Washington University Students for International Collaboration on the Environment

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Update

Hey everyone again,

Check out the 2010 Cohort page – all the bios for both Fudan delegates and U.S. delegates have been posted. Delegates, you’ve had your icebreakers, but read the submitted bios to get to know  your peers a little more!

Special thanks to Wenqi for bringing bagels and setting up breakfast for the Conference. Special thanks to Summer and Karen for preparing materials, name tags, and programs.

Yesterday was the Professor Biswas presentation and the Carolina Fojo presentation – thank you to all attendees, both went very well.

Jennifer Smith, Professor Axelbaum, and Professor Blankenship spoke this morning. Stephanie Oshita spoke this afternoon. Join us at 4:30 this afternoon to hear from the Chancellor, and then 4:45 from Professor Wertsch.

Keep up the good work, WUSICE members and all of our delegates! Tonight is Multicultural Night – see you all there.

Cheers,

Anne, PR


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Update

Hey everyone!

The Conference begins tomorrow – it’s finally here! After all this planning, it’s actually all happening! Thank you to all the WUSICE members who have worked so hard to putting this together.

So yesterday we painted the big ball at the Underpass – it looks great! I also met some of the Fudan University students who came to help – it was such a good experience. Make sure you walk by to check out our work. Thanks so much to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedule to come paint.

Everything on the site is updated – speakers bios and the Conference schedule. Check out the pages to get ready for the next few days.

I hope everyone attends all the events that they can – this is such a wonderful opportunity to not only add to your knowledge of international environmental issues, but to also interact with students from a foreign school! Share ideas, meet new people, and make great friendships.

Also, keep the posts coming. I’ve been reading all the articles you’ve been posting – they’re great and really get us thinking.

Anne, PR



Treading Water as the U.S. goes into Cancun

Building on Richard’s post about China’s expectations going into the upcoming climate talks in Cancun, I wanted to add a post on the U.S. position.

This morning’s Washington Post article does a great job of outlining the difficult bargaining position the U.S. will have in Cancun.  Although President Obama made a pledge to climate action, the failure of the U.S. climate bill in the Senate and the lack of political support for legislation makes his promise hollow.  Interest in the climate bill has been eclipsed by the fiscal stimulus and health care bills. Rather than legislation, U.S. negotiators will only be able to point to recent regulations to prove their commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.

At recent climate talks in Tianjin, China, Chinese negotiators questioned whether the U.S. and other developed countries will hold true to their commitment at Copenhagen to provide $100 billion in international climate aid to developing countries.  In response, UN advisers are looking beyond governments to the private sector to help raise money.  A Reuters report calls the goal “feasible,” and lists a variety of funding sources:

between $2bn and $27bn could be raised from financial transaction taxes on foreign exchange, $4bn to $9bn from shipping, $2bn to $3bn from aviation, $3bn to $8bn from removal of fossil fuel subsidies and $8bn to $38bn from auctioning carbon allowances.

The U.S. has reaffirmed its commitment to give aid, and the E.U. appears to be the only party actually intent on following the Kyoto Protocol, so it seems that making substantial commitments is not the problem.

The biggest challenge in Cancun will not be in making commitments, but in agreeing over the terms.  In Richard’s post, Su Wei writes:

the world should take responsibility for their historical cumulative emissions and current high per capita emissions to change their unsustainable way of life and to substantially reduce their emissions and, at the same time, provide financial support and transfer technology to developing countries.

This statement poses problems to U.S. negotiators, since the U.S. is the top producer of cumulative emissions at 29% (China is 4th at 7.6%).  If we look at current emissions, the U.S. and China are on more equitable grounds.  Furthermore, a particularly important point of contention at Copenhagen was whether or not China is a developing country.

To get even more nit-picky, one could argue that a portion of Chinese emissions are really outsourced U.S. emissions.  On the other hand, the looming currency war highlights China’s undervalued currency as a driver of the ongoing trade imbalance between China and the U.S.

Again, going into Cancun (and WUSICE!) we need to focus on the terms, not the commitments.

Nadav Rindler

Washington University in St. Louis


Momentum

Salutations! My name is John Delurey; I am a US Delegate and a Junior at Washington University. I figured I’d put something on here that I’ve been thinking about for a few days now so that you guys might help me ruminate. Unfortunately, I’ll pose more questions than I’ll answer.

The other day I was listening to the radio when I heard a few alarming facts regarding Chinese mines. In 2009, roughly 2,600 people died in mining-related accidents. On average between January 2001 and October 2004 there was a coalmine related death every 7.4 days. These facts were introduced in response to a story regarding a mine disaster in the Chinese province of Henan that has left at least 32 people dead. No, I’m not referring to the Chilean mine success story. These two catastrophes occurred almost simultaneously, yet it was the Chilean mine rescue that dominated the Western press. Why is this? Are Chinese censors the sole culprit? If not, is there a dangerous mentality based on the seemingly unfathomable population of China?

Could it be that there are simply too many Chinese deaths related to coal mining to attract international media? Proportionally, the deaths are not a large fraction of the total population. They are still deaths, however, and they should not be overlooked. They should be factored into future mine reforms and the potential shift to less dangerous energy sources.

Viewing the situation from a westerner’s perspective, China’s population elicits a certain degree of hopelessness. China is so geographically and demographically enormous that it is hard to imagine effective reform. It’s so massive that its momentum carries it in one direction once it’s going. It is this momentum that can be so intimidating to those interested in international dialogue. This is obviously from the outside looking in, and I understand that I have an incredible amount to learn from a certain 11 Chinese delegates. I eagerly await your arrival!


Hi everyone!

Alix Simnock Introduction

Hello!

My name is Alix Simnock and I am one of the US delegates. I just wanted to quickly introduce myself! I am a sophomore at WashU studying environmental studies in particular the social science/political science side of environmental issues and probably public health and Hebrew. I have always had a interest in environmental issues stemming from a fifth grade geography class on the deforestation occurring in the Amazon Rainforest, which actually lead to a three year long research project on deforestation in Madagascar. On top of that, I would say I know a little about a lot of environmental topics and so I am excited to learn a lot more about America/China/Global Warming, and hopefully become an expert on this particular topic! I think the relationship between America and China will play a pivotal role in deciding the outcome of our environmental future and so for a solution to be made to combat global warming they must work together. They are two very powerful nations,who have the power to lead the rest of the world to deal with our environmental problems, but they also have the potential to cause even more damage. I think through collaboration they could halt further damage. If they do not work together though I do not think as much will get done because neither country will want to sacrifice their standard of living/change their living style if they do not think the other is doing the same, for example, America will not want to invest millions of dollars in green technology and shift their dependence from coal if they do not feel China is trying to lower their coal dependence also.  I am very excited that I get to be a part of MOCK COP 16 and help to create the white paper, to add to the solutions to global warming and work on the relationship between America and China. I cannot believe the conference begins this Thursday! I cannot wait to meet the Chinese Delegates and begin the conference. I feel honored to be a part of this and hopefully make a difference.

 


China’s Stance and Expectations for the Cancun Conference

           Dear WUSICE participants, I’d like to share this passage with you about China’s stance and expectations for the coming Cancun UNFCCC COP 16 Conference.

           This passage was written by Su Wei. Su Wei has attended international negotiations on climate change since 1989, and was deputy chair and chief negotiator of the Chinese delegation at the Copenhagen Conference.

          The Chinese government attaches great importance to the issue of climate change and, out of the sense of responsibility for the long-term welfare of Chinese people and the whole mankind as well, calls for substantial and effective international cooperation in this regard. It believes the core tasks for current international negotiations are to strictly follow the mandate of the Bali Roadmap, to ensure full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention and the Protocol, and to address climate change mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and financial assistance in a coordinated and holistic manner.

           Firstly, the world should stick to the fundamental framework of the Convention and the Protocol, and strictly follow the mandate of the Bali Roadmap. The Convention and the Protocol lay the legal foundation for international cooperation on climate change, embody the consensus of the international community on the issue and constitute the guidebook for the implementation of the Bali Roadmap. The Bali Roadmap gives the authorization to fully, effectively and sustainedly implement the Convention and the Protocol, provides for climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as financial and technical support for the purpose, and determines further quantified emission reduction targets for developed countries for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

           Secondly, the world should take responsibility for their historical cumulative emissions and current high per capita emissions to change their unsustainable way of life and to substantially reduce their emissions and, at the same time, provide financial support and transfer technology to developing countries. Developing countries will, in pursuing economic development and poverty eradication, take proactive measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

          Thirdly, the world should observe the sustainable development principle. Sustainable development is both the means and the end of effectively addressing climate change. Within the overall framework of sustainable development, economic development, poverty eradication and climate protection should be considered in a holistic and integrated manner so as to reach a win-win solution and to ensure that developing countries secure their right to development.

          Fourthly, the world should give equal priority to climate change mitigation, adaptation, financial support and technology transfer. Mitigation and adaptation are integral components of combating climate change and should be given equal attention. Compared with mitigation that is an arduous task over a longer time span, the need for adaptation is more real and urgent to developing countries. Financing and technology are indispensable means to achieve mitigation and adaptation. The fulfillment of commitments by developed countries to provide financing, technology transfer and capacity building support to developing countries is a condition sine qua non for developing countries to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change.

          China will, on the basis of the Convention and the Protocol, at the requirement of the Bali Roadmap and in accordance of domestic conditions, fulfill international obligations proportionate to its development level and actual ability, and execute potent policies, measures and actions, doing its share to protect our planet.

          An active and constructive participant in international negotiation on climate change, China hopes the Cancun Conference can complete the negotiations envisioned in the Bali Roadmap and yield legally binding results through negotiations of the working groups of the Convention and the Protocol. Its targets are as follows:

          First, the Conference will set reduction goals for the developed countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol through negotiations of AWG-KP. The AWG-KP and the AWG-LCA are the two equally important negotiation tracks under the Bali Roadmap. The first commitment period of the Protocol will expire at the end of 2012. To ensure a seamless transition between the first and second periods, the AWG-KP is pressed to finish its negotiations at the soonest, which is also a precondition for progress at negotiations of the AWG-LCA. Only if the further quantified emission reduction commitments for developed countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are first determined by the AWG-KP, can comparability under the AWG-LCA be established later on. The Cancun Conference is therefore expected to make solid progress in negotiations over reduction targets of the developed nations for the second commitment period under the Protocol, and consolidate consensus reached at the negotiations, thereby laying solid ground for the negotiations to head in the right direction.

          Second, the conference should solve the mitigation, adaptation, financial support and technical transfer issues through work of the AWG-LCA. In accordance with the Bali Action Plan, negotiations of the AWG-LCA shall determine the reduction commitments by developed nations that are not Parties to the Kyoto Protocol(primarily the U.S.), and ensure that their projected reductions are comparable to other developed nations in terms of magnitude, nature and compliance mechanism. An effective mechanism should be launched for the developed nations to fulfill their commitment of assisting the developing nations with finance and technology and on capability building, so that the developing nations are able to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In particular, more details should be settled about the $30 billion fund pledged by developed nations at the Copenhagen Conference, including share of contributions, timely and full payment, and measures of management and use of the money. The fund is critical to the establishment of mutual trust between the developed and developing nations. On receiving assistance on finance, technology and capability building from the developed nations, the developing nations will take mitigation measures in accordance with their respective conditions and within the framework of sustainable development.

          The Chinese government attaches great importance to the issue of climate change and, out of the sense of responsibility for the long-term welfare of Chinese people and the whole mankind as well, calls for substantial and effective international cooperation in this regard. It believes the core tasks for current international negotiations are to strictly follow the mandate of the Bali Roadmap, to ensure full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention and the Protocol, and to address climate change mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and financial assistance in a coordinated and holistic manner.

Firstly, the world should stick to the fundamental framework of the Convention and the Protocol, and strictly follow the mandate of the Bali Roadmap. The Convention and the Protocol lay the legal foundation for international cooperation on climate change, embody the consensus of the international community on the issue and constitute the guidebook for the implementation of the Bali Roadmap. The Bali Roadmap gives the authorization to fully, effectively and sustainedly implement the Convention and the Protocol, provides for climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as financial and technical support for the purpose, and determines further quantified emission reduction targets for developed countries for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

Secondly, the world should take responsibility for their historical cumulative emissions and current high per capita emissions to change their unsustainable way of life and to substantially reduce their emissions and, at the same time, provide financial support and transfer technology to developing countries. Developing countries will, in pursuing economic development and poverty eradication, take proactive measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Thirdly, the world should observe the sustainable development principle. Sustainable development is both the means and the end of effectively addressing climate change. Within the overall framework of sustainable development, economic development, poverty eradication and climate protection should be considered in a holistic and integrated manner so as to reach a win-win solution and to ensure that developing countries secure their right to development.

Fourthly, the world should give equal priority to climate change mitigation, adaptation, financial support and technology transfer. Mitigation and adaptation are integral components of combating climate change and should be given equal attention. Compared with mitigation that is an arduous task over a longer time span, the need for adaptation is more real and urgent to developing countries. Financing and technology are indispensable means to achieve mitigation and adaptation. The fulfillment of commitments by developed countries to provide financing, technology transfer and capacity building support to developing countries is a condition sine qua non for developing countries to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change.

China will, on the basis of the Convention and the Protocol, at the requirement of the Bali Roadmap and in accordance of domestic conditions, fulfill international obligations proportionate to its development level and actual ability, and execute potent policies, measures and actions, doing its share to protect our planet.

 

An active and constructive participant in international negotiation on climate change, China hopes the Cancun Conference can complete the negotiations envisioned in the Bali Roadmap and yield legally binding results through negotiations of the working groups of the Convention and the Protocol. Its targets are as follows:

 First, the Conference will set reduction goals for the developed countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol through negotiations of AWG-KP. The AWG-KP and the AWG-LCA are the two equally important negotiation tracks under the Bali Roadmap. The first commitment period of the Protocol will expire at the end of 2012. To ensure a seamless transition between the first and second periods, the AWG-KP is pressed to finish its negotiations at the soonest, which is also a precondition for progress at negotiations of the AWG-LCA. Only if the further quantified emission reduction commitments for developed countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are first determined by the AWG-KP, can comparability under the AWG-LCA be established later on. The Cancun Conference is therefore expected to make solid progress in negotiations over reduction targets of the developed nations for the second commitment period under the Protocol, and consolidate consensus reached at the negotiations, thereby laying solid ground for the negotiations to head in the right direction.

 Second, the conference should solve the mitigation, adaptation, financial support and technical transfer issues through work of the AWG-LCA. In accordance with the Bali Action Plan, negotiations of the AWG-LCA shall determine the reduction commitments by developed nations that are not Parties to the Kyoto Protocolprimarily the U.S., and ensure that their projected reductions are comparable to other developed nations in terms of magnitude, nature and compliance mechanism. An effective mechanism should be launched for the developed nations to fulfill their commitment of assisting the developing nations with finance and technology and on capability building, so that the developing nations are able to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In particular, more details should be settled about the $30 billion fund pledged by developed nations at the Copenhagen Conference, including share of contributions, timely and full payment, and measures of management and use of the money. The fund is critical to the establishment of mutual trust between the developed and developing nations. On receiving assistance on finance, technology and capability building from the developed nations, the developing nations will take mitigation measures in accordance with their respective conditions and within the framework of sustainable development.

 

 

 

 

By Ling Yun Zhi(Richard), Fudan University


WOW.

Karen Mok, WUSICE China Liaison

US-CHINA TEN-YEAR FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

The Governments of the United States and China established the Ten Year Framework (TYF) for Cooperation on Energy and Environment in June 2008. The Framework facilitates the exchange of information and best practices between the two countries to foster innovation and develop solutions to the pressing energy and environment problems both countries face. In July 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and Chinese State Counselor Dai Bingguo participated in the initialing of the Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation on Climate Change, Energy and Environment , which further elaborated the role of the TYF and established a new dialogue and cooperation mechanism on climate change. The most recent meeting of the TYF Joint Working Group occurred May 11-12 in Washington, DC.

U.S. agencies involved in the Framework include the Departments of State, Energy, Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Transportation, and Agriculture, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Trade Development Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Participating agencies for China include the National Development and Reform Commission, the State Forestry Administration, the National Energy Administration, and the Ministries of Finance, Environmental Protection, Science and Technology and Foreign Affairs. The lead agencies for each country implement the TYF, including the following action plans on electricity, water, air, transportation, wetlands, nature reserves and protected areas, and energy efficiency.

  • Clean Air: This plan includes U.S.-China collaboration on sulfur dioxide emission trading in the power industry, control of vehicle emissions, regional air quality management, control of nitrogen oxide emissions, and control of ozone and particulates.
  • Clean and Efficient Transportation: This plan involves collaboration on developing non-petroleum alternative fuels including biofuels, promoting energy conservation and emission reduction in civil aviation, improving traffic management and policies, transportation infrastructure, and planning, as well as achieving efficient and sustainable transportation development.
  • Clean, Efficient, and Secure Electricity:This plan facilitates bilateral cooperation on electricity generation and transmission with an emphasis upon diversification. Additional collaboration may include renewable and alternative sources of clean energy, cleaner fossil fuel, power grid and the electricity market, and nuclear power.
  • Clean Water: This plan encourages collaboration on water quality management, safe drinking water, and prevention and control of pollution from agriculture and rural areas.
  • Energy Efficiency:China and the United States recently approved this action plan to further cooperation in the fields of energy auditing, public financing mechanisms, and energy efficiency in building technologies.
  • Protected Areas/Nature Reserves: This plan promotes best practices for enhancing nature reserve management, improving habitat conservation, management and restoration of protected areas, strengthened scientific collaboration, and conservation of endangered species.
  • Wetlands Conservation: This plan fosters collaboration on best practices in wetland policy, monitoring, management, and scientific research, and helps build the capacity of each country to protect these crucial areas

 

In addition, seven public-private partnerships, known as “EcoPartnerships,” contribute to the Framework’s goals, with new partnerships being planned in the future. EcoPartnerships promote further collaboration at the sub-national level, as well as between the private and public sectors. As the EcoPartnerships program expands, it will encourage U.S. and Chinese governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to share best practices, foster innovation, and further sustainable economic development.

In the most recent TYF Joint Working Group meeting, the two sides exchanged views on emerging issues that might warrant future inclusion in the TYF, including green growth.

 

For more information about the Ten Year Framework’s Action Plans and the EcoPartnership program, including information about the potential role for local and regional governments, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations and businesses, please visit the following websites: