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Discussion > The Paris Accords and INDCs

golf charlie, regarding Turkey, Paul Homewood has picked up on a piece by the GWPF:

Turkey show that the Paris Agreement never was about anything else than money, as GWPF report:

Turkey Threatens Not To Ratify Paris Climate Accord

HAMBURG: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Saturday that his country would not ratify the Paris climate accord, speaking at the end of the G20 summit in Germany.

“After that step taken by America, the position that we adopt is in the direction of not passing it in parliament,” Erdogan said at a press conference in Hamburg.

The summit of the world’s biggest industrialised and developing economies agreed that 19 of its members would stick with the 2015 plan to fight global warming and “took note” of US President Donald Trump’s pullout from the initiative.

But shortly after the mega-summit ended, Erdogan, who met Trump at the event, told a news conference that Turkey was no longer a certain candidate and suggested other members of the “G19” also had doubts.

He said he had clearly told French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “No offence, but we will not pass it in our parliament as long as the promises made to us are not delivered”.

He said former French president Francois Hollande had promised him that Turkey would be classed as a developing and not an industrialised economy — meaning Ankara would receive money from a global climate fund rather than have to pay into it.

He also suggested some other, unidentified, countries had a “problem” with the agreement and said “they are not renewing their full support”.

Jul 12, 2017 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Liberia next (final INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015).

I think this part of their preamble usefully sums up their approach to this issue, an approach that is mirrored by many other signatories:

"Liberia’s INDC includes one component on mitigation and one on adaptation. The extent of implementation of the intended contributions on mitigation and adaptation stated here are conditioned upon the provision of adequate means of implementation by the international community (financial resources, capacity building and the transfer of technologies). It does not constitute an international obligation to Liberia. For Liberia, the INDC presents a platform to
integrate its Low Carbon Development Strategy into the country’s long-term sustainable development Vision by 2030 (Agenda for Transformation)."

It does not constitute an international obligation, it's dependent on international finance, and is a useful way (using other people's money) to develop their country. What's not to like?

This sounds positive (though for how long?):

"Despite substantial forest loss over the years, Liberia is a net carbon sink and still has significant forest, estimated around 30% of total land in 2009 by FAO. Additionally, Liberia holds around 40% of the remaining West African moist forest (Upper Guinean Forest)."

And the ever-present elephant in the room:

"Liberia’s population was put at 3.5 million in 2008 and it is projected to increase to 10.3 million by 2058, with more than 70% of the population living in coastal cities including Monrovia, the country’s capital."

This is interesting. Stern economics seem to be alive and well:

" In a separate study on the costs and benefits of land placed under different uses in Liberia, it was projected that the
implementation of a low-carbon development strategy in Liberia will save an estimated 11.7 million tons of CO2 per year, while generating $58.7 million in revenues annually. The study also estimated the total costs to around $22.0 million per year, resulting in an estimated net benefit of $36.7 million per year to Liberia."

One wonders what the point of any of this is, unless it's about receiving international finance, given the following:

"Liberia’s contributions to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stand at 1.89 Mt CO2 eq, representing 0% of the global total. It is equally important to note that Liberia is categorized as a GHG sink if the LULUCF sector is considered."

Admittedly this does sound good:

"The energy sector is the highest contributor of GHG in Liberia emanating mainly from the use of traditional fuels such as firewood, charcoal and palm oil and the use of fossil fuels, especially petroleum products. To reduce the reliance on traditional fuel and increase the use of modern and renewable energy sources, the National Energy Policy (2009) was
developed with a set of goals targeted at maximizing efficiency, minimizing costs and adverse environmental impacts as principle of extending energy access to all Liberians.
Most recently, Liberia’s Initial National Communication (2013) reinforces the National Energy Policy with additional long-term targets and related activities, which includes:
• Reducing GHGs by at least 10% by 2030
• Improving energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030
• Raising share of renewable energy to at least 30% of electricity production and 10% of overall energy consumption by 2030
• Replacing cooking stoves with low thermal efficiency (5-10%) with the higherefficiency (40%) stoves.
The long-term strategy of Liberia is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The strategic options for mitigation considered under the INDC are the energy sector (electricity, transport) and the waste sector. The Waste Sector focuses on solid waste disposal on land.
In 2000, the waste sector accounted for about 0.60% of Liberia’s national total CO2 eq emissions. A significant subcategory is CH4 emissions from solid waste disposal sites (SWDS) on land, which contributed 91.7%. CH4 mitigation targets will include landfill recovery, waste incineration with energy recovery, composting of organic waste, controlled wastewater treatment, and recycling and waste minimization."

Despite the fine words, however, something does not add up. They show a graph suggesting a 15% reduction on Business as Usual emissions by 2030, but they don't show the extent to which Business as Usual emissions represent an increase on the status quo (which clearly they do, given their projected population growth, shift to cities and development plans). I can't avoid the feeling that there are smoke and mirrors here, not that much of it matters anyway, given their low emissions which contribute effectively nothing to the global warming scare.

Their references to the costs of adaptation are in the $millions, rather than $billions, so that's something. However, so far as I can see they don't mention the costs of mitigation. There's just something vaguely unsatisfactory here that I can't put my finger on. That opening paragraph I quote above does rather seem to set the tone.

Jul 12, 2017 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Jul 12, 2017 at 8:04 AM | Mark Hodgson

World War 1 has different dates, depending on who you ask. WW1 was just a period of time in the middle of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, and some of the conflicts continue to this day.

Erdogan has varying levels of populist support across the Muslim world, and generates varying levels of fear across the Muslim and non-Muslim world, including Turkey itself.

Erdogan polarises opinion, potentially dangerously. His views on Paris are an interesting development, based on the simple reality of economics. Whether he is challenging the Consensus of Climate Scientists remains to be seen. There are so many reasons to feel wary of Erdogan, and those who support him, and now the EU and UN have another one.

Jul 12, 2017 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Papua New Guinea
"The country will need financial support, capacity building and technical support to face the uncertain future posed by climate change."

Jul 11, 2017 at 2:10 PM | Mark Hodgson

The Uncertainty of Climate Change is what it is all about. But if there is free money on offer .......

I don't mean to pick on Papua New Guinea, but ......

Their National Flag depicts a Bird of Paradise, and it is the Island Isolation that has appealed to both Film and TV Companies, with unique flora and fauna, including tribes of people with minimal contact with the big bad world. What is it that Papua New Guinea actually wants or needs, that this money can buy?

Jul 12, 2017 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jun 28, 2017 at 8:45 AM | Mark Hodgson

"The Government of Malawi is working with development partners to improve climate change related data management systems"

Climate Science Data Management Systems are now fully adjustable.

Jul 13, 2017 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Tajikistan next (final INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015).

As so often, one wonders why they have bothered, given that "The existing assessed contribution of the Republic of Tajikistan to global greenhouse gas emissions is less than 0.02%."

They do play the usual "it's not our fault, and we're highly vulnerable to the problems you've caused" card:

"The Republic of Tajikistan, as a mountainous and landlocked country with a developing economy and low per capita GDP, is characterized by the low level of gross and specific greenhouse gas emissions and an extreme vulnerability to climate change, including frequent natural disasters."

Their unconditional offer does seem quite generous, but note the weasel words "flexible target":

"A flexible target, not exceeding 80-90% of the 1990 level by 2030, which amounts to 1.7-2.2 tons in CO2 equivalent per capita, has been determined as the country’s contribution to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission reductions. Systematic reforestation in accordance with the adopted State programmes is a considerable contribution of the country to the reduction of negative impacts on the climate system."

Their conditional offer (i.e. conditional on international assistance and funding) isn't hugely more impressive:

"The potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Republic of Tajikistan to achieve a target of 65-75% of the 1990 level by 2030, which amounts to 1.2-1.7 tons in CO2 equivalent per capita."

The time-frame is 2021-30. I'm curious about the start point of 1990. Did their emissions fall greatly thereafter with the collapse of the USSR? Is this a meaningful commitment or helpful cherry-picking? We're just not given enough information to make an informed judgement. But perhaps this helps to explain:

"Since 1991, at the initial stage of the period of state independence, and especially during the period 1992-2000, the Republic of Tajikistan had experienced grave consequences resulting from civil war and of the transition from a
centrally planned to a market-based economy, with a sharp increase in poverty."

So, probably not as impressive as the headline numbers suggest. Nor do they tell us exactly how much money they want. Pretty meaningless really in terms of any sort of formal and binding commitment, which it isn't.

Jul 13, 2017 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson


See also: Tajikistani Civil War

Spetsnaz soldiers during the civil war, 1992.

Mark Hodgson, Wikipedia, Tajikistan entry ........

"..... the late 1980s Tajik nationalists were calling for increased rights. Real disturbances did not occur within the republic until 1990. The following year, the Soviet Union collapsed, and Tajikistan declared its independence.

The nation almost immediately fell into civil war that involved various factions fighting one another; these factions were often distinguished by clan loyalties.[33]More than 500,000 residents fled during this time because of persecution, increased poverty and better economic opportunities in the West or in other former Soviet republics.[34] Emomali Rahmon came to power in 1992, defeating former prime minister Abdumalik Abdullajanov in a November presidential election with 58% of the vote.[35] The elections took place shortly after the end of the war, and Tajikistan was in a state of complete devastation"

Coal fired powerstations, including the supply of coal, are easy military targets for those fighting without sophisticated air-launched weapons systems.

Independence from Russia has meant they have had to rebuild without Russian support, and also without some of the most skilled and able Tajikistanis.

Jul 13, 2017 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mark Hodgson, Liberia.

By adopting a policy of ignoring International Legal Conventions etc, a few people in Liberia have done very well.

Jul 13, 2017 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Lesotho next (INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015).

I confess to finding them among the least easy to analyse, since they are full of all the usual jargon that they hope will release money, but contain little information about their population, current CO2 emissions, likely emissions increase on a Business as Usual basis etc. It seems clear, however, that current emissions are low:

"Lesotho’s GHG emissions are minimal due to its predominant dependence on hydropower with a grid emission factor is 0.0038 tCO2/GWh. The proportional contribution of three key sectors is agriculture (63%), energy (31%) and waste management (6%). This reflect a picture of Lesotho’s socio-economic circumstances: an economy dependent on natural resources, a low but growing energy sector and industrial sector that is still in its infancy."

It is clear, however, that emissions are set to grow at a steady rate, though unfortunately they don't tell us by how much. Their mitigation targets are fairly meaningless without telling us what a BaU scenario involves:

"The main opportunities for mitigation consist of energy efficiency and demand management, coupled with increasing investment in a renewable energy programme in the electricity, Buildings (Residential, Commercial and Institutional) and Waste sectors. Lesotho is committed to reduce unconditionally 10% of its GHG emissions by 2030 compared to a Business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. The conditional target is 35% by 2030.

By looking elsewhere on the internet I seem to have established that Lesotho's population is a little over 2 million.

Lesotho's own INDCs tell us that they are looking for a lot of money for mitigation plans (over and above what looks like more than $1Bn for adaptation programmes):

"In the period 2015-2030, additional investments (relative to BAU scenario) needed for realization of the mitigation scenario are estimated at USD 1.2 billion, while for realization of the higher ambition mitigation scenario are estimated at USD1.8 billion."

Add mitigation and adaptation costs together, and it looks as though Lesotho is seeking via its climate change INDCs to lever over $1,000 from the international community for every man, woman and child in Lesotho. I don't blame them. But it looks like a lot of money for little if any real benefit.

Jul 13, 2017 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Cambodia next (INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015).

As with so many of the undeveloped countries, one might expect them to have more important things to do, and indeed Cambodia comes close to admitting as much:

"Cambodia is a low emitter and highly vulnerable country to the negative effects of climate change. Our contribution is therefore necessarily aligned with our development priorities." And:

"Cambodia’s main national development priority, enshrined in the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) for
2014-2018, is to reduce poverty while fostering economic growth at a steady rate of 7-8% per year. Cambodia aims to progress from least-developed country (LDC) status towards a low and high middle-income developing country by 2018 and 2030 respectively. It is intended that this goal will be achieved by diversifying the economy, including through industrialisation and the development of physical infrastructure."

