IGES launches the second round of Asia-Pacific consultations on climate regime beyond 2012, starting with Beijing for Northeast Asia
7 July 2006
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Hayama, Japan launched its second round of consultations on climate regime beyond 2012 with various stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region, starting with Beijing on 3 - 4 July 2006.

The goal of this consultation process is to promote new and constructive thinking in the Asia-Pacific region on the future actions against climate change beyond 2012, and to contribute to the shaping of a future climate regime that adequately reflects the concerns and developmental aspirations of countries in the region. In 2005, IGES conducted region-wide and national consultations in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea and Viet Nam in order to ascertain Asian concerns, interests and priorities for the future climate regime*1.

The consultations in 2006 aim to promote further discussions on the four themes (a) energy security and development needs, (b) the clean development mechanism, (c) technology development and transfer, and (d) adaptation to climate change. The consultations will be held on a sub-regional basis in Beijing (on 3 and 4 July for Northeast Asia), Bangkok (on 19 and 20 July for Southeast Asia), and Delhi (on 9 and 10 August for South Asia).

The consultations in Beijing were held in cooperation with Energy Research Institute (ERI) of National Development and Reform Comission, China. They were attended by some 60 policy-makers, industry representatives, academic experts, and NGO representatives from China, Korea, Mongolia, and Japan. In these consultations, IGES researchers first summarised the current status of international discussions and Asian concerns on each theme, and provided the audience with an in-depth review of various proposals to strengthen the future climate regime. The participants freely expressed their candid opinions on ways to facilitate actions in various themes.

*1: The outcomes were published as a report entitled, "Asian Perspectives on Climate Regime Beyond 2012: Concerns, Interests and Priorities" and disseminated at UNFCCC COP11 and the 14th UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-14).

Please refer to the appended materials for a preliminary summary of the consultations.

For enquiries about this press release please contact:
Dr. Ancha Srinivasan, Principal Researcher,
Climate Policy Project
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Tel: +81-46-855-3818 Fax: +81-46-855-3809

Ms. Kido, PR Officer,
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0115 Japan
Tel: +81-46-855-3700 Fax: +81-46-855-3709

1. A Preliminary Summary of Consultations
(1) Energy Security, Development, and Climate Policy

- Energy is clearly an issue of utmost importance affecting the social and economic development of Asian developing countries. However, in international climate negotiations, the subject of energy security including safety, access, availability and affordability has not received the attention it deserves. A new framework that integrates energy security concerns with climate change issues needs to be found.
- Whereas climate change is being debated as a global problem, development and energy security issues are largely tied to the domestic policies of respective countries. In order to integrate climate change issues with each country's development and energy security concerns, it is necessary to identify options to integrate top-down international policies that aim to achieve stabilisation of global climate with bottom-up government policies that reflect national circumstances in each country.
- China has tremendous scope for improvement in the area of energy efficiency. China's 11th Five-Year Plan earmarks the enhancement of energy efficiency as one of its goals with clear numerical targets (20% reduction in energy intensity and 10% reduction in air pollution by 2010). However, no decision has been taken to relate these targets with the global GHG reduction targets being discussed under the international climate framework.
- Participants noted that policies to curb green house gas emissions would result in substantial co-benefits such as a reduction in air pollution and the promotion of employment at the local level.

(2) Climate-friendly Technology Development and Transfer

- Participants recognised that further technological development is indispensable to achieve the ultimate goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and that member states must promote the dissemination of technologies at a domestic level within developing countries while further encouraging technology transfer from developed to developing countries. At the same time, capacity building is required to foster the human resources needed to operate, maintain, and manage such new technologies in developing countries. When the discussion broached the subject of setting numerical targets for developed countries for transfer of technology to developing countries, it was pointed out that the issue of quantification posed a technical hurdle.
- Private-public partnerships on development and climate issues, such as the Asia Pacific Partnership (APP), are receiving attention for their efforts to promote active participation by the private sector. What is now needed is advancement of concrete initiatives that can convince private enterprises that it is worthwhile to take part in such activities.
- Regarding the optimal ways to handle intellectual property rights (IPR) for climate-friendly technologies, some participants suggested that conditions on safeguarding of IPR must be relaxed for technologies that possess the characteristics of international public goods. On the other hand, to encourage the utilization of such IPR, the possibility of introducing compulsory licensing within the World Trade Organization (WTO) or enforcing shared patenting was debated. Participants pointed out that more research is necessary to determine if climate-friendly technologies can conform to the kind of scheme laid out for compulsory patent licensing of AIDS drugs.
- Participants noted that even relatively less advanced technologies, which can reduce green house gases, are not properly deployed in developing countries, even when there are no IPR constraints. Consequently, the promotion of such technologies is very important. However, one must pay attention to the "technology lock-in" effect, as it is not easy to upgrade and renew already adopted technologies (e.g., those of coal-based power plants or the steel industry, which may last for more than 50 years).

(3) Clean Development Mechanism

- Participants noted that currently the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects give precedence to maximising profit to investors, rather than necessarily contributing to sustainable development in developing countries.
- Because current CDM did not seem to facilitate technology transfer as per expectations, improvements designed to spur technology transfer are considered crucial. Particularly important is the transfer of know-how to operate, maintain, and manage technologies.
- Feasibility of the sector-based approach to CDM was debated. It was pointed out that setting a baseline and subsequent implementation might face technical hurdles.
- While it is important to raise financing to implement CDM activities, the CDM in its current form is not necessarily attractive to investors. Moreover, very few CDM projects are implemented in the Least Developed Countries where poverty reduction is the highest priority issue. There is also a need to explore utilization of ODA in support of CDM projects contributing to sustainable development. In addition, because the price of certified emission reductions (CERs) influences the extent to which CDM activities are implemented, participants felt that both market prices and government purchases need to be stabilised. All participants strongly hoped that the CDM would continue beyond 2012.

(4) Adaptation to climate change

- Participants weighed the pros and cons of the "Adaptation Protocol" and other initiatives that focus solely on adaptation to climate change. Some participants noted that on account of the delays in initiatives and international negotiations on adaptation, parties should seek to implement individual actions. Others opined that initiatives focused solely on adaptation might cause people to neglect efforts to mitigate climate change. Still others feared that while large sums are needed for adaptation, it might be impossible to raise sufficient funds through international climate negotiations.
- It was noted that Japan was supporting infrastructure improvement contributed to adaptation through ODA, but also discussed was the possibility of providing further support via ODA targeting adaptation policies.
- Some participants expressed that, rather than establishing a rigid international framework with specific targets for adaptation, it would be more effective to build a flexible framework.
- As with mitigation measures, the use of market mechanisms to promote adaptation projects was discussed but participants recognised the need for further research in this area.

2. Future Issues
The present consultations highlighted the need to deepen international cooperation in response to changing national and international circumstances. It is crucial to carefully explore opinions and issues brought up in this round of consultations pertaining to development, energy security, technology development and technology transfer, CDM, and adaptation, and to reflect such views in a future framework so that it can address Asian concerns more effectively than before.

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