Image by Shell
Many thanks for all your questions for Yvo de Boer, former head of the UN climate change department and current advisor to KPMG. His answers will appear on this site on Friday, December 10th.
Next week, the person in the hotseat will be Peter Voser, the boss of one of the world’s biggest oil companies, Shell. This is your chance to ask him anything you want, from the controversy surrounding oil sands, to why Shell thinks gas is so important, to the prospects for drilling in the Gulf following the BP spill.
Email all your questions to email@example.com by the end of Monday, December 13th.
The gorgeous grounds of the Moon Palace resort in Cancun are chock full of people. Hurrying from one meeting room to another, sitting on the grass with laptops, queuing for soft drinks or munching on sandwiches in the shade of palm trees, taking shelter in the airconditioned lobby – the hotel can never have seen so many thousands of people at one time.
Most of these people are not residents – only the delegations themselves staying here, owing to security concerns – but participants who have travelled miles to get here each day. To get to the conference centre entrance takes half an hour to an hour from most of the hotels in Cancun, which itself is effectively a long strip of beach hotels stretching for tens of miles down the coast. Then participants have to pass security and take another half hour ride on a special shuttle bus to get to the Moon Palace, where the actual negotiations are going on. As some of the important side meetings are taking place at far distant hotels, many people seem to be spending most of their time at this conference in transit.
I blogged on Friday about how one of the Wikileaked (can we use that as a verb yet?) cables showed ExxonMobil’s scepticism about Falklands oil. The memo said:
ExxonMobil International Chairman Brad Corson told us he does not believe there is enough oil on the Falkland Islands Continental Shelf to be profitable, citing Shell’s earlier oil exploration attempts which they abandoned.
At the time shares in the major companies drilling for oil in the area were unchanged – after all, it didn’t sound like Corson knew anything nobody else did.
Forestry is one of the key areas of focus at the Cancun climate change talks, now in their second week. A programme – called REDD, for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation – that would provide poor countries with financial incentives to keep their remaining forests standing is being worked out, and has broad support.
Getting to this point has taken nearly two decades, even though keeping trees standing is by far the cheapest way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and staving off dangerous levels of global warming.
Some of the problems that have plagued the forestry talks include how to ensure that if logging is stopped in one part of a forest, it does not resume elsewhere; how to define land that has been degraded but could be restored; how to monitor the vast tracts of trees; whether and how to allow some forms of sustainable logging; and how to respect the rights of indigenous forest peoples.
The global shipping industry gives rise to more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire German economy. Yet shipping has been all but ignored in international climate change negotiations. Shipping emissions were excluded from the Kyoto protocol, and from the European Union’s emissions trading scheme.
Though the shipping industry has made some moves to monitor and reduce its emissions, these have not yet resulted in industry-wide action.
The Carbon War Room, a grouping founded by Sir Richard Branson to try to enlist businesses in the battle against climate change, is hoping to change all that.