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Climate Change and Energy

 

Resolution

 

1. Action plan to address major emission threats

The Green’s priority actions to address major emission threats and maintain and enhance carbon drawdown processes:

1.1    Greens will campaign for phase out of fossil subsidies. The first step would be for G20 countries to bring action to their promises to work on a phase-out agreed in Pittsburgh 2008 and Toronto 2009.

1.2    Greens will work to stop deforestation and degradation of natural forests by 2020.

Greens will also work for:

1.3    Greens in the major coal producing nations (China, US, India, Australia, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Germany, Poland, Kazakhstan, Colombia and Turkey) and coal consuming countries (Japan, South Korea) agree to work together on a campaign to phase out the production and use of coal and fossil gas.

1.4    Around the world Greens will continue to raise awareness about the impact of coal on the climate, the environment and people’s health.

1.5    Greens will work in all nations to campaign for ‘coal-free’ zones to be declared by councils, communities or government

1.6    The Greens will call for a complete ban on new unconventional fossil fuel projects, and a phase out of existing projects

1.7    The Greens will push for a robust legislative framework to prevent these climate hostile unconventional fossil fuels from entering the market, particularly in markets with high per capita oil consumption. The Greens will campaign for legislation at the national or regional level to prohibit the sale of fuels with higher emissions than traditional oil.

1.8     The Greens will campaign against increased levels of fossil gas being used as transitional fuel as coal is phased out.


2. Action plan for energy and equity

The Green’s priority actions to advance energy and equity for all:

2.1       In recognition of the role that renewable energy can play in providing clean and affordable energy to all, the Greens will promote legislation for feed in tariffs and other effective subsidies and support to encourage renewable energy production in all nations.

2.2    The Greens will work to ensure the world urgently meets its climate financing pledges and that funds are new additional grants not loans. The Greens will push for international instruments to curb the impact of international aviation and maritime transport on the climate.

2.4   The Greens will work for the Green Fund of the UNFCC to be transparent and accountable.

2.5   The Greens will work for more finance for research and development of renewable energy technologies.

2.6   The Greens will push for international instruments to curb the impact of international aviation and maritime transport on the climate.

2.7   The Greens will develop and promote a global road map for the phase out of the nuclear fuel chain – from uranium mining to waste – and the decommissioning of all nuclear power plants.


3. Action plan for adaptation

The Greens priority actions for adaptation:

3.1   The Greens will promote locally appropriate and effective adaptation measures, supported by capacity and institution building, making use of indigenous knowledge and technologies where appropriate and investment in technology transfer where necessary.

3.2   The Greens call on governments of all nations to adopt measures to adapt to the unavoidable consequences of climate change. For example unless far-reaching mitigation measures are urgently implemented, governments should be planning for a projected average sea level rise of at least 2 metres by 2100.


Background

 

1. ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS MAJOR EMISSION THREATS

 a. The climate crisis is both the greatest challenge facing the global community and the greatest opportunity for humanity to rethink how we live, in a way that is socially just and within the Earth’s ecological limits. We must create safe climate economies that don’t rely on fossil fuel use, covering all sectors including electricity and heat, transport, industry, buildings and agriculture. 

b. The Greens are committed to actions to achieve a safe climate for the planet. This will mean limiting global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Global emissions will need to peak well before 2020 and greater drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere will be needed to have a chance to stay within this temperature limit.

c. The Greens will base their emissions reductions targets and the speed of action needed to reach these targets on the best available climate science.

d. The Greens will focus their campaigning and legislative effort to stem the growth of emissions from five major emission threats in the coming five years to help ensure that emissions peak prior to 2020.

Threat 1. The continuing rise of coal in the power sector

e. Coal burning for power is the world’s biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions and continues to grow unchallenged. Between 2001 and 2006, coal use around the world grew by an unprecedented 30 percent— developing Asia accounts for 88 percent of this increase; 72 percent of this growth comes from China alone. Current growth trends and rates of use reveal that, unless reduced, coal burning will remain the driving force behind global warming for the foreseeable future.

f. CO2 emissions are far from the only environmental hazard resulting from the continued popularity of coal —from extraction to combustion, mined coal threatens human health, severely disrupts ecosystems, contaminates water supplies and emits toxic air pollutants.

Action

  • Greens in coal producing nations (China, US, India, Australia, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Germany, Poland, Kazakhstan, Colombia and Turkey) and coal consuming nations (Japan, South Korea) agree to work together on a campaign to phase out the production and use of coal.
  • Around the world Greens will continue to raise awareness about the impact of coal on the climate, the environment and people’s health.
  • Greens will work in all nations to campaign for ‘coal-free’ zones to be declared by councils, communities or governments.

Threat 2. The growing use of non-conventional fossil fuels

g. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels from crude oil provide ninety-five percent of the energy consumed in the transport sector worldwide. There is no other sector so reliant on a single source of primary energy, and this is a threat to the climate and global security.

h. Many of the fuel technologies which are either under consideration or in various stages of commercialisation have environmental footprints which are significantly worse than conventional crude oil. These technologies include shale oil, oil sands and coal-to-liquid technologies and create up to eight times as many emissions as conventional oil production. Use of non-conventional gas is similarly growing rapidly, with major environmental and climate consequences. Coal seam gas production, or ‘fracking’ for example uses a huge amount of fresh water, and damages natural environments and landscapes.

i. The recent rapid development of these non-conventional fossil fuels presents a very serious threat to achieving a peak in global emissions before 2020. They are not a transition to sustainability but a block. If these investments continue we are at serious risk of locking ourselves into a fossil fuel economy for the next 30 – 40 years or more.

Action

  • The Greens will call for a complete ban on new unconventional fossil fuel projects, and a phase out of existing projects
  • The Greens will push for a robust legislative framework to prevent these climate hostile fuels from entering the market, particularly in markets with high per capita oil consumption. The Greens will campaign for legislation at the national or regional level to prohibit the sale of fuels with higher emissions than traditional oil

Threat 3. The danger of fossil gas being used as a ‘transitional’ fuel because it is perceived as cleaner than coal.

j. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil gas are less than coal but are still very significant. Large scale substitution of fossil gas for coal will result in continuing carbon emissions inconsistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees above pre industrial levels

Action

  • The Greens will campaign against increased levels of fossil gas being used as transitional fuel as coal is phased out

Threat 4. Fossil fuel subsidies working against renewable energy

k. Fossil fuel subsidies worldwide rose to least $470bn in 2010, according to the International Energy Association. Continuing subsidies for fossil fuels are the greatest challenge to the growth of the renewable energy industry, as the subsidies impede investment in renewable energy and create a distorted market advantage for polluting energy.

l. Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 will reduce global energy demand by 4.1% and slow growth in emissions by 1.7bn tonnes a year.

m. In 2009, G20 member countries agreed to cut fossil fuel subsidies, to foster green growth and to avoid encouraging overconsumption. But action on this pledge has stalled and subsidies instead rose last year by about $100bn on 2009.

Action

  • The Greens will campaign for a clear and ambitious target for a phase out of fuel subsidies. The first step is for a phase out to be a central component of Rio + 20 international agreement.

Threat 5. Losing the carbon stored in natural forests and ecosystems

n. Biodiverse natural forests and ecosystems, including marine vegetation such as mangroves and sea grasses, store massive amounts of carbon and act as a buffer against climate change.

o. The global boreal forest, edging along the southern arctic through Russia, Scandinavia, Canada, and Alaska is the world’s largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon and has been largely overlooked in international climate discussions to date.

p. Less than 2% of Africa's forests are under community control, compared to a third in Latin America and Asia, say the Rights and Resources Initiative. The deforestation rate in Africa is four times the world's average.

q.      Protection and restoration of the world’s natural forests and ecosystems is critical to avoid dangerous climate change. Climate measures must not promote forest destruction and competition with food growing. Measures must respect and protect the knowledge of Indigenous people and local communities and safeguard their rights. There is a growing risk of biofuel production using agricultural land that should be used for food production, and impacting on food security

Action

  • The Greens will work to stop deforestation and degradation of natural forests by 2020.

2. ACTION PLAN FOR ENERGY AND EQUITY

 Issue 1.  Renewable energy for all

a. It is estimated that 2 billion people need access to modern energy services in order to rise out of poverty. For these people, a lack of access to energy services undermines their health, limits their opportunities for education and reduces the potential to escape poverty.

b. Lack of access to energy is a problem of technology, of infrastructure, of economics, of culture, and of politics—but policy makers can have an impact on ensuring clean and renewable energy reaches the people who need it.

c. Developing countries are playing a bigger role in advancing renewable energy and now account for almost half of the nations with a policy to promote renewable power generation. They also have more than half of global renewable power capacity.

d. Decentralised energy systems have significant benefits for communities and decreased environmental impact.

e. The Greens recognise the benefits of biofuel production that is based on sustainable resource use, such as the use of waste agricultural produce which does not impact on the use of agricultural land or affect food and water security by using land that should be used for food production.

f. Renewable energy technologies should be comprehensively planned to ensure that they do not have unacceptable impacts on natural environments and local communities. For example large-scale hydro electricity dams can have major impacts.

g. One common policy currently in use is the feed-in tariff, which has been enacted in more than 50 countries.

Action

  • The Greens will promote legislation for feed in tariffs and other effective subsidies and support for renewable energy

Issue 2.  Climate finance

h. The developed world has a responsibility to contribute substantially to funding climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in the developing world because of the ecological debt owed.

i. Despite recent commitments of 'fast start' climate funding from donors, governments in developing nations face significant obstacles in accessing resources to adapt to climate change. Funds are urgently needed to help protect food security, water supply, coasts and public health from damage caused by climate change.

j. The Greens are concerned that the global funding pledge of US$100 billion each year by 2020 will not be met and that the inflexibility and bureaucracy of donor programs will limit the flow of resources to those most in need.

k. There are now more than forty international and regional mechanisms that have been established under the UNFCCC for climate finance. Many of the most vulnerable nations, such as least developed countries and low-lying states, have still not been able to access any climate finance to mitigate and adapt to climate change, despite their urgent needs. We need to generate revenues for supporting climate action in developing countries.

Action

  • The Greens will work to ensure the world urgently meets its climate financing pledges and that funds are new additional grants not loans. We will promote the use of national trust funds and other appropriate direct funding mechanisms in nations where sound policy and good governance are in place as an effective way to accumulate, preserve, and mobilise capital, rather than all funds being held in international bureaucracies.
  • The Greens will work for the Green Fund of the UNFCC to be transparent and accountable.
  • The Greens will work for more finance for research and development of renewable energy technologies.

Issue 3.  Ending nuclear energy

l. As with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the accident at Fukushima has reminded us once again that nuclear technology is unforgiving and accidents cannot be contained.

m. The Greens are profoundly concerned for the people of Japan who continue to face the impact of the 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant accident.

n. Nuclear technology has never been safe and has never survived without massive public subsidies.

Action

  • The Greens will develop and promote national and global road map for the phase out of the nuclear fuel chain – from uranium mining to waste – and the decommissioning of all nuclear power plants.

 

3. ACTION PLAN FOR ADAPTATION

a. Even with the best commitment to mitigation, some level of adaptation to climate change is inevitable. The sooner the world works to reduce emissions, the less adaptation will be required, but adaptation to the impacts of climate change is needed now.

b. Adaptation measures need to be consistent with sustainable development, and should not put further stress on natural environments. They are needed now to prevent loss of life and to protect biodiversity, with least developed countries and low lying states in particular needing immediate support.

c. Adaptation measures need to be supported by capacity and institution building to ensure they are effective and appropriate.

Action

  • The Greens will promote locally appropriate and effective adaptation measures, supported by capacity and institution building, making use of indigenous knowledge and technologies where appropriate and investment in technology transfer where necessary.
  • The Greens call on governments of all nations to adopt measures to adapt to unavoidable consequences of climate change. For example unless far reaching mitigation measures are urgently implemented, governments should be planning for a projected average sea level rise of at least 2 metres by 2100.

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