Blueprint for progress


Updated Wed, 09 Dec 2009 00:00:00 GMT

Throughout 2009, the role that industry plays in climate change mitigation has been discussed at the various UNFCCC-organized  meetings, to prepare the ground for the negotiations on a new global climate agreement at the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen in December.

The progress made, particularly in terms of recognition for the need for a range of market mechanisms, designed to encourage greenhouse gas mitigation, fits well with the path that the cement industry has been following for some time.  However, members of the WBCSD’s Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) are urging negotiators in Copenhagen to provide a clearer and more predictable route forward; one that encourages business involvement in providing solutions rather than relying exclusively on legislation. CSI members believe that more rapid progress is needed if governments, regulators and industry are to address climate change successfully.

'The agenda has clearly moved forward this year, in the various climate negotiations that have taken place in the run-up to Copenhagen. However, there is still significant work to be done at the COP15 meeting, in agreeing the scope and implementation of post-2012 commitments,' says Dr Howard Klee, CSI Program Director at the WBCSD.

1. Agreement on a mix of mechanisms that allow developed and developing countries to become fully engaged in meaningful climate policies and action.

2. A Sectoral Approach to greenhouse gas mitigation. A Sectoral Approach would complement, rather than replace, national commitments and legislation. The idea of NAMAs - Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions - has been further developed in the Bangkok climate negotiations. The CSI believes that the framework for successful Sectoral Approaches needs to include international cooperation combined with NAMAs to put good practice into action at a local level.

3. Efficiency Goals to encourage developing countries The CSI members believe that efficiency goal-setting, rather than the introduction of fixed targets, caps or emissions limits, will encourage engagement from developing nations.

4. Accurate Data for Goal-Setting and Tracking Results. The bottom up approach to sector-based trading and crediting, discussed in pre-COP15 meetings, requires accurate baseline and MRV - measurement, reporting and verification - data; such as the CSI's 'Getting the Numbers Right' GNR database on CO2 and energy performance for the cement industry.

5. Improvements and reforms to the current Clean Development Mechanism. In the CSI's view, these are urgently required.

6. New mechanisms are needed to support the substantial amount of international research, development, and technology demonstration required to make Carbon Capture and Storage viable.

'The biggest benefit of the CSI is its ability to bring together a global network of leading companies to give serious thought to, and action on, a number of current and future sustainability issues faced by the cement industry.  The geographic diversity of the CSI, the intense debates and discussions held, and the substantive work completed has helped ensure thoughtful and robust contributions to discussions in the lead up to Copenhagen,' concludes Dr Klee.

At the beginning of this initiative, the CSI members agreed to make as much of its work as possible available to the rest of the industry and encourage its use. This should serve regulators, legislators, other industry groups and wider society well, especially during key climate talks at the end of this year.