Business & UN

ICC holds sectoral workshop at UNFCCC

  • 11 June 2008

It was standing room only at the ICC side event Friday on sectoral approaches to climate change, held during the meeting of subsidiary bodies of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). And those who couldn’t, watched - on UNFCC’s webcast.

Nick Campbell, Chair of ICC’s Climate Change Task Force, led an in-depth discussion and debate with four experts on sectoral initiatives, who gave their views on how sectoral approaches could lead to greater energy efficiency and improved methodologies for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions.

Brian Flannery, Vice-Chair of ICC’s Environment and Energy Commission, gave an overview of the rationale for international sectoral approaches and their common characteristics. He also detailed how sectoral approaches help raise performance standards and lead to the sharing of best practices and addressing issues of global competitiveness.

“Voluntary sectoral approaches by business have led to greater energy efficiency and better methodologies to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions. They have also contributed to the research, deployment and development of technologies,” Mr. Flannery said.

“However, many questions remain on how these voluntary initiatives may limit the application of international approaches in a post-2012 framework, regarding enforcement of these measures and their impact on other sectors,” he went on to say.

Robert Chase, Secretary General of the International Aluminum Institute, showed how a sectoral approach has organized the industry’s emissions-reductions efforts and kept the industry striving to make continuous improvement in cleaner production processes.

Yoshi Tachibana of Tokyo Electric Power shared lessons learned by the power industry through the Asia-Pacific Partnership, which have highlighted the need for demand side energy management to boost energy efficiency and added to the body of best practices.

Vincent Mages, Director of Climate Change Initiatives for French cement giant Lafarge, outlined the Cement Industry Initiative, which has built tools for ongoing data collection, such as the CO2 protocol, and created a global database of facilities emissions with independent verification.

“There is a need to identify and quantify the benefits of sectoral approaches,” Mr. Mages said. “How much real emissions reduction does a sectoral approach offer, and does it do so more easily, rapidly, and cost effectively than existing policy tools?”

Joanna Lewis, Senior International Fellow of the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, outlined how models created by Pew help policy-makers better understand sectoral approaches and provide information for other commercial and industrial activities interested in developing a sectoral approach.

The Bali Action Plan, reached at the UNFCCC meeting last December, agreed sectoral approaches offer solutions for a host of climate change issues, such as the need for more business cooperation with government to develop technological solutions.

The Bonn meeting is part of a process leading up to the development of a post-2012 global climate change framework agreement at the UNFCC meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.

ICC’s Environment & Energy Commission has developed a strong track record of expertise on sectoral approaches through the release of several papers and hosting several events and workshops, most recently during UNFCCC meetings in Bali and Bangkok.

ICC will continue to provide a range of views to negotiators and encourages policy-makers to work closely with the private sector to further define and refine sectoral approaches.