But of course, as is by now crystal clear, playing this particular game is all about trying to obtain international finance:

"According to the assessment of financial needs for priority activities up to 2018 included in the sectoral climate change action plans, Cambodia would require 1.27 billion US$ to support the implementation of these activities. The assessment also took into account the climate finance absorption capacity of Cambodia to ensure that the proposed investments are

It's difficult to assess exactly what they are offering in return for this money. For instance, unlike other countries, they are looking at an INDC implementation period of 2020-2030. This paragraph seems to make it clear they are not offering a reduction in GHG emissions, but, like so many others, a slower rate of increase in their GHG emissions than would otherwise be the case:

"As an LDC, Cambodia emits a small share of present global emissions and accounts for a fraction of past global emissions. Taking into account the important role of forestry in carbon capture, Cambodia was still a net sink in the year 2000. As per estimates in draft SNC, Cambodia's BAU per capita emissions in 2050 will be 2.59 tCO2eq, this is less than half of current world per capita emission. The actions proposed, if adequately supported through finance, technology transfer, and capacity building, will keep the per capita emissions to an estimated 2.04 tCO2eq by 2030 which is below world average for a 2oC pathway. Cambodia, despite being an LDC, has for the first time presented a clear list of mitigation actions to limit growth in GHG emissions, making a significant deviation from BAU, and
thus going beyond existing actions."

Jul 13, 2017 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Bhutan next (INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015).

Bhutan's commitment to being "carbon neutral" (of course they mean CO2 neutral) is more impressive than most, though as ever they are looking for international money.

"The Kingdom of Bhutan made the commitment to remain carbon neutral in 2009 despite our status as a small, mountainous developing country with many other pressing social and economic development needs and priorities. This commitment was made with the view that there is no need greater, or more important, than keeping the planet safe for life to continue. While making this sincere commitment to remain carbon neutral, we also called on the global community to support our resolve and efforts to fulfil this commitment and support us to undertake appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures."

Bhutan is a poor country with many challenges, but its forests are the key to its "carbon neutrality":

"As the vast forest sink of Bhutan will form the cornerstone of our commitment to remain carbon neutral, measures to manage and conserve the forests will need to be supported by a robust forest monitoring system. The first comprehensive national forest inventory presently underway will provide an updated state of the forests in Bhutan by end of 2016. The forest monitoring and inventory system being developed in conjunction with a national forest monitoring system for REDD+ will enable monitoring and assessment of forest cover over time."

In case we were in any doubt that they are seeking money:

"However the scale of funding available to address both development needs and the additional burden of mitigation and adaptation will be significantly higher than presently available.  As a least‐developed country, with a young population and pressing needs and imperatives for economic development, the successful implementation of our intended actions to mitigate will depend on the level of financial and technical support received. Implementing adaptation measures through the NAP process with sufficient funding will also be required to ensure that progress made over the past few decades are not derailed by the adverse impacts of climate change."

Jul 13, 2017 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Costa Rica next (INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015). Like Bhutan, their offering is much more impressive than most:

" First, Costa Rica would like to reaffirm its aspiration of becoming a Carbon Neutral economy starting year 2021, as a culmination of its voluntary, pre-2020 action. Under this early action, Costa Rica proposed since 2007 to compensate its emissions through the removal or offsetting by the forest sector. The goal proposed to achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2021 with total net emissions comparable to total emissions in 2005. Since then, the mitigation goals agreed by the
Conference of the Parties have evolved, and the mitigation efforts must aspire to maintain the mean global temperature below 2°C. In this National Contribution, the date of 2021 will become the turning point Costa Rica’s emissions, as a continuation of its voluntary action and a landmark in the path towards de-carbonizing the economy.

Second, the country is committed to a maximum of 9,374,000 T CO2eq net emissions by 2030, with proposed emissions per capita of 1.73 net tons by 2030, 1.19 Net Tons per Capita by 2050 and -0.27 Net Tons per Capita by 2100. This numbers are consistent with the necessary global path to comply with 2°C goal. Costa Rica’s commitment includes an emissions reduction of GHG of 44%, of a Business As Usual (BAU) scenario, and a reduction of 25% of emission
compared to 2012 emissions. To accomplish this goal Costa Rica would have to reduce 170,500 tons of GHG per year until the year 2030."

It's nice not to be critical for once!

Jul 13, 2017 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

From the sublime to the ridiculous - Zimbabwe next (INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015).

With no apparent sense of irony, they say things like:

"The Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) gives every person environmental rights that include the right:
a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being"

Personally I think my immediate environment includes things like not being beaten up or jailed for disagreeing with the Government, but as a sceptic, maybe I'm just picky.

Anyway, back to the meat of the INDCs. As with so many countries, one wonders why they bother, given that "The country’s total GHGs emissions contribute less than 0.05% of global emissions, making it a low emitter."

As so often, of course, the answer is money. For example, in the adaptation section of the INDCs, we find this:

"The water shortages at the hydro power plants have resulted in huge reductions in electricity generation. In 2014 the mini-hydro plants were generating around 50% of their maximum ratings while the Kariba Power Station is currently (August 2015) operating at 63% because of the reduced water allocation. The power station is expected to run at such levels till the onset of the rainy season. This requires the nation to have the adaptive capacity, hence the inclusion of an adaptation amount for the energy sector to the tune of US$1.5 billion of which US$300 million is own contribution."

And this:

"The Zimbabwe Agriculture Investment Plan (2013-2018) indicates that the sector requires investments of at least US$2 billion per year to fully utilise its production potential. Currently the sector is relying on a US$0.5 billion allocation from the national treasury. Up to US$35 billion will be cumulatively needed by 2030 under Business As Usual (BAU) for adapting to climate change in the agriculture sector. Zimbabwe aims to achieve this through joint efforts between the government, private sector, development partners and technology and funding mechanisms foreseen in context of the UNFCCC. Based on the status of current budget provisions, the total domestic support through the national government needed to build resilience of the agricultural sector is estimated at US$8.725. The required international support for adapting the agricultural sector of Zimbabwe is estimated at US$26.175 billion by 2030 under BAU. Further collation and analysis of information on support for financial investment, capacity development and technology generation and transfer in adaptation initiatives is however required."

As for mitigation, a Business as Usual scenario sees GHG emissions more than trebling. Under their conditional mitigation target they would "only" double instead. And how much will this "achievement" cost? Well, I had to double check, because I couldn't believe it. $55.796Bn, apparently. This seems to have been presented with a straight face.

Given that "The latest census of 2012 estimated the population of Zimbabwe at 13.1million" it makes Lesotho's desire to be paid $1,000 for every man, woman and child look positively self-denying, since this adds up to significantly more than $4,000 for every man, woman and child in Zimbabwe.

Supporters of the Paris Accords should really take a long hard look at this rubbish.

Jul 13, 2017 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Lesotho is enclosed within South Africa. Being mountainous, it does generate electricity from Hydro Electric Power, the rest, it buys in from South Africa.

All electricity is supplied by the Lesotho Electric Company, owned by the Government.

Hydro is excellent, and Green, but it is a finite annual resource. Lesotho has done well manufacturing clothing for the US Market and elsewhere. To grow their economy, they need more electricity. I have no idea whether further Hydro Electric Dams are possible, but Lesotho already requires more electricity than can be generated domestically. I presume their domestic consumers are lower priority than their commercial consumers.

Unfortunately, the UK is in the same situation as Lesotho

Jul 14, 2017 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Cambodia, from this very interesting website:

I have copied this!

Challenges Regarding Energy, Renewable Energy and Rural Energy in Cambodia[35]

"Poor institutional synergies, absence of provincial energy service delivery planning, lacking coordination capacity at institutional level

energy policies have long focused on electricity supply (this is slowly changing)regulatory frameworks for rural energies such as battery charging stations, cooking, lighting, small REE still missing or underdeveloped lacking renewable energy development policy and law, missing leading institution for applied research on renewable energy technologies (RET)

only recently has a rural energy programme been started with focus on rural energy such as biomass energy, old programmes did not include cooking energy, now changing but still still small compared to electricity issues (mainly grid extension)

higher prices for energy services in rural areas. Cambodia has among the highest electricity prices in the world, especially in rural areas (up to US $ 1 per kWh)REE often not viable due to high diesel costs, few customers and low demand, rural households and SME have no information about RET and their advantages

unfavorable investment environment for energy - high import tax on RET (35%), no public support or investment incentives, lacking access to loans for energy providers or SME wanting to invest, due to small scale of many projects, carbon markets have not been targeted widely by Cambodian projects but potential is there

women (and children) are strongly affected by indoor air pollution due to prevalent use of traditional cooking techniques, women are also more intensely involved in fuel wood collection"

No wonder Cambodia needs money.

The last sentence about domestic cooking, applies to so many countries.

Jul 14, 2017 at 1:28 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Bhutan. It has a "young" population. This tends to mean "rapidly expanding". Such a rising population can't rely on trees for food.

Jul 14, 2017 at 1:46 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Until the Family Regime is terminated, nothing coming out of Zimbabwe should be taken seriously, apart from the cries for help, and those fleeing for their lives.

Jul 14, 2017 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@Mark Hodgson and @golf charlie

First of all, my hat's off to both of you - and particularly Mark - for the yeoman's work you're doing on this. I do drop by to silently lurk from time to time; and I cannot say that your findings surprise me in the least. But I have to say, I got a real chuckle out of your Jul 13, 2017 at 8:29 PM Costa Rica conclusion:

It's nice not to be critical for once!

Costa Rica just happens to be the "homeland" of now-former UNFCCC head honcho, Christiana Figureres, aka "tinkerbell". So I, for one, would have been very surprised if their pledge was anything less than admirable and exemplary ;-)

Jul 14, 2017 at 3:04 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

gc, thanks as always for your input.

Hilary - thank you for your kind comments and for the information about Christiana Figueres. It starts to add up, since I was rather puzzled by Costa RIca's grand commitment, especially in the light of this comment I found on this "green" website:

"In 2009, Costa Rica made a big announcement: it would become carbon-neutral by 2021. For a country that harbors some 5 percent of the planet’s total biodiversity, this was seen as an almost natural (and certainly noble) extension of national policy.

Becoming carbon-neutral, however, is a herculean task. It’s something that no country has yet accomplished, but that several are working towards. It requires the collaboration of government, industry, and individuals both inside the country and beyond its borders.

Carbon-neutrality means having zero output of carbon dioxide. This can only be accomplished by balancing CO2 outputs with CO2 inputs – or more simply, by not releasing more CO2 than you can capture or offset.

Costa Rica currently emits around 14.6 million metric tons of CO2 each year. By 2021, that number is expected to reach 21.7 million tons. In order for Costa Rica to become carbon-neutral, it will needed to reduce its emissions by some 5.8 million tons over the next ten years. That’s a lofty goal."

It is indeed, and presumably also an expensive one. I wonder how much money is being redirected by the UNFCCC or related bodies towards Costa Rica? Their INDCs don't say how much it ill cost or how much they want.

Jul 14, 2017 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Solomon Islands next (INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015).

They have problems of a different kind, which might make them be one of the few countries who would understand that climate change isn't the greatest of their problems:

"The country is situated within the earthquake belt or “Ring of Fire‟ which makes it extremely vulnerable to the effects and impacts of earthquakes. A major earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred in the Western Province in 2007 causing a major tsunami that affected the Western and Choiseul provinces and causing 52 deaths and scores missing. About 40,000 people were affected. Many islands have subsided whilst a few have been uplifted a few metres. Extensive damage was experienced throughout the two provinces costing hundreds of millions of dollars. The country and many communities and individuals are still recovering from this double disaster event."

"Solomon Islands has 28,400 square kilometers of land, with a population of 598,860 (September 2015 estimate)" but the elephant in the room as always:

"Urban migration is estimated at 4% and with the current rate of growth the national population is expected to double by 2020." Yes, their INDCs do say "double by 2020." The inevitable consequence: "An analysis of household income and expenditure data collected in 2005/06 shows that situations of hardship and poverty is rising with 11% of the population experiencing difficulties in acquiring basic needs."

Why be bothered about reducing GHG emissions, given all the above problems, and given that "Current (2015) greenhouse gas emissions from Solomon Islands are approximately 20 MtCO2e/year. This is extremely small: representing approximately just 0.01 % of global emissions."

Their commitment is not one of absolute reductions, but is against a Business as Usual scenario. Unfortunately, the information is not readily set out to enable the casual reader to establish what this means in terms of growing emissions. On the face of it, the pledge looks quite significant, but it probably does represent a real-terms increase, and the conditional element is highly dependent on international funding:

"All commitments are premised on:
(a) A fair and ambitious agreement being reached, reflecting Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities; and
(b) Timely access to international climate change financing, capacity building and technology.
Solomon Islands is a LDC SIDS, that will nonetheless commit to reduce emissions by:
12% below 2015 level by 2025 and 30% below 2015 level by 2030 compared to a BaU projection.
On the understanding that a global agreement addresses international assistance to access financial and technical resources, Solomon Islands can with international assistance, contribute a further:
27% reduction in GHG emissions by 2025; and
45% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, compared to a BaU projection.
With appropriate international assistance, Solomon Islands can reduce its emissions by more than 50% by 2050."

The key, as always, is money:

"The conditional Mitigation Actions will require a timely combination of capacity building, technology transfer, and financial support, primarily in the form of grants. Additional mitigation actions may be identified in the future. Below is a brief summary of the activities proposed for off-grid electricity production, with estimates of financial resources required (in USD)." It adds up to $170.7M. Presumably there are other mitigation costs not specifically costed here.

The adaptation part of the INDCs also comes with a significant price tag:

"Some adaptation projects have been grouped into thematic areas linked to the priority sectors established in the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) as well as some recently identified priorities. The total adaptation cost would be US$126,650,000; NAPA would cost US$17,250,000 covering agriculture and food security, water and sanitation, human settlements and human health, education awareness and information; low-lying and artificially built-up islands; waste management; coastal protection; fisheries and marine resources, infrastructure development and tourism. However the total cost of NAPA will have changed considerably upward and therefore will require further evaluation and costing. Other priorities identified through the national communication process would cost additional US$109,400,000. It is expected that a considerable portion of the necessary financing will be provided in the forms of grants from the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Adaptation Fund, and from various bi-lateral climate change programs."

The identified costs therefore add up to almost $300M (it is not clear whether there are also other costs not stated here). I suppose $300M is a relatively modest sum in the scheme of things, but its rather a lot for a country with a population of just over 500,000 people (though rapidly growing). On current numbers, it's pushing up towards $600 for every man, woman and child in the country. A bargain, compared to Zimbabwe!

Jul 14, 2017 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mark, what seems to be increasingly evident is that no country, with the possible exceptions of Costa Rica, Sweden and Norway, are ever going to become carbon neutral and that their increasing populations will more than offset any gains made. I have never thought humans will give up the benefits of using fossil fuels (and had numerous, sometimes heated discussions with unicorn-fart believing students (and some staff) about this issue). Your endeavours have added numerous nails to the entire CO2 reduction coffin.

Jul 14, 2017 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Thanks Supertroll

People's comments are appreciated, while I plough my lonely furrow - it's nice to know it's not so lonely after all.

Jordan next (INDCs submitted on 30th September 2015).

Jordan is a country for which I have quite a bit of sympathy. Not blessed with particularly fertile land, lacking the advantages of oil supplies like its neighbours, and surrounded by countries whose problems overspill its borders and add pressures and strains through no fault of its own. Or as Jordan's INDCs put it:

"Located at the heart of the Middle East, Jordan is a small upper-middle income county with scarce natural resources (in particular water), and a small industrial base within the service sector (the later contributes around 70% of GDP) which dominates the economy. The country is shaped by its geography, history, geopolitics and scarcity in natural resources. The government identified poverty and unemployment as two of the most important challenges the Country faces. The challenge of meeting the increasing energy demands is another pressing issue."


"Jordan is a country with limited indigenous energy resources. Jordan imports about 97% of its energy requirements, which includes mainly crude oil, oil derivatives and natural gas. Local sources cover the remaining 3% of requirements with renewable energy contributing only a small proportion to this mixture. This 97% import of energy needs is accounting for almost 20% of the GDP, which makes the country completely reliable on and vulnerable to the global energy market."

At the risk of being a broken record, I wonder why they don't worry about their bigger problems, given that "The Country’s bulk share of GHGs represents only around 0.06% of global total according to a global GHGs analysis conducted in 2010."

Helpfully, unlike some INDCs, Jordan's give us meaningful information about what Business as Usual, without mitigation, would look like:

"Based on the base year 2006, Jordan’s share in global greenhouse gas emissions was 28,717 Gg of CO2 eq., which is 28.72 million ton (Mt) of CO2 equivalent...These emissions are expected to grow according to the 2006 baseline scenario used in the TNC (2014) to 38,151 Gg, 51,028 Gg and 61,565 Gg of CO2 eq. in the years 2020, 2030 and 2040 respectively due to normal growth models. The role of the energy sector and sub-sectors as the leading emitter of GHGs is expected to increase in the future from 73 % of total emissions in the year 2006 to 83 % in the year 2040 according to a BAU scenario. Therefore, it is anticipated to focus the mitigation efforts of the Country on this sector."

There's also this:

"The high annual growth rates of demand for energy (4-5% for primary energy and 5.3% for demand for electricity) for the period 2015-2025 remains one of the highest in the world and thus is considered one of the Kingdom’s most significant development challenges. In 2013, total primary energy consumed in Jordan was about 8.2 million tons of oil equivalent, 82% of which were crude oil and oil derivatives, 11% natural gas, 3% renewable energy and imported electricity and 4% petroleum coke and coal. The national energy sector’s main concern is the provision of adequate energy for development with the least possible cost and best quality. The energy sector still suffers from extreme fluctuations of oil prices and the ability to secure constant and sustainable energy supply for the country."

I'm not sure they're fully signed up to CO2 emissions reductions - their desire to "go renewable" seems to be more about reducing their reliance on foreign oil than anything else:

"The main goals of the Strategy are to secure reliable energy supply through increasing the share of local energy
resources such as oil shale, natural gas in the energy mix, expanding the development of renewable energy projects, promoting energy conservation and energy efficiency and awareness and generating electricity from nuclear energy. The options include as will a diversification of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) possibly from Qatar or the new Leviathan Basin in the Eastern Mediterranean (thus, a new LNG port is already operational in Aqaba); new oil and gas pipelines from Iraq; and search for new shale potentials.
The running energy strategy is to transform the energy mix from one heavily reliant on oil and natural gas to one more balanced with a higher proportion of energy supplied by oil shale and renewable sources. The energy strategy sought to increase reliance on local energy sources to 25 % by 2015, and up to 39 % by 2020 as set in 2020 Energy Strategy. Placing more emphasis on the utilization of renewable energies will alleviate the dependency on the traditional energy sources, especially oil, which is imported from neighboring countries. This will also be paralleled with the reduction of energy produced from oil from 82% in 2013 to reach 50% in 2020."

How does this work in terms of their INDCs commitments? Well, it's fairly limited, and involves real-term increases in GHG emissions:

"The unconditional GHGs reduction outcome target is aiming at reducing Jordan’s GHGs by at maximum 1.5 % by 2030 compared to a business as usual scenario levels. This target will be arrived at based on implementing tens of projects, some of them are part of the 43 sectoral projects resulted from the mitigation scenario assessment articulated in the Third National Communication (TNC) Report to UNFCCC and some are priority projects proposed recently by GHGs emission sectors after developing the TNC and communicated to MoEnv. The implementation of some of these projects already started.
The conditional outcome target is aiming at reducing Jordan’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 12.5 % by 2030. This target as well will be arrived at based on implementing tens of projects, some of them are part of the 43 sectoral projects proposed in the TNC Report to UNFCCC and some are priority projects proposed recently by GHGs emission sectors after developing the TNC and communicated to MoEnv. The implementation of some of these projects already started."

It doesn't come cheap though:

"The estimated cost to reach the 14% target is totaling USD 5,700,000,000 from which GoJ has already secured USD 542,750,000 by its own means to meet the unconditional target, which means the Country is in need of USD 5,157,250,000 to fulfill its conditional target."

I continue to sympathise with Jordan and the Jordanians, but this sounds like a lot of money to achieve next to nothing vis-a-vis GHG emissions.

Jul 14, 2017 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Jul 14, 2017 at 9:23 AM | Supertroll


Therefore, as Unreliables are simply Unreliable, why not Nuclear?

Meanwhile, back at the thread, Brandt's North South divide seems to require successfully developed countries to cherish and adopt a Green lifestyle, whilst funding those underdeveloped countries that are sick of Green lifestyles and want "Development" now.

All it requires is cheap reliable power.

Jul 14, 2017 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jul 14, 2017 at 3:04 AM | Hilary Ostrov

Please don't lurk so much! Your insight from over there (and up a bit) is always valued over here. I admire Mark's diligence in wading through so much fully funded, resourced and endlessly recycled, unsustainable bureaucratic nonsense. Throughout history, ancient to recent, the demise of great cultures, civilizations, fortunes and businesses has depended on how they waste their money. Climate Science has to be the most destructive method yet devised.

Jul 14, 2017 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mark Hodgson, Costa Rica

The Wikipedia entry for Costa Rica is full of praise for everything about the place. I wonder who wrote it?

"The country has consistently performed favourably in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 69th in the world as of 2015, among the highest of any Latin American nation.[9] It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region.[10] Its rapidly developing economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism."

I wonder how many EcoTourists choose not to fly there?

Jul 14, 2017 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie