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Discussion > The Paris Accords and INDCs

Eritrea excerpts from Wikipedia:
"Eritrea can be split into three ecoregions. To the east of the highlands are the hot, arid coastal plains stretching down to the southeast of the country. The cooler, more fertile highlands, reaching up to 3000m has a different habitat. Habitats here vary from the sub-tropical rainforestat Filfil Solomona to the precipitous cliffs and canyons of the southern highlands."

"The Afar Triangle or Danakil Depression of Eritrea is the probable location of a triple junction where three tectonic plates are pulling away from one another. The highest point of the country, Emba Soira, is located in the center of Eritrea, at 3,018 meters (9,902 ft) above sea level."

"The economy of Eritrea has experienced considerable growth in recent years, indicated by an improvement in gross domestic product (GDP) in October 2012 of 7.5 percent over 2011.[97] A big reason for the recent growth of the Eritrean economy is the commencement of full operations in the gold and silver Bisha mine and the production of cement from the cement factory in Massawa"

Located in the Horn of Africa, with a Red Sea Coastline but no oil, Eritrea would make be an ideal location for the United Nations to approve large, medium and small scale solar power installations.

How many litres of desalinated water can be produced, per day, per square metre of solar panel?

Aug 1, 2017 at 2:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Eritrea is one of the places that I would have liked to visit but haven't. In the Afar Depression are places where sea water has seeped through fractures and become altered during it's passage through volcanically heated rocks. In so doing it has been massively changed chemically losing for example all its sulphate. Upon reaching the surface in an extremely hot and ultra-arid setting, it evaporates almost completely. It is one of a very few natural locations where potash salts precipitate today and there is a large deposit of these valuable salts. There have been several attempts to exploit this resource, but there are technical problems and the political instability and the hostile natural environment don't help. Nor does the relatively low price of potash set by the efficient Saskatchewan potash mines.

Eritrea has large geothermal potential, but that's a different thread.

Aug 1, 2017 at 6:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Another country I have briefly visited was Georgia during a Black Sea cruise holiday. We stopped off at the main port Batumi and were extremely fortunate that on that day the National Dance Troup was visiting. They were fabulous; if you ever get a chance to see them take it. We saw them perform three times that day - once at a theatre performance, again on board our ship, but best of all at an impromptu performance for Batumi residents who had come to see the first cruise ship to visit. That performance, seen looking down onto the jetty was magical. I can still picture it. Unfortunately a few months later war with Russia erupted, Batumi was damaged by shellfire and the cruise we took no longer visits Georgia.
During that visit we went to a very poor excuse for a local museum where I saw a model of Georgia's oldest bridge, a design straight out of Ming China. I had just been reading about the Silk Road, one branch of which ended in Georgia, and here was direct evidence of the link. The museum director really didn't want to know.
I have a very soft spot for Georgia.

Aug 1, 2017 at 6:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Morocco next (INDC submitted on 5th June 2015).

The important part of the INDC is helpfully set out in a single paragraph:

"Morocco’s commitment is to reduce its GHG emissions by 32% by 2030 compared to “business as usual” projected emissions. This commitment is contingent upon gaining access to new sources of finance and enhanced support, compared to that received over the past years, within the context of a new legally-binding agreement under the auspices of the UNFCCC. This target translates into a cumulative reduction of 401 Mt CO2eq over the period 2020-2030. Meeting this target will require an overall investment in the order of USD 45 billion, of which USD 35 billion is conditional upon international support through new climate finance mechanisms,such as the Green Climate Fund."

That breaks down as to a 13% unconditional "reduction" and a further 19% conditional on international finance.

As so often, this isn't a real reduction at all. The BaU scenario would see GHG emissions increasing between 2015 and 2030 by approximately 2/3, so the 19% reduction from that scenario implies a real-terms increase in GHG emissions of close to 50%, while the conditional target would still see emissions rise slightly.

Their 0.2% of global GHG emissions is relatively small, but not insignificant, so a real reduction would have been nice, especially in return for $35 billion of international finance. They also seek around $2.5 Billion for adaptation measures.

Their INDC doesn't tell us what their population is, but a quick internet search suggests it's a little over 35 million, so that works out conveniently at $1,000 per capita, in return for a small increase in GHG emissions.

Mind you, read it for yourselves:

They're fully signed up to the language of climate change monopoly. No wonder the last climate shindig was held there!

Aug 1, 2017 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Canada next (INDC submitted on 15th May 2015).

It's interesting how nearly every state seems to have unique issues with climate change:

"As a vast Northern nation, Canada faces unique challenges in addressing climate change: a growing population, extreme temperatures, a large landmass, and a diversified growing economy with significant natural resources are some of the circumstances influencing Canadian greenhouse gas emissions."

Many of those "significant natural resources" are of course fossil fuels.

Despite that: " Canada has one of the cleanest electricity systems among G-7 and G-20 nations and one of the cleanest in the world, with almost 80% of our electricity supply already emitting no greenhouse gases. Since 2011, Canada’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions have been at their lowest levels since tracking began in 1990 while the economy has continued to grow."

Which is impressive, but then wonders how that sits with this statement:

" Canada represents only 1.6% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions...". Only? I regard 1.6% as a reasonably significant proportion of the whole, especially for a country of a little over 36 million people, or around 0.5% of the world's human population.

Nevertheless, their INDC offer is strong, and offers an absolute reduction, not just one against a Business as Usual scenario:

"Canada intends to achieve an economy-wide target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030."

Arguably, though, the offer is not quite so candid and straightforward as at first appears:

"Canada may also use international mechanisms to achieve the target, subject to robust systems that deliver real and verified emissions reductions."

Unlike some countries, notably China and India, Canada does intend to reduce its use of coal:

"Building on the strong base of clean electricity generation, Canada has established stringent coalfired electricity standards that ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units, and will accelerate the phase-out of existing coal-fired electricity generation units."

They do now have a problem, though. Their INDC is peppered with statements like:

"Canada’s regulatory approach is aligned with that of the United States, where appropriate, recognizing the importance of cooperative action in an integrated North American marketplace. Canada will continue take cooperative action with its continental trading partners, particularly the United States, and will work towards further action in integrated sectors of the economy, including energy and transportation."

It will be interesting to see if their INDC requires amendment, following the withdrawal of the USA under Trump, from the Paris Accords. Will that "cooperative action" referred to in Canada's INDC now change or cease?

I do find the "green" verbiage a little hard to take in the INDCs of some oil-producing countries. The Middle Eastern oil producing countries came up with INDCs which I required as little more than a joke. Canada's isn't a joke - they are offering real reductions in GHG emissions by 2030, building on a n existing downward trend. But, other than referring euphemistically to their "significant natural resources" they don't mention their plans for extraction and export of fossil fuels to help fund their GHG emissions reduction plans.

For instance, a quick internet search (and it WAS quick, there are plenty of references) produced this:

"Crude oil proved reserves (recoverable under current technological and economic conditions) at the end of 2010 were estimated at 27.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) – providing Canada with the third most important resource base, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Oil sands represented the majority of these reserves with 26.9 bcm, while conventional sources amounted to 0.7 bcm. The ultimate resource potential (recoverable as technology improves) from the Alberta oil sands is estimated to be more than 50.0 bcm.
Production of crude oil in Canada totalled 167.4 million m3 in 2010. Oil sands accounted for 51.9 percent of production, exceeding conventional sources for the first time.
About two thirds of crude oil production is exported, while the balance is processed by Canadian refineries into refined petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel and heating oil. Canadian refineries – especially those far from major domestic production areas – also process imported crude oil purchased on the international market.
Natural gas proved reserves at the end of 2010 totalled 1 727.5 bcm. Of this amount, about 95 percent is from conventional sources, and the remainder is from unconventional sources (such as coal bed methane and shale gas). The total potential from conventional resources is estimated to be 10.1 trillion cubic metres (tcm), while recent estimates suggest that the potential from unconventional resources is in the range of 10.7 to 26.8 tcm.
Marketable production of natural gas in Canada amounted to 144.4 bcm in 2010. Close to two thirds of this production was exported to the United States (U.S.), and the balance was sold to Canadian consumers."

In case you get the wrong impression, this isn't from a green pressure group having a go at what it sees as double standards. The web-site in question is Natural Resources Canada, a web-site produced by the Canadian government. It's a good job that, just as we in the UK export jobs, manufacturing and GHG emissions to China, and therefore don't count them, Canada doesn't have to account for the GHG emissions released by their vast fossil fuel exports. If they did, their INDC would probably look very unimpressive indeed.

Aug 1, 2017 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

where I saw a model of Georgia's oldest bridge, a design straight out of Ming China. I had just been reading about the Silk Road, one branch of which ended in Georgia, and here was direct evidence of the link. The museum director really didn't want to know.
I have a very soft spot for Georgia.

Aug 1, 2017 at 6:29 AM | Supertroll

"The Silk Road" and its various offshoots, tributaries and deltas spread to the Atlantic coastlines of Europe and Africa. It was not just materials that moved, but ideas and technologies. Getting to the "other end" of the Silk Road, by sea, was why Christopher Columbus sailed West.

Was it a timber bridge that caught your eye in Georgia?
The concept of the Chinese timber Rainbow Bridge fascinates engineers - is it structurally an arch, or not?!

Aug 1, 2017 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Gwen. I did not see the bridge only a model of it. I would suppose it would be stone. You correctly surmised it was a "rainbow bridge". I've tried crossing one in China, not that easy - much too steep at either end.

Aug 1, 2017 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Aug 1, 2017 at 5:07 PM | Supertroll

Digression Alert contd)
Silk Road is the promotional tag being used by China to recreate it, by linking railways across Asia from China to Europe.

Silk Road was the name of the (first?) Dark Web internet site closed down 4ish years ago. Not many of the transactions would have been logged for formal international trade or tax purposes.

Aug 1, 2017 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Back on track! Andorra next (INDC submitted on 30th April 2015). Unfortunately for me it's in French, so I'll keep it short, which is probably fair enough anyway, since they tell us that in 2010 their GHG emissions comprised only 0.00112% of the global total, having reduced by 21% (I think that's a 21% reduction in proportion of the whole, not in absolute terms) between 2000 and 2010.

