On Saturday we reached the end of the first week of COP-23, which is meeting in Bonn from 6 to 17 November. Whilst physically in Bonn, the formal host is Fiji, the first time a small island state has presided over a COP. Fiji asked that a focus of this COP to be on oceans, and we responded in our UNFCCC Side-event on the 7th November (see earlier blog).
The focus of the negotiations at COP-23 is to make progress on the implementation of the Paris Agreement ready for the post 2020 climate regime. The adoption of an implementation ‘rulebook’ for the Paris Agreement is due to be completed at COP-24 in 2018. A ‘facilitated dialogue’ is being prepared to undertake a stocktake of progress and pledges at COP-24 also. At half way through COP, the process ‘stocktake’ by the presidency concluded there was progress in most areas needed. We are particularly interested in the technology aspects (under Article 10 of the Paris Agreement) and we await to see the outputs of these. There appears to be technology neutrality and encouragement of collaborative R,D&D in the discussions (which encourages our activities) as well as links to funding mechanisms. A draft ‘technology framework’ may be presented at SBSTA-48 in April 2018.
The COP is split into two sites, one for negotiations and one for side events and exhibits. There is concern that this separation reduces the ability of the side events to inform negotiators with the latest science and developments, the logistics are not conducive to moving between meetings in different zones (I found hiring a bike or the electric taxis to be the fastest way). However at our UNFCCC Side-event we were fortunate to attract a healthy number of country delegates.
In the other side events, there were several that I saw around encouragement of a move away from coal. Their messages on whether abated or unabated coal seem confused at times. I saw one of these criticise CCS as too expensive and as having a smaller role in achieving 1.5C, which is different to what is shown in IEA’s ETP 2017 scenario which I pointed out.
Also of note was the unofficial American pavilion, which brought in several Senators, City Mayors and business leaders such as from Microsoft, Mars and Walmart.
In the first week there were several other side events on CCS as well as our UNFCCC Side-event. An interesting one was held in the China Pavilion on the 8th, organised by NDRC, GCCSI and ADB. Several speakers presented China’s CCUS outlook. China plans to have CCUS contributing 10-15% of its emissions reductions by 2050. It was suggested that capturing CO2 from coal chemical plant is a cost effective way for China to deploy large scale CCS projects. China is also preparing for implementation of two large-scale integrated CCS projects in coal-fired power plant. Five CO2-EOR projects are underway to test the efficiency of CO2 flooding in China, and EOR could be a driver for CCUS in China. Presentations also included updates from the IEA, Norway, UK and the International CCS Knowledge Centre. This was well attended, maybe around 50 attendees.
In terms of IEAGHG involvement at COP-23, as well as our main Side-event, we helped organise and co-chair an event on CCUS in the EU in the EU Pavilion. The organisation was led by CO2GeoNet, with CCSA, GCCSI and Bellona. A presentation from ZEP showed that CCS is indispensable for the EU reaching its climate targets, particularly when levelised system costs are considered, and the significant role of ambient heat as a renewable resource in the ZEP analysis. The event also show cased cement industry and Norwegian achievements. A Norwegian trade union representative said “there are no jobs on a dead planet”. In addition, IEAGHG presented at an event on the need for CO2 storage, organised by CO2Geonet and hosted in the Energies2050 pavilion. IEAGHG was also asked to speak at an ocean science event “Ocean options: Climate challenges and science responses” in the UK pavilion on 8th. This was well attended for the room size, maybe 40 people. This event covered an update on climate impacts of heating and acidification on the oceans, and responses in terms of blue carbon and IEAGHG presented on marine monitoring arising from CCS work, and in particular the UK and EU work by STEMM-CCS and ETI’s AUV. IEAGHG also contributed to a booth with the University of Texas, Bellona and CCSA, which proved to be well located and very popular at key times.
I also followed updates from the CTCN and the Green Climate Fund. CCS is an eligible technology under both.
Despite the grey and wet weather outside, there was a warm atmosphere of hard work inside COP-23. We will see what progress is made under all the negotiation streams towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement.