size of the sink set to fall, but still a sink nevertheless.

The offer seems impressive, despite the small scale of GHG emissions there:

"The Republic of Seychelles will reduce its economy-wide absolute GHG emissions by 122.5 ktCO2e (21.4%) in 2025 and estimated 188 ktCO2e in 2030 (29.0%) relative to baseline emissions."

It reads like an absolute reduction in emissions. It's only when you read on to find the description of "Baseline" that you discover that this is what they mean by Baseline:

"Business As Usual scenario of emission projections based on economic growth in the absence of climate change policies, starting from 2010 in the case of public electricity and land transport sub-sectors (to which non-GHG outcomes have been applied), and 2012 for emission from solid waste management (to which a project-based approach is used)."

So, as I say emissions will actually increase, therefore their status as a net sink will reduce, but they will nevertheless remain a net sink.

"The cost of achieving the reduction objective (2030) has been estimated to be at least USD 309 million. Including the cost of energy efficiency measures such as building codes, standards and labels, and energy audits will increase the total cost of implementation, which is expected to be met partly through domestic funding and conditional on international climate financing including through the Green Climate Fund among others."

To which needs to be added this:

"The Government of Seychelles considers adaptation to climate change as a high priority to reduce the country’s vulnerability. The cost of achieving the implementing the adaptation contributions (2030) has been estimated to be at least USD 295 million."

A total of $604 million, though in fairness it appears that they propose funding some of it themselves (to what extent they don't say). They don't say what their population is, only that they assume it will grow annually by 1%. However, a quick internet search suggests it is just under 100,000, implying the cost of the Seychelles INDC comes in at a scarcely believable $6,000+ for every man, woman and child who currently lives there.

Jul 29, 2017 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

I'm conscious that with the exception of China and some of the middle eastern oil states I've not really looked at many of the countries who can be said to be making, directly or indirectly, a major contribution to GHG emissions. The next country to be looked at arguably doesn't fall into that category - yet - with a 0.35% contribution currently, but as a country with a large and growing population, and a country regularly used as an example of vulnerability to climate change, I think the next one up makes potentially interesting reading:

Bangladesh (INDC submitted on 25th September 2015). Its population (which is largely extremely poor, and therefore GDP growth represents a major challenge) is something above 160 million (Wikipedia estimates 169 million in 2015). Wikipedia again: "According to the OECD/World Bank population in Bangladesh increased from 1990 to 2008 with 44 million and 38% growth in population compared to 34% growth in India and 54% growth in Pakistan. The annual population growth 2007-2008 was 1.4%...". The rate of growth is slowing, but there still has to be a good chance that its population will reach 200 million by 2030, which is a challenge in itself, especially in an increasingly urbanised society, in terms of GHG emissions.

I expected to see major mitigation efforts given their alleged vulnerability to climate change, but had I thought about it more deeply, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that their INDCs place their main focus on adaptation.

"Bangladesh is a highly climate vulnerable country whose emissions are less than 0.35% of global emissions . Without ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases internationally, the future costs of adapting to climate change will be much higher than they are today. If the world fails to take ambitious action, the costs to Bangladesh of climate change could amount to an annual loss of 2% of GDP by 2050 and 9.4% of GDP by 2100 . Bangladesh therefore wants to play its part in the global collective action to reduce future emissions as part of a robust and ambitious international agreement.
Consequently, Bangladesh is adopting a two-fold strategy against climate change. The main focus of Bangladesh’s activities is on increasing our resilience to the impacts of climate change – which are already affecting the livelihoods of much of our population and will continue to do so in the future.
For example, extreme temperatures, erratic rainfall, floods, drought, tropical cyclones, rising sea levels, tidal surges, salinity intrusion and ocean acidification are causing serious negative impacts on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Bangladesh, and are gradually offsetting the remarkable socio-economic development gained over the past 30 years, as well as jeopardising future economic growth. However at the same time, Bangladesh is also working to achieve lower carbon as well as more resilient development."

Still, I was a little surprised and disappointed by the limited ambition shown by their mitigation contribution:

"Mitigation contribution:
ƒ An unconditional contribution to reduce GHG emissions by 5% from Business as Usual (BAU) levels by 2030 in the power, transport and industry sectors, based on existing resources.
ƒ A conditional 15% reduction in GHG emissions from BAU levels by 2030 in the power, transport, and industry sectors, subject to appropriate international support in the form of finance, investment, technology development and transfer, and capacity building.
ƒ A number of further mitigation actions in other sectors which it intends to achieve subject to the provision of additional international resources."

There are a number of factors which make this an extremely limited offer.

1. "Bangladesh reserves the right to revise its intended national target and contribution at any point of time and considers its INDC to be a living document that should be integrated with changed/modified national development goals and targets." In other words, it's a moveable feast.

2. "Bangladesh’s mitigation contribution covers the power, transport and industry sectors. Under a BAU scenario, GHG emissions in Bangladesh in these sectors are expected to represent 69% of total emissions by 2030 (excluding LULUCF)...". In other words, 31% of GHG emissions aren't even covered by the offer.

3. The Business as Usual scenario, against which the offer is pitched, will see HG emissions increasingly significantly for those sectors which are covered, representing 69% of anticipated emissions by 2030 - or as the INDC makes clear: BaU involves "an increase of 264% by 2030, from 64 MtCO2e in 2011 to 234 MtCO2e in 2030."

In other words, BaU sees GHG emissions almost quadrupling by 2030, against which an unconditional 5% reduction, and a conditional 15% reduction, make no significant difference. Even looking optimistically at the conditional offer, it will see GHG emissions more or less trebling by 2030.

All of which sits a little uneasily with this statement:

"Bangladesh recognises that in order to meet the 2 degrees objective all countries will need to undertake mitigation in line with the IPCC conclusion that meeting 2 degrees requires global reductions to reduce by 40 to 70% global anthropogenic GHG emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2010."

How much will this cost?

" It was estimated that Bangladesh will need to invest $40 billion from 2015 to 2030 in order to implement identified adaptation measures...".

"Further work will be needed to assess the scale and scope of investment needs for mitigation activities (see section 4 on INDC implementation). But examples of the kinds of investment required (2011-2030) to implement key mitigation measures are set out below:"

The table below comprises a non-exhaustive list of mitigation measures, but adds up to $27 billion, so mitigation and adaptation combined add up to at least $67 billion. On a per capita basis that is much less than many countries (e.g. South Africa!), coming in at less than $300 per person. But because Bangladesh has a lot of people it's still quite a lot of money - all to at least triple their GHG emissions.

Jul 29, 2017 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Correction - I think I'm punch drunk. The reference at the start of the last post to China should have been a reference to India. China is still to come and should prove to be interesting!

Jul 29, 2017 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Eritrea next (INDC submitted on 24th September 2015).

"In 2010, the population of Eritrea was estimated to be 3.2 million with an annual population growth rate of 2.9%, comprising of 65% living in the rural areas. The economic activity, for most of the population, mainly relies on rain fed agriculture and artisanal fisheries." There seems to be much uncertainty regarding their population size, since a website called "World Population Review" says this:

"The population of Eritrea has grown from just 5.29 million in 2008 to an estimated 6.7 million in 2015, and its population is continuing its rapid increase." In other words, they think the population is more than twice what Eritrea's own government thought it was in 2010. I must admit, I find it odd that the INDC refers to an estimated 2010 population figure, when the population is rising rapidly, and the INDC was prepared 5 years later. If the uncertainty is real, then it does seem to me to cast doubt on projections of anticipated GHG emissions by 2030 etc.

Be that as it may, "In 2010, the total greenhouse gases emission estimated using the GACMO model amounts to
ktCO2 3972, whereas, the business as usual scenario of GHGs emission in the year 2030 is expected to be ktCO2 6331."

"The country focussing on the energy sector assumes two scenarios, in the mitigation of the greenhouse gases emission plans for the next 15 years: reducing by 39.2% unconditionally and 80.6 % in the conditional scenario assuming external assistance compared to the business as usual scenarios." On those figures, on the face of it, the unconditional offer would see GHG emissions return broadly to 2010 emissions levels, while the conditional offer would see a significant real-terms reduction.

It's just a pity that it won't actually make much difference, since: "Eritrea makes a formal commitment to limit the growth of GHG emission despite only emitting less than 0.01% of the global GHG emissions in 2010. In the Business As Usual as of 2030 its emission is only about 1.15 t CO2 -eq/capita or 0.31 tCO2-eq/US$."

Costs - mitigation: "The full and effective implementation of the Climate resilient Economy Strategy Eritrea requires an estimated expenditure of more than USD 1,086 million by 2030." Of this, $694 million needs to come from the international community to support the conditional offer of real-term reductions.

Costs - adaptation: $4.705 billion, of which they need $3.048 billion from the international community.

But then they say this: "Over the coming 15 years Eritrea needs total investment in the conditional scenarios of USD 7.2
billion.This includes 15% of the total budget will be required for governance and capacity building across all sectors for effective implementation of both adaptation and mitigation programs." Presumably the difference between the mitigation and adaptation totals (c. $6Bn) and the $7.2Bn just referred to is explained by the 15% for governance and capacity building.

To be generous, we'll use the high population figure and the lowest combined figures from the international community, so it's foreign finance of $3.742 Bn to be divided between roughly 7 million people. That's around $500 for every man, woman and child in Eritrea (or $1,000 each if the Government's own figures are correct). Not huge amounts by the standards of some we have looked at, and a more impressive offer than many. It's just a pity that we're talking about such small emissions levels against those sums of money.

Jul 29, 2017 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mongolia next (INDC submitted on 24th September 2015).

Their offer is against a Business as Usual scenario, and they tell us that 2010 GHG emissions are 21.9 Mt CO2-eq while 2030 emissions are projected to be 51.2 Mt CO2 -eq.

Against that their offer " estimated to result in approximately an annual reduction of 7.3 Mt CO2-eq. of economy-wide emissions in 2030, corresponding to a 14% reduction compared to a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, excluding LULUCF."

The only problem is that this still amounts to a doubling of emissions between 2010 and 2030 (in fairness, nearer to a 50 increase between 2015 and 2030). The only other problem is that even this offer is a conditional one - "contingent upon the continuation of international support to complement domestic efforts."

And it costs money (though in the scheme of these things globally, not all that much):

" In order to successfully implement the policies and measures as part of this contribution (Table 1), as well as the proposed additional measures (described in section 3b), Mongolia will seek international funding, capacity building and technology supports to complement its domestic resource allocations and efforts. Mongolia will articulate its specific needs, and communicate the potential supporting role of the international community. As a preliminary indication, some
specific measures that will be important to reach the proposed targets are described in Table 2, with estimated investment needs of 3.5 billion USD. The anticipated financing modalities will be described at a later date, but a substantial private sector share is expected (leveraged by public funds) to be a part of the funding. Mongolia is interested in opportunities to access international climate funds namely the Green Climate Fund and in participation with crediting mechanisms to implement these measures."

In addition: "Rough estimations of adaptation measures, listed in Table 3, shows that in the future Mongolia will need
around 3.4 billion USD for funding in technology and capacity building. Up to 80% of total need expected to be financed from international sources and donor institutions."

So, a total of $6.9 Bn, and an indicative assumption that they need around 80% from the international community. Say $5.5 Bn of international assistance for a population of roughly 3 million, according to internet searches - almost $2,000 for every man,woman and child in the country, in return for a 50% increase in GHG emissions.

Jul 29, 2017 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mark Hodgson, I seem to have upset a spam filter over Peru, and flickering power and BT lines over the South Downs!

Try Kazakhstan from Wikipedia.

In answer to the questions unanswered by their INDCs

"Kazakhstan has estimated 30 billion barrels of oil reserves. The main reserves are in five largest onshore oil fields of Tengiz – the largest oil producing field with 565,000 barrels per day of crude in 2011 - Karachaganak, Aktobe, Mangistau, and Uzen, all of which are located in the western part of the country. These hold half of current proven reserves. The offshore fields of Kashagan and Kurmanagazy in the Caspian Sea are estimated to hold minimum 14 million barrels"

"Kazakhstan sits on Central Asia’s largest recoverable coal reserves. At 33.6 billion tonnes the reserves represent 3.8 per cent of global total reserves. (2013). In 2013, the country produced 58.4 million tones.[11] Coal production stands at 70 per cent of what it was during the Soviet Union."

"Kazakhstan’s proven reserves of natural gas are 85 trillion cubic feet. (2013). Majority of natural gas reserves are located in the west of Kazakhstan and concentrated in four fields – Karachanganak (46 per cent), Tengiz (12 per cent), Imashevskoye (7 per cent) and Kashagan (12 per cent).[9] Between 2000-2012 the natural gas production increased four times to 40.1 billion cubic meters in 2012. However, only 53 per cent of this gas was for commercial purposes; the rest was re-injected into oil fields to enhance production.[10]"

Jul 29, 2017 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Mark Hodgson and Supertroll
Having made previous comments about the low value of low lying coral islands, to sailing ships and modern shipping, Vanuatu is an archipelago of volcanos with coral atolls.

The volcanic soil and climate was good for agriculture for the indigenous population and colonial powers.

Wikipedia notes:
"In 1825, the trader Peter Dillon's discovery of sandalwood on the island of Erromango began a rush of immigrants that ended in 1830 after a clash between immigrant Polynesian workers and indigenous Melanesians. During the 1860s, planters in Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Samoa Islands, in need of labourers, encouraged a long-term indentured labour trade called "blackbirding"

Blackbirding links to this Wikipedia entry " the coercion of people through trickery and kidnapping to work as labourers. From the 1860s, blackbirding ships in the Pacific sought workers to mine the guano deposits on the Chincha Islands in Peru."

[As a digression, and nothing to do with Vanuatu, "Blackbirders, blackbirding" etc were references to slave traders operating in the Atlantic before AND after the trade was made illegal. was 1781, the UK abolished slavery 1833]

Modern Economy from Wikipedia
"Financial services are an important part of the economy. Vanuatu is a tax haven that until 2008 did not release account information to other governments or law-enforcement agencies. International pressure, mainly from Australia, influenced the Vanuatu government to begin adhering to international norms to improve transparency."

"In Vanuatu, there is no income tax, withholding tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, or exchange control."

"Many international ship-management companies choose to flag their ships under the Vanuatu flag, because of the tax benefits and favourable labour laws (Vanuatu is a full member of the International Maritime Organization and applies its international conventions). Vanuatu is recognised as a "flag of convenience" country."

Vanuatu has no fossil fuels. Without cheap reliable power, its modern economy, along with the flights of its tourists is stuffed.

Jul 29, 2017 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Golf charlie - please keep ferreting!

Indonesia next (INDC submitted on 24th September 2015).

Their INDC is surprisingly light on detail, for a country with approximately 260 million inhabitants (the 4th most populous country on the planet) and with rather large problems from burning forests (ironically much of which is to clear land for biofuels growth).

Before getting to the detail of their INDC, this article is of interest, to put things into context:

"According to estimates released this week by Guido van der Werf on the Global Fire Emissions Database, there have been nearly 100,000 active fire detections in Indonesia so far in 2015, which since September have generated emissions each day exceeding the average daily emissions from all U.S. economic activity. Following several recent intense outbreaks of fires—in June 2013, March 2014 and November 2014—the country is now on track to experience more fires this year than it did during the 2006 fire season, one of its worst on record."

"Global Forest Watch Fires shows that more than half of these fires have occurred on peatland areas, concentrated mainly in South Sumatra, South and Central Kalimantan, and Papua....The burning of tropical peatlands is so significant for greenhouse gas emissions because these areas store some of the highest quantities of carbon on Earth, accumulated over thousands of years. Draining and burning these lands for agricultural expansion (such as conversion to oil palm or pulpwood plantations) leads to huge spikes in greenhouse gas emissions. Fires also emit methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2), but peat fires may emit up to 10 times more methane than fires occurring on other types of land. Taken together, the impact of peat fires on global warming may be more than 200 times greater than fires on other lands."

Their INDC even admits that "Most emissions (63%) are the result of land use change and peat and forest fires, with combustion of forest fuels contributing approximately 19% of total emissions."

All of which makes the virtuous noises in Indonesia's INDC a little hard to stomach. They offer an unconditional 29% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, and up to 41% with international support, but this is against a Business as Usual scenario. The problem with this is the rate at which their GHG emissions are increasing. They tell us that GHG emissions were 1,400 MtCO2eq in 2000, had risen to 1,800 in 2005, and the BaU scenario will see them double by 2030 from their 2000 figure, to 2,800. So even the conditional offer would only take them back to 2005 levels, and the unconditional offer would see their emissions rise.

Their INDC runs to only 8 pages plus a 3 page annex. It is extremely light on hard information. They would like international financial assistance, but they don't say how much. They devote one small paragraph to steps to clamp down on land use change, despite the hugely significant importance of this topic in the context of their GHG emissions.

To say I'm unimpressed would be an understatement.

Jul 29, 2017 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson


When Europeans first ventured around southern Africa, they encountered something that became the stuff of legends and fanciful stories, that have turned out to be true

Strong currents were one thing, but those that survived the rogue waves, probably did not experience the bigger ones that STILL sink large ships. It is channelled between Madagascar and Mozambique flowing south.

Quite why the Dutch sailed so far to the East of Madagascar is not known, but when they came across the Mauritius, it is probable that Arabians had been there before.

As a volcanic island group, there are mountains. Soil and water was readily available for settlers to farm, and visiting sailors were particularly partial to a bird known as the Dodo, so they ate them all.

The Dutch lost interest, and the French tried to make a go of it. During the Napoleonic Wars, it was a useful base for their "Corsairs" or commerce raiders, and after a rare and notable (apart from UK History textbooks) French Naval Victory
the British took the Islands with a larger invasion force in 1810.

British rule continued until Independence in 1968.

From Wikipedia
"Mauritius has no exploitable natural resources and therefore depends on imported petroleum products to meet most of its energy requirements. Local and renewable energy sources are biomass, hydro, solar and wind energy.[100] Mauritius has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world, and in 2012 the government announced its intention to develop the marine economy."

Mauritius is a paradise for tourists BECAUSE of oil.

Jul 30, 2017 at 12:22 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Brazil. I am sure that the amount of Brazilian rainforest disappearing every day was a big issue back in the 1980s. Perhaps it was exaggerated.
The Amazonian rain forest has become synonymous with Environmentalists, but they are unable to link any of the poorly defined problems with Global Warming.

From Wikipedia
"Brazil has become the fourth largest car market in the world.[228] Major export products include aircraft, electrical equipment, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, footwear, iron ore, coffee, orange juice, soybeans and corned beef.[229] In total, Brazil ranks 23rd worldwide in value of exports."

"Corruption costs Brazil almost $41 billion a year alone, with 69.9% of the country's firms identifying the issue as a major constraint in successfully penetrating the global market.[239]"

"Brazil is the world's tenth largest energy consumer with much of its energy coming from renewable sources, particularly hydroelectricity and ethanol; the Itaipu Dam is the world's largest hydroelectric plant by energy generation."

"The first car with an ethanol engine was produced in 1978 and the first airplane engine running on ethanol in 2005."

"Recent oil discoveries in the Pre-salt layer have opened the door for a large increase in oil production"

Brazil is not ready or able to give up on oil.

Jul 30, 2017 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Central African Republic

Wkipedia has this:
"Despite its significant mineral deposits and other resources, such as uranium reserves, crude oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt,lumber, and hydropower,[7] as well as significant quantities of arable land, the Central African Republic is among the ten poorest countries in the world. As of 2015, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), the country had the lowest level of human development, ranking 188th out of 188 countries."

I don't think Global Warming had anything to do with any of these issues, and residents of the C A R know that. Anthropogenic problems? Yes.

Jul 30, 2017 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Senegal has a coast and a river that medieval legend deemed was full of gold.

Ancient legend also told of a river route from the Nile headwaters to the Atlantic Coast, south of the Sahara. The River Senegal was definitely a possible route.

Independence from France was gained in 1960

Wkipedia includes:
"Senegal has a 12-nautical-mile (22 km; 14 mi) exclusive fishing zone that has been regularly breached in recent years (as of 2014). It has been estimated that the country's fishermen lose 300,000 tonnes of fish each year to illegal fishing. The Senegalese government have tried to control the illegal fishing which is conducted by fishing trawlers, some of which are registered in Russia, Mauritania, Belize and Ukraine. In January 2014 a Russian trawler, Oleg Naydenov, was seized by Senegalese authorities close to the maritime border with Guinea-Bissau."

"The main industries include food processing, mining, cement, artificial fertilizer, chemicals, textiles, refining imported petroleum, and tourism. Exports include fish, chemicals, cotton, fabrics, groundnuts, and calcium phosphate. The principal foreign market is India with 26.7% of exports (as of 1998). Other foreign markets include the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom."

"Senegal is a major recipient of international development assistance. Donors include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Japan, France and China"


"Senegal's major source of electricity is mostly diesel and gas, with an installed capacity of 633 MW."

"Senelec is dealing with a chronic electricity production gap. which has worsened due to growing demand for electricity – the average demand increase during 2005-2009 is estimated at 7%, representing an electricity consumption of 1.933 TWh in 2005 to an estimated 2.66 TWh in 2009. The company is experiencing declining reliability of aging power plants."

"Senegal's GDP growth was hindered in 2007 by frequent electricity outages, which caused a slowdown of the economic and manufacturing activities. The GDP growth rate decreased to 2.1% in 2006 from 5.5% in 2005. According to local reports, the outages have contributed to the closure of many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food processing, textileand tourism sectors. Larger companies are reporting declines in output averaging 30%"

Senegal's problems are shortages of fossil fuels, not surpluses of global warming.

Jul 30, 2017 at 1:37 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jul 28, 2017 at 8:27 PM | Mark Hodgson

Kiribati. Your post highlights Kiribati's claim to be one of the most at risk from Global Warming.
From Wikipedia:
"The nation comprises 33 atolls and reef islands and one raised coral island,Banaba. They have a total land area of 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi)[11] and are dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres (1,351,000 square miles). Their spread straddles the equator".

It is worth looking at an atlas to see how big an area of the Pacific is included within Kiribati. Tropical storms are reluctant to go near the equator, for fear they will have to start spinning in the opposite direction or something. Kiribati straddles the equator.

Wikipedia adds:
"In June 2008, Kiribati officials asked Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees. Kiribati is expected to be the first country to lose all its land territory to global warming. In June 2008, the Kiribati President Anote Tong said that the country has reached "the point of no return." He added, "To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful but I think we have to do that."

"In early 2012, the government of Kiribati purchased the 2,200-hectare Natoavatu Estate on the second largest island of Fiji, Vanua Levu. At the time it was widely reported that the government planned to evacuate the entire population of Kiribati to Fiji. In April 2013, President Tong began urging citizens to evacuate the islands and migrate elsewhere.[41] In May 2014, the Office of the President confirmed the purchase of some 5,460 acres of land on Vanua Levu at a cost of 9.3 million Australian dollars."

But, but, but, 20 years before ....
"In the post-independence era, overcrowding has been a problem, at least in British and aid organisations' eyes. In 1988, an announcement was made that 4,700 residents of the main island group would be resettled onto less-populated islands."

So just how fast are sea levels rising at either end of Kiribati?

Jul 30, 2017 at 2:39 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Thanks gc, as ever. It's always useful to add context to the bald contents of the INDCs.

I should also have mentioned in my mini-rant about Indonesia that I'm not the only one to be cynical about their INDC:

Madagascar next (INDC submitted on 24th September 2015).

"Madagascar is a least developed country with non-significant greenhouse gases emissions. Primary sectors, particularly agriculture and fisheries, are prominent in the national economy. Furthermore, the country has an exceptional biodiversity that need to be preserved. In this context, approximately 7 million hectares, representing 11.9% of national territory is declared protected areas, as of May 2015. Electrification level is extremely low, with about 20% of households benefiting from electric lightning. This explains its dependence on fuelwood, which will persist in the medium term."

"The national contribution of the Republic of Madagascar is the result of mitigation measures targeted to relevant sectors, compared to the national reference scenario BAU (business as usual; see Figure 1). In 2030, Madagascar aims to reduce approximately 30 MtCO2 of its emissions of GHG, representing 14% of national emissions, compared to the BAU scenario, with projections based of GHG inventory from year 2000 to 2010. This reduction is additive to the absorptions increase of the LULUCF sector, which estimated at 61 MtCO2 in 2030. Total increase in GHG absorption is expected at 32%, compared to the BAU scenario."

"However, these objectives remain conditioned by financial support, which will be received from global partners (conditional contributions). Madagascar relies on the international community support to reach this objective through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other existing or future financial mechanisms. The estimate costs of the mitigation actions will be above 6 billion US dollars."

"If nothing is done, Madagascar’s total emissions will increase from ca. 87 MtCO2 in the year 2000 to reach 214 MtCO2 in 2030. Total absorptions will decrease from 290 MtCO2 in 2000 to 92 MtCO2 in 2030, which will change the country’s status of carbon sink of 203 MtCO2 in year 2000 to an emitting source of 22 MtCO2 in 2030."

They supply a table to back this up, which shows Madagascar going from a significant carbon sink in 2000 to a sink only 10% of 2000 levels by 2020, and a net emitter by 2030. That is the BaU scenario. It is against that background that their offer needs to be read. Their offered reductions in GHG emissions against BaU still represent real-terms increases. This, at least, is positive:

"Madagascar is currently developing a diversified reforestation program. This document proposes increasing the total areas under forest cover, with an indigenous species reforestation program of 270,000 ha."

But if I were running Madagascar, I would consider the following paragraph to be of the utmost importance:

"Madagascar is a least developed country with 440 USD per capita GPD, well below the average of the Sub-Saharan poor countries. More than 91% of households are categorised as poor, living with less than 2 dollars per day, with a poverty index of 36.1. National GHG emissions represent 0.2% of global emissions, therefore being a net carbon sinks of 13 MtCO2 per capita in 2000, which is 3 MtCO2 per capita as in 2010." In other words, they don't really need to worry about INDCs, since they're not contributing at all in global terms to the perceived climate change problem, and they have rather bigger issues to worry about.

Perhaps they realise that, since adaptation measures are far and away the bigger part of their INDC. Whilst mitigation will cost $6 Bn: "The estimated amount of the adaptation cost is 28.713 billion US dollars."

"The country’s willingness to struggle with climate change has led to the existence of many policy framework documents and legal instruments conducive to the implementation of actions to cope with climate change. It is noteworthy that Madagascar will undertake efforts for both the effective implementation of existing regulatory instruments, as well as to elaborate new policies in order to support the implementation of actions linked to the national contributions."

Then they add capacities building and technology development, transfer and research into the mix, also with price tags attached. Basically, their INDC looks like an enormous request for international aid:

"Costs associated with the implementation of the actions of this INDC are estimated at USD 42.099 billion (see Table 2). Madagascar, on the basis of these external contributions and national contributions, has setting up a national mechanism sustainability of actions against the climate change operational before the end of 2020. In order to demonstrate its commitment against climate change, the Republic of Madagascar with internal resources will contribute to the implementation of the actions of SCOND up 4% of the cost amounts."

Fair play to them for playing the UN game of climate change monopoly. After deducting their own 4% offered contribution, Madagascar seek over $40 Bn from the international community. They don't tell us what their population is, but a quick internet search suggests it is of the order of 25 million. So they seek around $1,600 for every man, woman and child in Madagascar, all for a country which is a marginal "carbon sink" and will remain a marginal "carbon sink" after receipt of said funds (assuming they are forthcoming now).

Jul 30, 2017 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Albania next (INDC submitted on 24th September 2015).

Albania must be one of the European countries with the greatest problems, and the fact that its INDC runs to just 3 pages rather demonstrates this.

The other issue they have is knowing where they stand with GHG emissions:

"Having high uncertainty of data regarding non CO2 greenhouse gases results that Albania is to provide its INDC 
regarding CO2.  If data quality of non‐ CO2 greenhouse gases improves, Albania intends to expand its INDC to other greenhouse gases as well."

But they're confident that they don't emit much in the way of GHGs anyway:

"Albania is a developing country, highly vulnerable to the effects of the climate change. National emissions of the greenhouse gases represent only 0,017 % of global emissions and the net per capita GHG emissions Albania was 2.76 tCO2e which is less the a quarter of emissions of high‐income countries."

Baseline is: "Business As Usual scenario of emissions projections based on economic growth in the absence of climate change 
policies, starting from 2016."

Their offer is:

"The INDC of Albania is a baseline scenario target: it commits to reduce CO2 emissions compared to the baseline 
scenario in the period of 2016 and 2030 by 11.5 %.  This reduction means 708 kT carbon‐dioxide emission reduction in 2030."

Sounds good, but it does represent a real-terms increase, although to what extent precisely is difficult to ascertain, given the paucity of information in the INDC. Still, I don't blame them!

Jul 30, 2017 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Ghana next (INDC submitted on 23rd September 2015).

"Based on its national circumstances, Ghana has put forward mitigation and adaptation actions in its INDC. The inclusion of both mitigation and adaptation in the INDC resonate with the medium-term development agenda (Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda II – GSGDA 2), the anticipated 40-year socio-economic transformational plan and the universal sustainable development goals. In all, 20 mitigation and 11 adaptation programme of actions in 7 priority economic sectors are being proposed for implementation in the 10-year period (2020-2030). The implementation of the actions are expected to help attain low carbon climate resilience through effective adaptation and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction in the following priority sectors:
 Sustainable land use including food security
 Climate proof infrastructure
 Equitable social development
 Sustainable mass transportation
 Sustainable energy security
 Sustainable forest management; and
 Alternative urban waste management.
These 31 programme of actions will drive the strategic focus of a “10-year post-2020 enhanced climate action plan” that would be developed after Paris. In the 10-year period, Ghana needs USD 22.6 billion in investments from domestic and international public and private sources to finance these actions. USD 6.3 billion is expected to be mobilized from
domestic sources whereas the USD 16.3 billion will come from international support."

What will that $16.3 Bn of international money achieve?

"Ghana’s emission reduction goal is to unconditionally lower its GHG emissions by 15 percent relative to a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario emission of 73.95MtCO2e by 2030.
An additional 30 percent emission reduction is attainable on condition that external support is made available to Ghana to cover the full cost of implementing the mitigation action (finance, technology transfer, capacity building). With this external support, a total emission reduction of 45% below the BUA [sic] emission levels can be achieved by 2030."

The problem, as we have seen so often, is that a reduction in GHG emissions against a BaU scenario, is that it equates to a real-terms increase in emissions, in this case quite substantially:

"Without prejudice to the outcome of our emission reduction goal, the outlook of Ghana’s emission trajectory for 2020 to 2030 is projected as follows:
 Under BAU emissions are expected to rise from 19.53 MtCO2e in 2010 to 37.81 MtCO2e in 2020, to 53.5 MtCO2e in 2025 and 73.95MtCO2e in 2030.
 Under the unconditional emission reduction goal, emissions are expected to decrease by 12 percent and 15 percent relative to the BAU emission levels in 2025 and 2030 respectively.
 A similar emission trajectory is anticipated under the “conditional emission reduction goal” except that the degree of deviation relative to the BAU emission is higher compared to the projections under the unconditional goal. Under the “conditional emission reduction goal”, emission are expected to decrease by 27 percent and 45 percent relative to the BAU emissions in 2025 and 2030 respectively."

BaU from 2015 equates roughly to a trebling of emissions by 2030. The unconditional offer still equates to a more than doubling, and the conditional offer would still see emissions increasing by roughly 50% between 2015 and 2030.

Arguably this looks again like an attempt to obtain development money from the international community under the guise of climate change mitigation and adaptation, since Ghana "only emitted 0.1% of global GHG emissions in 2012" and the real issue (poverty) is tucked away:

"As a developing country, the lack of fiscal space to finance priority issues including poverty reduction policies including investments in education, health and basic infrastructure constrains the country's effort to finance and implement climate
mitigation and adaptation policies."

They don't tell us what their population is, but an internet search suggests something under 29 million. $16.3 billion divided between 29 million people works out at roughly $560 per capita. A lot less than many countries we have looked at, but then $16.3 Bn is a lot of money to assist them increase their GHG emissions by 50%.

Jul 30, 2017 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Montenegro next (INDC submitted on 23rd September 2015).

Early on they demonstrate that they know what they need to say:

"The region of South East Europe, including Montenegro, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change thus avoiding dangerous climate change is of paramount importance for the country." No evidence is cited to back this up.

"Montenegro is a non-Annex I country with a population of 621 200. According to 2013 data GDP per capita is 5 356 EUR. Size of country causes reduced flexibility in the application of policies in some emitting sectors where single source of emissions can be dominant, distorting the emission profile of the country. Also, it should be noted that tourism is one of the main drivers of the economy, having the number of tourists visiting the country annually more than twice of the number of local population.
Montenegro’s contribution to the international effort to avoid dangerous climate change is expressed in 30 % emission reduction by 2030 compared to the 1990 base year. The emission level of greenhouse gases for Montenegro from sectors covered by INDC was 5239 kilotons in 1990 and Montenegro pledges to reduce it at least by 1572 kilotons, to the level below or at 3667 kilotons. The reduction is to be achieved by general increase of energy efficiency, improvement of industrial technologies, increase of the share of renewables and modernization in the power sector."

Their INDC runs to only 4 pages, and is short of detailed information to enable me to produce a detailed analysis. I don't know how BaU compares to 1990, so I don't know if their offer comprises a real-terms reduction or increase in GHG emissions, though I suspect the latter, given the 1990 start date and the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s with all the problems they experienced in that terrible decade there.

This also forms part of their plans - more smoke and mirrors:

"Montenegro intends to sell carbon credits during the period to contribute towards achieving its emission reduction objectives as assistance to cost-effective implementation of the low emission development pathway."

It's difficult to know what to make of it, but arguably it doesn't much matter anyway:

"Montenegro is a non-Annex I country, highly vulnerable to the effects of the climate change. National emissions of the greenhouse gases represent only 0,009 % of global emissions...".

Jul 30, 2017 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Gwen, Mark. I visited the Chincha Islands of Peru travelling by rubber boat and outboard motor from the mainland. A very cold passage. On approaching the islands we saw the smooth flattened tops of the islands were white. I thought this was guano but it wasn't, it was seabirds, packed so tightly that you couldn't see any of the underlying dark volcanic rock. At sealevel there were hundreds of penguins and on the journey to and from the islands we saw sealions, orca and a large unidentified large whale. If any of you get the chance to go, take it, but also take warm clothing.

Consulted Wikki to determine if it truly was the Chincha islands that I visited (rather than some other islands along the same coast) and came across the entry for the Chincha Islands War. If you haven't read it Gwen I recommend it - talk about colonial overreach.

Jul 30, 2017 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

For anyone else who is not sure whether Moldova/Moldavia etc is or was a made up fictional country, all you have to do is memorise this from Wikipedia

"Most of the Moldovan territory was a part of the Principality of Moldavia from the 14th century until 1812, when it was cededto the Russian Empire by the Ottoman Empire (to which Moldavia was a vassal state) and became known as Bessarabia. In 1856, southern Bessarabia was returned to Moldavia, which three years later united with Wallachia to form Romania, but Russian rule was restored over the whole of the region in 1878. During the 1917 Russian Revolution, Bessarabia briefly became an autonomous and then independent Moldavian Democratic Republic until it was integrated into Romania in 1918 following a vote of its assembly. The decision was disputed by Soviet Russia, which, in 1924, allowed the establishment, within the Ukrainian SSR, of a Moldavian autonomous republic (MASSR) on partial Moldovan-inhabited territories to the east of the Dniester. In 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia to the Soviet Union, leading to the creation of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian SSR), which included the greater part of Bessarabia and the western most strip of the former MASSR"

Obviously recent Moldovan history is simpler.

"On 27 August 1991, as part of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Moldavian SSR declared independence and took the name Moldova. ... The strip of the Moldovan territory on the east bank of the Dniester river has been under the de facto control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990."

"Due to a decrease in industrial and agricultural output following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the service sector has grown to dominate Moldova's economy and currently composes over 60% of the nation's GDP. Its economy is the poorest in Europe in per capita terms."

Still not sure about Moldova? " Moldova is also the least visited country in Europe by tourists with only 11,000 annually recorded visitors from abroad"

Energy in Moldova

"Moldova lacks domestic sources of fossil energy and must import substantial amounts of petroleum, coal, natural gas, and other energy resources."

"Renewable energy is used in country primarily for electricity generation or heating. The projected share of renewable energyin 2020 in the gross final consumption of energy is 20%." Presumably nothing much at the moment

"Moldova imports all of its supplies of petroleum, coal, and natural gas, largely from Russia."

Moldova is exceptionally vulnerable to changes in the political climate between Moldova and Russia.

Jul 30, 2017 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie