COP16 – day three highlights

Wednesday side event day

The REEEP Southeast Asia and Pacific team decided to avoid the long bus ride and attend three IETA side events off-site, at the Westin Resort, instead. We learnt that “yes” not always means “will do it”. On our question whether the bus driver would let us off the bus at a regular stop at the Westin, it didn’t actually mean he stopped. Instead he sped by and we ended up at the Cancun Messe. To cut a long story short: it took an hour and a half instead of ten minutes to get down the road.

Luckily, our frustration was softened quickly. IETA has a long standing reputation of setting up high quality side events alongside the formal UNFCCC side events during the COPs. We attended the final part (since we spent too much time on the bus) of an event on “Climate finance: new funding instruments and the role of risk assessment”, organised by Standard and Poor’s. The panellists provided a good overview of the current status and triggered an interesting discussion.

A second IETA event that day on “A carbon market overview: meet the analyst” addressed issues such as price levels of EUAs and CERs, uncertainty, the future demand and supply of CERs, and a discussion on potential global links.

Spending most of our time working in and with the Pacific Islands Countries (PICs), Eva and I were interested in hearing about CDM opportunities in this region during a third IETA event on “Advancing carbon finance in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries – ACP-CD4CDM”. The hosts, UNEP RISOE, introduced a new tool to assist CDM project developers in choosing the most relevant methodology. Within the Pacific region, two CDM projects have been registered: a hydro project in Fiji and a geothermal project in Papua New Guinea. In addition, there is currently also a Designated National Authority (DNA) Samoa, with Tonga and Vanuatu looking to establish one soon. It is however quite difficult to create a CDM projects in the PICs due to the lack of scale and high transaction costs. Examples from the Caribbean were interesting to learn from, and REEEP was able to contribute to the discussions with examples form work underway within the Pacific region, such as the potential for CDM opportunities within the low-carbon tourism project.

We finished our day with a fourth event about the GEF/UNEP/Osram/Philips en.lighten initiative which aims to promote the global transition of energy efficient lighting and reduce CO2 emissions. Results of Country Lighting Assessments for 100 nations were shared, demonstrating why the phase-out of inefficient lighting is one of the most important initiatives countries can take to combat climate change, save money and address the negative effects of fuel-based lighting on health and the environment. This initiative proves how public-private partnerships provide effective outcomes through simultaneous top-down and bottom-up approaches. Success in one sector, efficient lighting, expectantly triggers other sectoral successes.

Maaike & Eva in Cancun (REEEP Southeast Asia and Pacific)

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