Their offer is a 37% reduction between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2030 against a Business as Usual scenario. In fairness, GHG emissions in 2030 on a BaU scenario are slightly less than in 2010, so that does represent a real reduction of around 40% (which - by coincidence or not - ties in with the INDC of the EU which we've yet to come to).

I don't think they're asking for any money, so it's all a tick and pass; it's just a shame that their emissions reduction will be so small in absolute terms that it will make no difference to anything.

Aug 1, 2017 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Russia next (INDC submitted on 1st April 2015).

Perhaps it's appropriate that the submission date was April Fool's Day. The whole submission, in its English translation, runs to only two and a half pages.

At first blush the offer looks reasonably impressive:

"Limiting anthropogenic greenhouse gases in Russia to 70-75% of 1990 levels by the year 2030 might be a long-term indicator, subject to the maximum possible account of absorbing capacity of forests."

Russia (and the other ex-SSRs who play the same game) can plausibly claim that 1990 is an appropriate reference year, because 1990 is the base year for the national GHG inventory pursuant to the various climate protocols. However, that is extremely convenient for Russia, as it's also the last year before their economy fell off a cliff in the wake of the break-up of the USSR.

Their INDC rather disingenuously says this:

"GDP of the Russian Federation in 2012 amounted to 172.9% of the 2000 level while the GHG emissions (without land use, land-use change and forestry) had reached only 111.8% of the 2000 level. Thus, as the GDP was growing significantly at that time period, the increase in GHG emissions was minimal. The economic growth and GHG emissions can be definitively decoupled upon achievement of the earlier announced indicator, i.e. limitation of the GHG emissions to at most 75% of 1990 levels by the year 2020, and the INDC announced for 2030. There will be GHG emissions reduction per GDP unit."

However, the reality (which one has to search for on the internet, because Russia's INDC certainly doesn't tell us) is that despite GHG emissions starting to grow again in the Russian Federation from roughly the late 1990s, current levels are around 35% less than the 1990 figure. So, the offer actually amounts to a real increase in Russia's GHG emissions by 2030. I'm not the only one who is unimpressed. Climate Action Tracker's website says this (on a page last updated on 11th May 2017):

"Russia’s INDC emissions reduction target not only lies significantly above the emissions levels projected under current policies but also is one of the weakest put forward by any government. Russia’s emissions targets are, according to our analysis, “inadequate” under all interpretations of a “fair” contribution to global mitigation efforts.

Russia would not need to implement any new policy to achieve its current Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) target of 25 to 30% below 1990 levels by 2030, which is less ambitious than it appears at face value: it actually lies significantly above current policy projections. The large drop in emissions since 1990 is not explained by ambitious policies, but rather by the collapse of the centrally planned economy in the early 1990s.

Not only are the targets significantly above current policy projections, but the government has also made it clear that their achievement is conditional on the accounting rules advantageous to Russia such as “the maximum possible account of the absorbing capacity of forests” (UNFCCC, 2015). This means that Russia’s emissions may increase significantly in the future without it missing its INDC emissions target, which is incompatible with the efforts needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal.

Since our last assessment in 2016, there has been little progress in climate action implementation in Russia - and the new national strategy may delay the ratification of the Paris Agreement until at least 2019. Despite low political ambition, recent increases in investment in renewable energy, triggered by their co-benefits, as well as lower economic growth than previously expected will slow emissions growth. However, to contribute its fair share to global mitigation, Russia urgently needs to strengthen mitigation action in all sectors and reduce its high carbon-intensity. A first step in the right direction would be to present a strengthened 2030 target, with an emissions level below current policy projections."

Aug 1, 2017 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Gabon next (INDC submitted on 1st April 2015). Unfortunately this one is also written in French, so again I'll keep it brief (even though, unlike Russia's INDC, this one runs to 14 pages - mind you, French is a verbose language!).

Their offer is at least a 50% reduction against a Business as Usual scenario (or, if I've translated it correctly, "uncontrolled development") by 2025. But their graphs show both controlled and uncontrolled emissions on an upwards trajectory; it's just that controlled emissions will grow by less than uncontrolled emissions, which is hardly surprising.

In any event,with 88% of Gabon covered by forest, they sequester 4 times as much as they emit, so it's all a bit irrelevant really.

They seek international assistance in achieving their targets, but they don't say how much they seek.

Aug 1, 2017 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

USA next (INDC submitted on 31st March 2015). I suppose, following Trump's withdrawal of the USA from the process, I could safely ignore this one, but given that the USA is responsible for something around 15% of GHG emissions, it would be remiss of me not to take a look at what they were proposing.

This was their offer:

"...the United States intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%."

There were no smoke and mirrors:

"At this time, the United States does not intend to utilize international market mechanisms to implement its 2025 target."


"The United States intends to account for 100 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and removals for the base year 2005 as published in the Inventory of United States Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, on a net-net basis."

(Although I didn't make much of a point about it as I went through the INDCs, not all countries offered targets against the totality of their emissions, some limiting them to the most highly-emitting sectors - usually the energy sector).

Then, on the 5th (and last) page, there was this:

"In addition, since 2008 the United States has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from Federal Government operations by 17 percent and, under Executive Order 13693 issued on March 25th 2015, has set a new target to reduce these emissions 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2025."

It will be interesting to see what happens in the USA now.

Aug 1, 2017 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mexico next (INDC submitted on 30th March 2015).

"National emissions of GHG represents only 1.4% of global emissions." I love that word "only".

"Unconditional Reduction - Mexico is committed to reduce unconditionally 25% of its Greenhouse Gases and Short Lived Climate Pollutants emissions (below BAU) for the year 2030. This commitment implies a reduction of 22% of GHG and a reduction of 51% of Black Carbon ["a well-known Short-Lived Climate Pollutant"].
This commitment implies a net emissions peak starting from 2026, decoupling GHG emissions from economic growth: emissions intensity per unit of GDP will reduce by around 40% from 2013 to 2030.

Conditional Reduction - The 25% reduction commitment expressed above could increase up to a 40% in a conditional manner, subject to a global agreement addressing important topics including international carbon price, carbon border adjustments, technical cooperation, access to low cost financial resources and technology transfer, all at a scale
commensurate to the challenge of global climate change.

Within the same conditions, GHG reductions could increase up to 36%, and Black Carbon reductions to 70% in 2030.

Type - Emissions reduction relative to a Business As Usual baseline [NB!].

"Achieving our conditional goal will require fully functional bilateral, regional and international market mechanisms."

What does it mean in practice? Real increase in GHG emissions:

"2020: 906 MtCO2e (792 GHG and 114 BC / 127,177 metric tons)
2025: 1013 MtCO2e (888 GHG and 125 BC / 138,489 metric tons)
2030: 1110 MtCO2e (973 GHG and 137 BC / 152,332 metric tons)"

They don't give us earlier figures, but there is no doubt that the commitment of this country, which emits 1.6% of global GHG emissions,is to increase those emissions.

Aug 1, 2017 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Norway next (INDC submitted on 27th March 2015).

"Norway is committed to a target of an at least 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels."

"Norway intends to fulfil this commitment through a collective delivery with the EU and its Member States.
In the event that there is no agreement on a collective delivery with the EU, Norway will fulfil the commitment individually. The ambition level will remain the same in this event."

"Coverage - Economy wide; 100% of emissions covered".

"Expected use of international market based mechanisms, including how double counting will be avoided
 Through collective delivery with the EU
 Norwegian emissions are covered by the EU ETS, and Norway will through our participation in the ETS contribute to the necessary emission reductions. The EU ETS ensures that no double counting occurs.
 In meeting the emission reduction target in the non-ETS sectors, Norway assumes access to flexibility in implementation in line with what EU member states have. This includes flexibility among EU member states. Regarding the non-ETS sectors, Norway’s assumption is that an agreement between Norway and the EU on collective delivery will ensure that no double counting occurs.
 In this situation, there will be no use of international market credits towards the target. Norway does, however, support inclusion of market based mechanisms in the 2015 agreement, and the opportunity to continue using units accruing from the CDM and JI.
 In the case of an individual commitment
 If the commitment should be implemented by Norway individually, the ambition level of at least 40% emission reduction by 2030 compared to 1990 still stands.
 In this situation, Norway assumes that we will have access to flexible mechanisms as in the case with collective delivery with the EU. Norway will continue to use market based mechanisms under the UNFCCC. Strict criteria will be applied to ensure that such credits represent real and verifiable emission reductions and that double counting is avoided.
 Norway will seek an agreement of accounting for Norway’s participation in the EU ETS."

"According to the broad political agreement in 2012 on climate change, the aim is that Norway will be carbon-neutral in 2050. As part of an ambitious global climate agreement where other developed nations also undertake ambitious commitments, Norway will adopt a binding goal of carbon neutrality no later than in 2030. This means that Norway will commit to achieving emission reductions abroad equivalent to Norwegian emissions in 2030."

Even for a cynic like me, there's no arguing with that....Except that there's this:

The above Reuters article was dated 20th May 2016, and contains this:

"OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's greenhouse gas emissions rose by 1.5 percent last year, lifted by the oil and gas sector and industry, making it harder for Oslo to keep promises of deep cuts to limit global warming, official data showed on Friday.

Emissions rose to the equivalent of 53.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from 53.2 million in 2014, breaking several years of declines, and were above the 51.9 million in the benchmark year of 1990, preliminary Statistics Norway data showed.

In the oil and gas sector, BG Group's new Knarr oilfield added most to emissions in 2015.

The rise makes the climate goals of the right-wing government's ever tougher. Last year, Oslo said it would cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels as part of a U.N. agreement on climate change reached in Paris in December.

Many opposition politicians say the powerful oil and gas sector too often gets priority. Norway has often bought emissions quotas abroad to make up for a lack of progress in cutting domestic emissions.

On Wednesday, Norway awarded 10 oil license to energy companies in the Arctic, opening new acreage for exploration for the first time in two decades.

"Norway has an ambitious climate policy," Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen said in a statement on Friday. "We have to prepare ourselves for more climate measures in future, especially within transport."

Helgesen said emissions would be between 17 and 20 million tonnes higher by 2020 without existing measures such as penalties for carbon emissions that Norway was among the first to introduce in the 1990s.

Rising emissions could strain the ruling coalition. The small centrist Liberal Party, which usually supports the minority government to pass legislation in parliament, said more action was needed on climate change.

"The budget for 2017 that the government is now working on must be the best environmental and climate budget ever," the NTB news agency quoted Liberal leader Trine Skei Grande as saying. "If not, this government has no future.""

It's harder than it seems, this emissions reduction business....

Aug 1, 2017 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

The European Union next (INDC submitted by Latvia and the European Commission on behalf of the European Union and its Member States on 3rd June 2015).

"The EU and its Member States are committed to a binding target of an at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, to be fulfilled jointly...[with n]o contribution from international credits."

And that's it really - clear, unequivocal and impressive, in terms of what the Paris Accords are supposed to be all about. Just 2 small quibbles, which can't really be laid at the door of the EU:

1. If, in an act of self-immolation, individual member states achieve higher levels of reductions, then it effectively lets other EU member states off the hook; and

2. However impressive the target, given that the EU is responsible for 7% of GHG emissions, and China is responsible for 30% (and is committed to keep increasing emissions until 2030), then even if the EU achieves its target, the effect of that will be more than nullified if China's emissions increase by just 10% over the same time-frame.

Aug 1, 2017 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Sorry, EU submission was on 6th March, not 3rd June 2015 (blast the American way of setting them out!). Switzerland next (INDC submitted on 27th February 2015).

"Switzerland commits to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, corresponding to an average reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent over the period 2021-2030. By 2025, a reduction of greenhouse gases by 35 percent compared to 1990 levels is anticipated. Carbon credits from international mechanisms will partly be used. The INDC is subject to approval by Parliament."

Apart from the need for Parliamentary approval (perhaps they should have obtained it first, rather than rushing to be first to submit their INDC) and the use of carbon credits, that is an impressive and relatively unequivocal commitment. Well done! It's just a shame that "Switzerland’s responsibility in terms of greenhouse gas emissions is low: Today, Switzerland emits around 0.1% of world’s emissions and per capita emissions are at world’s average." If China, with its 30% of global emissions, had made a similar commitment, the Paris Accords might have counted for something.

Aug 1, 2017 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

I hope I haven't missed any - I believe that with Switzerland I have concluded my review of INDCs submitted under the Paris Accords. To follow up, then, a few short conclusions:

1. With a few exceptions, the shorter the INDC, the more meaningful the offer; the longer the INDC, the more likely it is that a small impoverished country with negligible emissions is seeking to demonstrate how signed-up it is to the process, how seriously it takes it all, what terrible problems it is already encountering from climate change, and therefore why it really should be given all the money it is asking for.

2. Some of the signatories, who were among the first to submit their INDCs - Switzerland, EU, USA, Norway etc, really do [did, in the case of the USA!] seem to be serious about the whole thing. Unfortunately, even before the US pulled out, it's my guess that only countries responsible for up to 30% of global GHG emissions were offering real reductions.

3. Some of the main emitters of GHG emissions (most notably China, but also India, Russia, down to the likes of South Korea, and Bangladesh) have not engaged with the process at all. They talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk. China, most obviously, is the rock on which the Paris Accords break. But there are others.

4. The rules for accounting for fossil fuel extraction and export let the countries who gain most from this totally off the hook. The Middle East oil producing countries are the ones most obviously to benefit from making the right noises whilst in reality making no meaningful commitment to the process whatsoever. But they're not alone. As I observed somewhat caustically about Canada, they make a virtue in their INDC about their GHG emissions, but they're remarkably coy about their fossil fuel extraction and export, and how dependent their economy is on it.

5. The sums required by the INDCs of some undeveloped countries are quite modest, especially on a per capita basis, while others are truly staggering, most notably India and somewhat cheekily South Africa. In total, however, I would suggest they are unaffordable, especially now that Trump has made it clear that while he's POTUS the USA will not be bankrolling this process.

6. Even if the money can be found, so that conditional, as opposed to the much less ambitious unconditional, targets are achieved, the net effect is that GHG emissions are on target to grow massively - just not as massively, perhaps, as would otherwise be the case. Should people who claim to be concerned about AGW therefore really be so hysterical about Trump's decision to take the USA out of the Accords? Personally I think not. Unless China, India and Russia can ever be brought on board, and unless rapidly growing populations in undeveloped and developing countries can somehow be controlled, I think the whole thing is hopeless, not least in view of the perfectly understandable desire of undeveloped and developing countries to industrialise and raise living standards, and a growing tendency to the urbanisation of the populations of such countries.

My effort has been a bit sporadic, and I lack the skill and time to undertake a full and detailed analysis. I hope my humble efforts may help to cast light on an issue that the MSM apparently lack the interest to investigate in any depth.

Aug 1, 2017 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Albania is opposite Corfu. I have sailed between the two 15ish years ago. There were warnings not to get too close, and to be wary of Albanians trying to escape on anything that just-about floated. I never saw anything. There is a lot of money in Corfu and some of the other islands such as Levkas and Cephalonia on the West of Greece. "Albanian Gypsies" were treated with mistrust by local residents (many of whom were NOT Greek) but many Albanians lived and worked (very hard) without non-Greeks realising the Albanians were not Greek either.

The former Yugoslavia was caught between the Iron Curtain and Europe. Albania had drawn a curtain around itself.

Albania declared Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart, but before World War 1 sealed its fate. WW2 saw Albania occupied by Italy, and then Germany. Nationalist and Communist Resistance fighters were deemed to have done a good job by the Allies, (who had no real interest in Albania) and so were left to get on with it after the war, which they did, and the Communists beat the Nationalists.

This ensured the reign of:
Wikipedia offers the following glowing tribute

"During his 40-year-rule, Hoxha's regime committed a series of political repressions which included the establishment and use of forced labor camps, wrongful incarcerations, extrajudicial killings and executions that targeted and eliminated anti-communists and other dissidents, and evictions of families from their homes to remote villages strictly controlled by hissecret police, the Sigurimi, which, like Nicolae Ceaușescu's Securitate, was strongly oppressive and ubiquitous."

"His rule was also characterized by the use of Stalinist methods to destroy associates who threatened his power. He focused on rebuilding the country, which was left in ruins after World War II, building Albania's first railway line, eliminating adult illiteracy and leading Albania towards becoming agriculturally self-sufficient."

"Hoxha's government was characterized by his proclaimed firm adherence to anti-revisionist Marxism–Leninism from the mid-1970s onwards. After his break with Maoism in the 1976–78 period, numerous Maoist parties around the world declared themselves Hoxhaist. The International Conference of Marxist–Leninist Parties and Organizations (Unity & Struggle) is the best known association of these parties today."

All most of us knew about him, was that he was Norman Wisdom's biggest fan, so all Albanians were too.

Wikipedia goes on about Albania:
"Albania's transition from a socialist centrally planned economy to a capitalist mixed economy has been largely successful. "Formal non-agricultural employment in the private sector more than doubled between 1999 and 2013," notes the World Bank, with much of this expansion powered by foreign investment."

"Energy in Albania is dependent on Hydroelectricity. Albania is the largest producer of Hydroelectricity in the World, with a percentage of 100%.[222] It is host to five Hydroelectric power stations and a plant. Almost four Hydroelectric power stations:Fierza, Koman, Skavica and Vau i Dejës are situated on the Drin river, the longest in the country with a total length of 335 km (208 mi). Its location, plays a significant role for the production of electricity in Albania." I am not quite sure if this has all been translated and checked.
"Chinese Buy Rights to Oil Fields in Albania
As Canada's Bankers Petroleum announces the sale of exploitation rights in Albania to the Chinese, experts are urging the government to carefully assess the new investor's potential........."

Albania needs oil, and the money it will generate.

Aug 1, 2017 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ghana is on the Gold Coast

Gold Coast region territorial entities were: Portuguese, Prussian, German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, English

Gold Coast was first colonised by the Portuguese

In 1774 a London lexicographer references a witness that "the king of Guinea, the greatest city in all the countries of Negroland, has a mass of gold of thirty pounds weight as it was naturally produced in the mines which is completely pure, tough and malleable without having been smelted".The British had taken over all of Gold Coast by 1871. They captured more territory inland in the late nineteenth century after the Ashanti wars.

In 1957, the territory of Gold Coast was granted independence as Ghana.

 Wikipedia also states:
Ghana is among the sovereign states of West Africa used by drug cartels and drug traffickers. Ghana is used as a key narcotics industry transshipment point by traffickers, usually from South America as well as some from other African nations."West Africa is completely weak in terms of border control and the big drug cartels from Colombia and Latin America have chosen Africa as a way to reach Europe." 

But Ghana has oil:
"Ghana produces and exports an abundance of hydrocarbons such as sweet crude oil and natural gas. The 100% state-owned filling station company of Ghana, Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) is the number 1 petroleum and gas filling station of Ghana and the 100% state-owned state oil company Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) oversees hydrocarbon exploration and production of Ghana's entire petroleum and natural gas reserves. Ghana aims to further increase output of oil to 2.2 million barrels (350,000 m3) per day and gas to 34,000,000 cubic metres (1.2×109 cu ft) per day."

For non-fossil fuels:
"The state-owned Volta River Authority and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation are the two major electricity producers.The Akosombo Dam, built on the Volta River in 1965, along with Bui Dam, Kpong Dam, and several other hydroelectric dams provide hydropower.★In addition, the Government of Ghana has sought to build the second nuclear power plant in Africa.★

Aug 2, 2017 at 12:12 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Montenegro, almost all from Wikipedia
"During the 1991–1995 Bosnian War and Croatian War, Montenegrin police and military forces joined Serbian troops in the attacks on Dubrovnik, Croatia. These operations, aimed at acquiring more territory, were characterized by a consistent pattern of large-scale violations of human rights"

"In 1996, Milo Đukanović's government severed ties between Montenegro and its partner Serbia, which was led by Slobodan Milošević. Montenegro formed its own economic policy and adopted the German Deutsche Mark as its currency and subsequently adopted the euro, although not part of the Eurozone currency union."

"Subsequent governments pursued pro-independence policies, and political tensions with Serbia simmered despite the political changes in Belgrade. Targets in Montenegro were bombed by NATO forces duringOperation Allied Force in 1999, although the extent of these attacks was very limited in both time and area affected."

"In 2002, Serbia and Montenegro came to a new agreement for continued cooperation and entered into negotiations regarding the future status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This resulted in Belgrade Agreement, which saw the country's transformation into a more decentralised state union named Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. The Belgrade Agreement also contained a provision delaying any future referendum on the independence of Montenegro for at least three years. On the basis of an independence referendum held on 21 May 2006, Montenegro declared independence on 3 June of that year."

"Classified by the World Bank as an upper middle-income country, Montenegro is a member of the UN, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Central European Free Trade Agreement and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean."

Serbia and Montenegro remain outside the EU, though Croatia is in.

"With around 650 000 inhabitants, Montenegro's electricity needs are currently satisfied by just one 210 MW coal power plant at Pljevlja (around one third of electricity), and hydropower plants (the remaining two thirds)."

"Hydropower comes mainly from the 307 MW Perucica and 342 MW Piva plants, with the remainder from other much smaller hydro facilities. New forms of renewable energy are hardly used at all in the country, despite significant potential in some regions."

"Montenegro has no infrastructure for natural gas distribution and does not currently extract oil, though the government is interested in oil and gas production in the Adriatic Sea."
"Until 2009 Montenegro imported significant amounts of electricity. However since 2010 this deficit has closed due to the decline of the KAP aluminium plant, which has at times accounted for up to 40 percent of the country's electricity consumption, but is now languishing bankrupt. Having such a large and unpredictable customer makes predicting energy needs in Montenegro notoriously difficult."

Montenegro's association with Serbia, and attrocities during the Balkan War(s), has not helped with developing EU and other International co-operation. This has appeal to certain businesses, that prefer to avoid scrutiny, but this culture does not encourage legitimate investment.

Some industries even promote the appeal and financial advantages of NOT being in the EU!
Montenegro’s tourism strategy provides yacht-friendly legislation, offering some of the most favourable nautical benefits in Europe, whilst its outside EU position presents a powerful financial case for mooring a yacht here all year round. 


9% company and capital gains tax (one of the lowest rates in Europe)Only 7% VAT on marine-related services0% VAT on chartersTax and duty-free fuel, up to 45% cheaper than retail priceOutside EU tax and import regulations


No restriction on pick-up and drop-off. Make multiple changes to guest and crew manifests. ★Ability for foreign vessels to remain in Montenegrin waters with no restriction on time★ Vignette from €420 for 7 days, to €1500 for 1 year (yachts 24m+)

nb, I have never visited Montenegro, nor do I own a yacht, let alone a 24m+ Superyacht!

Aug 2, 2017 at 2:13 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Equatorial Guinea. Wikipedia:

"Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producers. It is the richest country per capita in Africa,[13] and its gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita ranks 43rd in the world;[14] However, the wealth is distributed very unevenly and few people have benefited from the oil riches. The country ranks 144th on the UN's 2014 Human Development Index. The UN says that less than half of the population has access to clean drinking water and that 20% of children die before reaching the age of five."

"Equatorial Guinea hit the headlines in 2004 when a plane load of suspected mercenaries was intercepted in Zimbabwe while allegedly on the way to overthrow Obiang. A November 2004 report named Mark Thatcher as a financial backer of the 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt organized by Simon Mann. Various accounts also named the United Kingdom's MI6, the United States' CIA, and Spain as having been tacit supporters of the coup attempt. "

A successful coup is overdue. There have been numerous attempts.

Aug 2, 2017 at 2:32 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie

I should be very grateful if you would continue with your follow-up investigations and report your findings here.

If anyone is interested, the Paris Agreement can be found here, in its English text:

I don't have time right now, but I hope to post some comments about the Agreement itself, over the course of the next few days.

Aug 2, 2017 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Aug 2, 2017 at 8:46 AM | Mark Hodgson

I am hoping to continue!

As a digression, I have found it an interesting exercise too!

I chose Geography over History for O Level, which I do not regret. It has meant that through my adult life I can choose to learn about the bits of history that interest me.

Wikipedia is a wonderful tool for spreading propaganda as well as factual information. It is interesting to note how Wikipedia entries for some countries support their INDC submissions, however by selective omission they demonstrate the double standards approved by the UN.

Aug 2, 2017 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie, let's keep at it then.

The Paris Agreement contains some lengthy recitals, before it reaches the formal parts of the Agreement. Recitals to an ordinary legal agreement usually set out the background to the agreement, the general ideas behind it, and in essence, what it's about. In every sense, they introduce the agreement. They cast light on what the parties are thinking and what motivates them to sign up to the Agreement. With that in mind, it might be worth looking at the recitals to the Paris Agreement, to understand the thinking behind the Agreement and the parties to it.

So, I set out them below, with my interpolated comments in square brackets:

"The Parties to this Agreement,

Being Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, hereinafter referred to as "the Convention",

Pursuant to the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action established by decision 1/CP.17 of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention at its seventeenth session,

In pursuit of the objective of the Convention, and being guided by its principles, including the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances,

["the objective of the Convention" was set out at Article 2 of the Convention, and reads as follows:

"The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas
concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner."]

Recognizing the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge,

[Thus there are a number of early questionable assumptions:

1. That climate change is a threat, and apparently only a threat.
2. That the threat is urgent.
3. That the best available scientific knowledge enables an effective and progressive response.]

Also recognizing the specific needs and special circumstances of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, as provided for in the Convention,

[This is probably unexceptionable, but it shouldn't come as a surprise that huge numbers of countries submitting INDCs bent over backwards to try to identify their own special circumstances and apparent particular vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change.]

Taking full account of the specific needs and special situations of the least developed countries with regard to funding and transfer of technology,

[This is probably unexceptionable, but it shouldn't come as a surprise that huge numbers of countries submitting INDCs bent over backwards to try to identify their own specific needs and special situations with regard to funding and transfer of technology.]

Recognizing that Parties may be affected not only by climate change, but also by the impacts of the measures taken in response to it,

[This is an interesting one. It's rare to hear a climate alarmist acknowledging that the measures taken to try to mitigate against climate changes can affect the countries implementing them - and I think it's implicit in this recital that there is a recognition that the effect(s) in question can be adverse.]

Emphasizing the intrinsic relationship that climate change actions, responses and impacts have with equitable access to sustainable development and eradication of poverty,

[Also interesting - an implicit assumption that sustainable development and the eradication of poverty go hand in hand with climate change actions, responses and impacts, when in practice the reverse is often true. Just look at today's news about Centrica/British Gas' price increase, driven by "green" subsidies, adversely affecting the poorest in society.]

Recognizing the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change,

[Interesting again - an implicit assumption that climate change can only endanger food security rather than enhance it. I spotted in one - and only one - INDC a recognition that the opposite can be true.]

Taking into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities,

[Personally I support this, but a) I'm not sure it has any place in a climate change treaty, and demonstrates that the UN has an additional agenda; and b) many of the policy prescriptions resulting from the Agreement might actually undermine these imperatives. "Greens" never seem able to see this.]

Acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights
of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity,

[I have no objection to this recital, save to wonder if a climate change agreement is the place for it. Again, it demonstrates that the UNFCCC's agenda is about more than climate change. Again also, it's no surprise to see numerous INDCs bending over backwards to try to demonstrate that they ticked these boxes - no doubt in the hope that if enough boxes are ticked, funds will be made available].

Recognizing the importance of the conservation and enhancement, as appropriate, of sinks and reservoirs of the greenhouse gases referred to in the Convention,

[Fair enough]

Noting the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including oceans, and the protection of biodiversity, recognized by some cultures as Mother Earth, and noting the importance for some of the concept of "climate justice",
when taking action to address climate change,

["climate justice" is not a term that appears in the UNFCCC. It's appearance here might explain why, inter alia, the Scottish Government has a "Climate Justice Fund": ]

Affirming the importance of education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and cooperation at all levels on the matters addressed in this Agreement,

[No problem with this in principle, so long as the education, training and public awareness are true objective education etc, and not propaganda and brainwashing.]

Recognizing the importance of the engagements of all levels of government and various actors, in accordance with respective national legislations of Parties, in addressing climate change,

[This seems to imply a desire to see these issues seep into all levels of society. NO doubt it explains the existence of Climate Change Project Officers and the like at a whole host of UK public sector organisations.]

Also recognizing that sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption and production, with developed country Parties taking the lead, play an important role in addressing climate change,

In terms of what the Agreement is about, this seems to me to be fair enough.]

Have agreed as follows:"

Next time I'll look at what they have agreed.

Aug 2, 2017 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Comoros, excerpts from Wikipedia:

"The country consists of three major islands and numerous smaller islands, all in the volcanic Comoros archipelago. The major islands are commonly known by their French names: northwestern-most Grande Comore (Ngazidja); Mohéli (Mwali); and Anjouan (Nzwani)" They are to the North West of Madagascar.

"It became part of the French colonial empire in the 19th century before becoming independent in 1975. Since declaring independence, the country has experienced more than 20 coups d'état or attempted coups, with various heads of state assassinated.[8] Along with this constant political instability, the population of the Comoros lives with the worst income inequality of any nation, with a Gini coefficient over 60%, while also ranking in the worst quartile on the Human Development Index. As of 2008 about half the population lived below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day."

(Wikipedia has no section on Tourism for The Comoros)

"On 10 April 2008, the Comoros became the 179th nation to accept the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."

But opinion here, does not sound encouraging:

"Energy is one of the main weaknesses of the Comorian economy. The production and distribution of energy are carried out by MA-MWE, a company wholly owned by the State."

"Its cost is one of the highest in Africa due to its insularity, transport costs and public management issues. There are other responsible factors as well: old equipment and frequent shortage of spare parts. As for water, the situation is still precarious due to dilapidated facilities causing enormous losses in distribution."

"Characteristics of the energy sector. Energy plays an important role in economic development and the daily wellbeing of the population. The main source of energy for household needs is, by far, wood (78%), followed by petroleum products which rose sharply, and butane gas... The main form of electricity generation is thermal, produced from diesel- powered plants on each island. In Anjouan, part of the island is powered from hydraulic energy. In 2010."

Comoros would be another ideal location for the UN to install, test and evaluate solar and wind power. Any lack of reliability would still be an improvement.

Aug 2, 2017 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie