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Showing posts with label Kyoto Protocol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kyoto Protocol. Show all posts

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nepal's position paper for the Copenhagen Negotiations (COP15)

Nepal is a small landlocked country situated between massive global economy of China and India. Nepal has considerable stake admits its strategic location where climate changes has drastically affected its major resources including the fragile mountain ecosystem and most importantly the human settlement. With the unstable economy and label of under developing country, Nepal is struggling to meet the standards of globalization where it suffers in different ways social, financially and ecologically.

It lacks proper institutional, scientific and economic resources to adapt the climate changes making it more vulnerable to externalities of Climate change. Recent incidents of the glacial lake out-burst (Cho-Rolpa) in Nepal is the implications of the climate change which threats similar other glaciers and the whole Himalayan region.

Apart from the fossil fuels, deforestation and the changes in the land uses are also responsible for net increases in the carbon dioxide emissions where Nepal is moving towards adapting different strategies of Mitigation and Adaptation. Therefore, climate change seeks action at two major areas. First is the mitigation of the greenhouse gases and the second is the adaptation to the climate change.

Nepal’s Mitigation and Adaptation strategy towards Climate Change
Mitigation and adaptation are the strategic tools that deal with the cause and effect part of the global climate change. A mitigation strategy tries to eliminate the cause of global climate change whereas adaptation strategies try to minimize the adverse effects of the climate change.
-With the donor-driven Mitigation activities rather than the country driven, Nepal’s national priority is not the global environment but the local one. Moreover, the efforts have resulted in improvement of the local pollution, raising awareness, energy conservation, and technology transfer.

- Adaptation to the climate change is the area where Nepal has more stakes. Implications of the climate changes to the fragile mountain ecosystem, fresh water, and extreme weather events, agriculture, human health and others are taking its toll where the people living in the selected area are facing serious problems.

Main focus of the Conference

Focusing UFCCC and Kyoto protocol in implementing the Bali road Map: The Bali Roadmap mandates the implementation of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, creating a secure, full, effective and sustained implementation of the UNFCCC with priority to mitigation, adaption, technology transfer and financial support. This will further help in reducing emission rate for developed countries according to the standard set under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Cooperation and Flexibility in responsibility: The developed national should take responsibility for the past degradation of the climate and further move on to reduce their emission with regards to the standards set according to future agreement. They should further help in assisting the most impacted countries with possible resources including technological transfer and take proactive measures to adapt and mitigate the climate change. The agreement should also focus on charging the high GHG emitting members according to their emission rate.

Creating an effective mechanism: The Conference should focus on creating an effective mechanism to adapt mitigation, adaption, technology transfer and financial support. It should give equal priorities to the weakest links giving them opportunity to stand up and facilitate them with effective resources. Nevertheless, financing and technology are indispensible means to achieve mitigation and adaptation where the mechanism should focus on the effective technology transfer.

Nepal’s position is very clear in context of COP 15, as climate change has hit us hard, so we believe in the implementation of Bali agreement and further move ahead with the second phase of Kyoto Protocol in adapting the most effective measures in reducing the Green house gas effect. The developed nation should further move to reduce their emission rate effectively in supporting the most impacted country in every possible way socially, financially and by transferring effective technologies.

Global warming or climate changes is a concern of everyone so the COP 15 should further move in cooperation and coalition addressing the needs and problems of the climate change in securing the future. The conference should also focus on giving substance to the voices of the smaller countries and try to understand the pragmatic grounds of developed nation. The efforts should be diverted towards a mutual point of being responsible in making united efforts of saving our earth.

Strategies of Adaptation

1. A new climate change agreement must consist of a shared vision to combat climate change and contain a clear regulatory framework that is valid for a long period of time, ideally until 2050, in order to provide enduring incentives for climate-friendly investments. Interim targets should also be established to trigger immediate action through incentives that are effective in the short-term. A system with medium and long-term targets is necessary both to give enterprises the necessary investment and planning security and to ensure that targets are met.
2. Development of innovative technologies and technology transfer. The development and application of innovative technologies and technology transfer are decisive to combat global climate change. So effective research and development need to be given adapting the best of what can be achieved.
3. The least developed countries and those facing the greatest threats should be supported in adapting to the consequences of climate change. The financial resources of the existing Adaptation Fund, which was established for this purpose, should be increased with grants from the public and the private sector. Industry can contribute to adaptation measures in particular through developing and providing appropriate technologies.
4. The international climate change agreement must aim to minimize competitive distortions on the markets through a globally uniform price for greenhouse gas emissions
5. Enhanced action on adaptation, dealing more specifically with:
Ø Objectives with respect to adapting to the impacts of climate change
Ø Supporting and undertaking the implementation of adaptation actions
Ø Addressing risk reduction, management and sharing of efforts to adapt to climate change
Ø Institutional arrangements to assist in the implementation of adaptation actions, and
Ø Monitoring and reviewing mechanisms for adaptation actions

Strategies of Mitigation

1. In order to combat climate change in a globally effective and cost-efficient way, the post-2012 agreement must include further development of the project-based on Kyoto Joint Implementation (JI) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). These provide the opportunity to finance clean technologies and implement climate change measures in emerging and developing countries.
2. All efforts to reduce emissions must be measurable and verifiable as mentioned in the Bali Roadmap. An effective compliance system must be developed to enable transparent and verifiable comparison of the climate change efforts of the different countries. The post- Kyoto agreement must include an effective sanctioning mechanism for non-compliance with reduction targets. Improving CDM and JI
3. Development of innovative technologies and technology transfer is another aspect of Mitigation. The development and application of innovative technologies and technology transfer are decisive to combat global climate change.
4. CDM and JI projects should be used more widely for the transfer of environmental technologies as in view of the trend in the worldwide distribution of CO2 emissions, projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be particularly efficient and effective in developing and emerging countries.

5. Enhanced action on mitigation, dealing more specifically with:
Ø objectives with respect to adapting to the impacts of climate change
Ø supporting and undertaking the implementation of adaptation actions
Ø addressing risk reduction, management and sharing of efforts to adapt to climate change
Ø institutional arrangements to assist in the implementation of adaptation actions, and
Ø monitoring and reviewing mechanisms for adaptation actions
Many emerging countries such as China and India have considerable current account surpluses with which they are able to acquire technologies on the market. Developing countries need financial support to obtain key technologies for mitigating climate change.

Executive Summary

Nepal being an under developed country and having less emission rate certain portrays it preeminence but the impact of the climates change and GHG in it territory has been immense where it needs to further raise questions for mitigation and adaption. The past experiences of the temperature rise in the Himalayan region have brought inevitable conditions where the drastic changes have suffered the consequence in both Visual Appearance of snow melting and accidents.

There is no argument that, economic development policy of Nepal should not compromise with the policies to mitigate GHG emissions but Nepal’s policies should try to flow in cooperation creating an effective scenario of saving the changes by effective measure of both mitigation and adaption where effort counts.

Amid the changing environment a framework should be devised targeting the adaptation and mitigation measures, which would ensure a smooth flow of both excluding conflicting outcomes. The goal for long-term cooperation should be comprehensive that should consists of sustainable development, mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology adapting the developed to the least developed countries with addressing their need and problems. In terms of mitigation, the developed countries as a whole should reduce their GHG emissions according to the standard set by the conference on mutual understanding.
Thus the Copenhagen Climate Conference should focus on full, effective and sustained implementation of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol prioritizing positive outcome, for mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and financial support.


COP- Conference of Parties
GHG- Green House Gas
GLOF- Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding
CDM- Clean Development Mechanism
UNFCCC- United National Framework Convention on Climate Change
REDD - Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries
NAMAs- Nature of nationally appropriate mitigation actions
IPCC- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Nuclear energy is not an option for combating Climate Change

Nuclear energy or power is an alternative solution for subsidizing the global green house gasses emission rate but is not a permanent solution [1]. As nuclear power is not a clean or renewable form of energy [6], so to an extent it can be used as an effective means of reducing the green house gasses emission rate but not a permanent solution where better option are being explored and new technologies are being developed.
Professing, the role of production of green house gasses, a large percentage of the emission is also related to electricity production where great quantities of fossil fuels are used in producing electricity. The Nuclear energy provides a better option in producing the non fossil electricity [1] but the high investment, dangers of radiation or inevitable risks of catastrophic nuclear accidents and also increases the threat of nuclear weapons expansion and research [6] [7].
It’s neither the cheapest of the non-fossil fuel alternatives, nor is it the cleanest, but still the demand of nuclear power is growing due to its flexibility of operation and mass energy production capacity [2].
Moreover, the booming of the renewable technologies has outstripped the nuclear power in development and performance, while ensuring the cost, effectiveness and efficiency, but is yet struggling to adapt the market. There are variable options like Wind Power, Solar Photo Voltaic, Solar Thermal, Geo Thermal, Hydro electricity; Bio Mass, Land gasses etc which are being explored and small fraction of it are being used in different parts of the world [4]. More or less, whether it’s nuclear or any form of energy, if it helps in reducing the rate of emission in any way should certainly be capitalized where its pros and cons should be well evaluated [3].
Now, looking back to the Nuclear energy prospects, the initial investment for setting up a nuclear plant may be huge or in billions but the average cost of producing nuclear energy is less than the cost of using fossil fuel or coal or hydroelectric which seems very lucrative and adaptive. Moving on the advancement in technology will bring the cost down further in the future but inherently the threats of nuclear power station also shadow its prospects [5].
Nuclear energy is well recognized as an alternative energy where its demand has reached to the priority of developed and developing nation. To the level, Nuclear power is regarded as one of the options available for alleviating the risk of global climate change and Green house gases s effects, where controversies are raised in and against the use of Nuclear power [4]. Further research and development is necessary in order to assess the technical and economical feasibility of those applications where the renewable options should be give chance on the basis of efficiency and effectiveness [3]. As it’s said that an effort of a person is not a worth but the idea is worth catching thousand of mind where we as an individual can make a difference.


1. In December 1997 governments met in Kyoto, Japan, where they agreed the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, meaning that governments were committed to stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions to levels that would minimize climate change. The electricity generating sector contributes a large percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions by burning fossil fuels. Nuclear energy, along with renewable such as solar, wind and hydro generates electricity without greenhouse gas emissions.
Nuclear energy provides a fully developed non-fossil electricity generating option with the potential for large scale expansion. A continued steady growth of nuclear energy will allow countries to avoid emitting greenhouse gases from their electricity sector and help them to meet their Kyoto commitment.

2. In the United States, for example, no new nuclear power stations have been ordered since 1978. This has happened in a country which launched the Pressurized Water Reactor design and which houses many more nuclear reactors than any other country. Construction and operating costs have risen so dramatically, especially since the extra safety demands made after the accident at Three Mile Island, that some companies have faced bankruptcy.
In the United Kingdom, after a review of the privatization of the nuclear power industry, the government dismissed the industry’s demands for public funding to build new reactors to combat global warming. Six months later, British Energy cancelled two proposed stations, leaving the UK for the first time in over 40 years with no plans for new nuclear power stations.

3. In the Kyoto Protocol, agreed upon by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 1997, Annex I countries committed to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Also, the Protocol states that Annex I countries shall undertake promotion, research, development and increased use of new and renewable forms of energy, of carbon dioxide sequestration technologies and of advanced and innovative environmentally sound technologies. One important option that could be covered by the last phrase, and is not specifically mentioned, is nuclear energy which is essentially carbon free.
In this connection, the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has investigated the role that nuclear power could play in alleviating the risk of global climate change. The main objective of the study is to provide a quantitative basis for assessing the consequences for the nuclear sector and for the reduction of GHG emissions of alternative nuclear development paths. The analysis covers the economic, financial, industrial and potential environmental effects of three alternative nuclear power development paths (“nuclear variants”).
Ø Variant I, “continued nuclear growth”, assumes that nuclear power capacity would grow steadily, reaching 1 120 GWe* in 2050.
Ø Variant II, “phase-out”, assumes that nuclear power would be phased out completely by 2045.
Ø Variant III, “stagnation followed by revival”, assumes early retirements of nuclear units in the short term (to 2015) followed by a revival of the nuclear option by 2020 leading to the same nuclear capacity in 2050 as in variant I.

4. Challenges for the Nuclear Industry
Ø Variant I: The main challenges would be to ensure that nuclear power retains and improves it economic competitive position relative to alternative energy sources, and to enhance public understanding and acceptance of nuclear power.
Ø Variant II: The nuclear sector will be challenged to meet the need for maintaining capabilities and know how to ensure the safe decommissioning of nuclear units and final disposal of radioactive wastes. Nuclear industries in a number of OECD countries have demonstrated already that capability. This variant might exacerbate challenges within the non nuclear energy sectors, in regard to long term security of supply and meeting UNFCCC commitments.
Ø Variant III: would challenge the nuclear industry to ensure that technical and economic preparedness would be maintained and enhanced during more than two decades of stagnation, in order to keep the nuclear option open. A revival of nuclear power by 2015 is assumed to be based upon technologies that are able to compete favorably with advanced fossil fuelled technologies, renewable sources and other options for alleviating the risk of global climate change.

5. Nuclear energy is expensive. It is in fact one of the least expensive energy sources. In 2004, the average cost of producing nuclear energy in the United States was less than two cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable with coal and hydroelectric. Advances in technology will bring the cost down further in the future.

6. Nuclear waste is produced at every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to the reprocessing of spent nuclear. Much of this waste will remain hazardous for thousands of years, leaving a deadly radioactive legacy to future generations.
At nuclear power stations, highly radioactive waste has to be regularly removed from the reactor and at most sites this spent fuel is being stored temporarily in water-filled cooling ponds. According to independent experts, the global quantity of spent fuel produced without a climate based radical expansion of nuclear power is expected to increase from 145,000 tones in 1994, to 322,000 tones by the year 2010. Whilst a variety of disposal methods have been under discussion for decades, there is still no demonstrated method for isolating nuclear waste from the environment for adequate time periods.
As part of the routine operation of every nuclear power station, some waste materials are also discharged directly into the environment. Liquid waste is discharged into the sea and gaseous waste is released into the atmosphere.

7. Nuclear Weapons: Uncontrollable World-wide Proliferation
Plutonium is an inevitable consequence of nuclear power production. The plutonium is contained in the spent nuclear fuel. It is one of the most radiotoxic and dangerous substances in existence. A single microgram, smaller than a speck of dust, can cause fatal cancer if inhaled or ingested and a sphere of plutonium smaller than a tennis ball can be used to make a nuclear bomb capable of killing many thousands of people.
The links between the civilian use of nuclear technology and military applications is one of the most disturbing aspects of the nuclear age. The very first, crude nuclear reactors were specifically built in the 1940s and 1950s to produce plutonium for the US, former Soviet Union and British bombs. Only later were they adapted to generate nuclear electricity.
As nuclear technology spreads around the globe, so does the risk of nuclear proliferation. Nuclear weapons can be constructed using plutonium from either military or civilian sources.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

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