How will businesses influence COP21?

It is essential that a successful agreement happens in the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP21) in 2015. A successful agreement would not only require participation from all or nearly all industrialized countries, but it would also require that ambitious goals are made. IPIECA is an association that was created in response to the United Nations Environmental program and advocates for policies for 38 oil and gas companies, including all the major international companies. As policy-makers progress to make ambitious goals in the upcoming year, IPIECA may help or hinder the success of policy changes. As the demands for energy increase, it has to be realized that coal, oil, and gas have to make significant changes and sacrifices if the agreement is to be a success. I will need to do more research into IPIECA and the World Coal Association to determine what position they will take in COP21 in 2015.

IPIECA seems to be heavily involved in many climate change groups such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and is invested in the CO2 Capture Project. Given the involvement of IPIECA in many programs and panels, and the realistic goals for global energy use in 2035 (shown below), it seems that IPIECA may actually be a source for alternative solutions, and an association to integrate solutions with.  Perhaps, IPIECA does not actually share all the same views as the companies that have memberships and instead has more ambitious goals than oil and gas companies would like; however, their involvement with the United Nations makes their position vital in my discussion.

climate-change-border

Energy companies, such as ExxonMobil, do not have a strong stance for sustainability, and are one of the most powerful institutions for making changes. ExxonMobil’s energy report shows a general lack of initiative to transfer out of coal and oil. Instead they adopt a “follow the money” policy, even though they are the economic leader of the industry. Furthermore, they have the ability to lobby government to prevent the institutionalized transfer to more sustainable energy sources.

ExxonMobil’s CEO, Rex. Tillerson stated at a speech in Houston that “There is no question that energy has been one of the foundations of U.S. economic strength for most of our nation’s history. In recent years the growth in domestic oil and gas production has been an important economic driver that extends far beyond our sector – delivering benefits to a wide range of Americans, businesses, and every level of government.’ Here, it does not seem as if the CEO intends to change directions on energy sources. However, in ExxonMobil’s Climate and Energy Report it says that “We are taking prudent steps on many fronts to address the risks posed by a changing climate, and we also continue to engage the public and policy makers in many ways regarding the issue.” This contradictory speaking reveals a startling truth about ExxonMobil’s true plan for the future. The climate and energy report is most likely to be read by someone who cares about the environment, and this paper is framed to show “dedication” to cleaner energy technologies. ExxonMobil also drastically underestimates the rising levels of CO2 emissions in these reports, and contributes these reductions to “improvements in energy efficiency” that are both finite, and not actually happening. (ExxonMobil Energy Report)

ExxonMobil claims it has a strict policy, but ExxonMobil is likely biased in their policies towards climate change, as well as the future of the energy industry. Shareholders of ExxonMobil would benefit from perpetuating the notion that lobbying is difficult, that climate change is distant and does not have the potential to be impactful, and that the future of the energy industry is set in stone.

My goal is to use my businesses sources to find the views of big energy businesses, and how they present a danger to the climate future. I hope to determine what influence IPIECA and WCA have on UN decisions, and use this to aid in my predictions/discussions. I hope to find other businesses that also show a strong potential to act as competition to these coal, oil and gas industries, and show potential for growth with sustainable technologies, attacking the idea that eliminating coal and oil from our “diet” would not hurt our economic health.

Citations:

“Summary Annual Report.”Exxonmobil.com. 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. <http://cdn.exxonmobil.com/en/shareholder-archive/~/media/Reports/Summary Annual Report/2013_ExxonMobil_Summary_Annual_Report.pdf>.

 

“Climate Change.” The Oil and Gas Industry and Rio 20. 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. <http://rio20.ipieca.org/fact-sheets/climate-change&gt;.

Is the United States Warming Up to Global Climate Control Policies?

The United States is responsible for the relative global failure of the Kyoto Protocol. Global warming has since become an even more urgent global issue. From the UN Emissions GAP Report, “Should the global community not immediately embark on wide ranging actions to narrow the greenhouse gas emissions gap, the chance of remaining on the least-cost path to keeping global temperature rise below 2°C this century will swiftly diminish and open the door to a host of challenges.”

UNEP GAP Report: http://www.unep.org/emissionsgapreport2013/

At this moment in time the United States is in an ideal position to be a global leader and make efforts to reduce climate impact by utilizing its position it has as an educational hub to create clean technologies for global use. The US has already stated in the Submission of Elements document that it believes countries should take on “ambitious efforts.” The US also supports differences in emissions, but not a “bifurcated” approach. The US wants an easily negotiated, amended, and long lasting policy. Ideally, all countries will be willing to compromise, but it is also likely that there will be many disagreements. Since the United States’ economy and CO2 effect is so large, it is necessary that the United States and other large emitters reduce emissions regardless of other countries’ decisions.

https://unfccc.int/files/documentation/submissions_from_parties/adp/application/pdf/u.s._submission_on_elements_of_the_2105_agreement.pdf

Although the United States has plans that may suggest a new drive to become a world leader at addressing climate change there are many politicians in Congress who still do not believe that climate change is a cause worth supporting. This view is held consistently by the Republican Party and may suggest ulterior interests in the oil and gas industry. Therefore the document should be viewed among the wider political landscape including the percentage of Republicans in both the US House and Senate, as well as the effects that lobbying has on government decisions.

The United States should hold true to the promises made at the Framework Convention in order to keep on good terms internationally. The US representatives had said they wanted contributions to be more specific, and in a format. This would help clear communication and make countries’ contributions easily comparable. There were also demands for a quantitative report from all countries, except for developing nations. These schedules may include a mix on quantitative, and policies. The US proposed that we focus on REDD+, which would also account for the effect of trees and wildfires on CO2 emissions. The US also encouraged other countries to decide upon a marketing structure that will allow more effective implementation of the given goals and policies. This convention may show an accurate portrayal of the representatives of the United States, but perhaps not the entire United States Congress as a whole. It’s often the case that only the active environmental leaders would attend from the United States.

http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf

By studying documents like these that showcase the previous UN conventions and conferences of the parties (COP) as well as the United States public material on the environment, I hope to gain a better understanding of the United States position in a global context. I hope to also find the # of Senators and Representatives that support the President’s current international policies. I hope to determine the relative likelyhood of the United States backing out of COP21, and if it is likely, use this paper to challenge the parties that may have the most influence at changing the outcome.