Friday, April 22, 2016

Paris Agreement High-Level Signing Ceremony, New York, 22 April 2016 - What does it all mean?

It won’t have escaped your notice that on the 12 December 2015, in the Le Bourget Conference Centre on the outskirts of Paris, a historic climate deal, involving 196 countries, was secured at COP21. Fast forward 131 days and world leaders are descending on New York for the Paris Agreement signing ceremony.

The high-level signature ceremony, and formal opening for signature, are being convened today, Mother Earth Day, by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as the first stage in the process of implementing the Agreement which will remain open for signature in New York until the 17 April 2017.

Today’s programme of events will kick off at 13:30 (UK time) when the UN Secretary-General opens proceedings. The signing ceremony will follow when over 160 representatives to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will officially sign the Paris Agreement. National statements will be delivered in parallel by national representatives and from 20:15 to 23:00 (UK time), Christiana Figueres, outgoing Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, and COP21 President Segolene Royal, will moderate a High-Level Event on Climate Implementation entitled “Taking Climate Action to the Next Level - Realizing the Vision of the Paris Agreement”. All events will be streamed here.

The ceremony is the start of a push to ensure the Paris Agreement enters into force as soon as possible. The United Nations has listed the countries that have already indicated they will sign the Agreement today and by signing up, a country initiates its national process to ratify the Agreement. Once completed, the country must submit its instrument of ratification to the Depositary under the UN Secretary-General in New York. Then, and only then, will the country be deemed to have ratified the Agreement. This list also shows which countries have already indicated that they are ready to deposit their instrument of ratification at the signing ceremony today.

On the 30th day after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC, accounting for at least 55% of global emissions, have submitted their instruments of ratification to the Depository under the UN Secretary-General, the Paris Agreement can enter into force and becomes legally binding for those members of the Convention that have ratified it.

The deadline for the Paris Agreement to come into force is 2020 but it is clear from the above that early entry into force could happen, maybe even as early as this year. I won’t get into the complexities of what this might mean in practice. The UNFCCC Legal Affairs Programme has produced a handy information note exploring the legal requirements and implications of the entry into force of the Paris Agreement – some light bedtime reading!

Analyses of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs to become NDCs once the Paris Agreement is ratified) put us on a trajectory to a temperature rise of between 2.7 and 3.5°C. If the Paris Agreement doesn’t come into force until 2020, the first review of NDCs won’t take place for eight years, by which time we will have blown the 1.5°C ‘aspirational’ target. 

Climate Central has reported recent NASA data that show temperatures for March 2016 a worrying 1.28°C higher than 1951 – 1980 averages for the month, so early entry into force of the Paris Agreement, before the 2020 deadline, would be a desperately needed bonus.

The inevitable photo ops, grandstanding and rhetoric from high-level leaders in New York today will frustrate those of us demanding transformational action on climate change. However, we cannot dismiss the significance of today’s ceremony. With the number of Paris Agreement signatories set to exceed 160, more than have ever before signed an international agreement on its first day of signing, today, according to the UNFCCC, will be a landmark in international law. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Budget 2016: what about the climate deficit?

In his remarks at the COP21 Leaders Event in December 2015, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that if the talks failed to secure a climate deal, our grandchildren would ask us, “why was it so difficult?”, to agree on staying within the limit of a 2°C temperature rise when 97% of the world’s climate scientists have said climate change is urgent and manmade and must be addressed.

It’s clear that the road from Copenhagen to Paris was a long and difficult one but 12 days after this speech, 195 countries agreed that they believe the science, that anthropogenic climate change is real and that urgent, ambitious action is required to limit temperature rise to well below 2°C, resulting in the Paris Agreement.

Three months later the Chancellor, George Osborne, in his Budget 2016 speech said that “Doing the right thing for the next generation is what the government and this budget is about”.  He went on, “I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation: I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem … but we ducked the difficult decisions and we did nothing.”

We can be forgiven then for thinking that the Chancellor was echoing the Prime Minister’s comments in Paris and his apparent concern for the impact climate change will have on future generations and that he was perhaps having a change of heart since his Comprehensive Spending Review in November 2015 that slashed subsidies for renewables and removed the £1 billion ring-fenced for the UK carbon capture and storage (CCS) commercialisation programme.

The key announcements in Budget 2016 on energy and climate change included:
·         An auction of Contracts for Difference of up to £730 million this Parliament for up to 4 GW of offshore wind and other less established renewables, with a first auction of £290 million.
·         The launch of the first stage of the competition to identify the best value small modular reactor in the UK.
·         The allocation of at least £50 million for innovation in energy storage, demand-side response and other smart technologies over the next five years to help new technologies and business models access the market.
·         £700 million boost to building resilience and flood defences by raising the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) from 9.5% to 10%. 
·         The abolition of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) from the end of the 2018-19 compliance year and replacing lost revenue by increasing the main rates of the Climate Change Levy (CCL) from 1 April 2019.
The Chancellor’s speech quickly revealed however that he had not heard calls by business leaders to deliver a budget that supports the implementation of the Paris Agreement; the deal itself not being mentioned by the Chancellor in either his remarks or the official Budget documents. His rhetoric was a preamble to the announcement of a sugar tax and despite being a budget to “choose to put the next generation first”, the Chancellor failed to give the issue of climate change even one mention.  
Earlier in the week, energy minister Andrea Leadsomconfirmed that the Government will enshrine the Paris Agreement net zeroemissions goal in legislation. While this is laudable, and builds on the UK’s existing commitments in the Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement, it is difficult to see how this Budget would support moving the UK onto a pathway towards net zero emissions.
As a developed country, the UK, under the Paris Agreement is expected to reach net zero emissions in the second half of the century, on the basis of equity, recognising that peaking of emissions will take longer for developing countries.  By contrast, the Government’s failure to announce in this Budget the ambitious plans needed to meet these commitments continues to demonstrate their reluctance to deviate from short-sighted policies, and contradicts them by making cuts to climate initiatives.  The only firm conclusions to be drawn from the Chancellors actions on energy and climate change are that a big bet on nuclear power is still the favoured option over any support for renewables or CCS; and that he believes that climate change adaptation measures, i.e. flood defences, are at least as important as fixing the cause.
The sting in the tail from this budget for the climate was the Chancellor’s announcement that he will halve the Supplementary Charge on oil and gas from 20% to 10% and abolish Petroleum Revenue Tax. These actions won’t help to drive down hydrocarbon production, but could be seen as  demonstrating the influence the Oil and Gas lobby has on this Government in wishing to preserve business-as-usual petroleum extraction and offshore North Sea jobs for as long as possible – typical of what we’ve come to accept as normal politics and conventional economic management. Although not technically a subsidy, this tax reduction and support for the fossil fuel industry is completely at odds with the shift that’s need to enable the UK to meet its emission reduction targets and goes against the pledge made by the G20 in 2009 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies – the UK being the only G7 country to have significantly increased fossil fuel subsidies according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Oil Change International.
The decline of North Sea oil and gas production is inevitable, and the global carbon budget remaining to limit temperature rise to well below 2°C is small. We must bear in mind that for every tonne of carbon produced and sold from the North Sea, a tonne of carbon, to create wealth and services, cannot be extracted by citizens in emerging economies - denying them access to energy and their right to development. Another example of the UK failing to plan its pathway to net zero emissions on the basis of equity.
It seems that the UK regards the transition to a low carbon economy as an imposition, an additional cost, a problem to be overcome. Contrast this to China, where there has been a significant shift to efficient and renewable electricity because it is seen as a positive driver for the creation of skilled jobs and bringing the additional benefits of clean air and greater health. Is it now time for this Government to undergo a mind-set reset? A Government that continues to use traditional economic methods will not succeed in creating a vision for and leading the biggest ever energy transition for those impacted by the downturn in conventional offshore hydrocarbons into green jobs in the renewables sector. The Government is also at risk of missing an opportunity to think through the selective decommissioning of offshore infrastructure and how this can support the future development of new future-facing industries in the North Sea, such as CCS.
Within the next few weeks, the Government needs to announce its 5th carbon budget for the period 2028-32. As well as adopting this budget, the Climate Change Act requires the Government to publish its plan for meeting it. Budget 2016 has clearly failed to produce the goods needed to support an urgent transition to a low carbon economy but by the end of this year the Government will need to reveal new policies on climate action that are aligned to the UK’s national and international commitments.  Reflecting on how this Government has culled climate change initiatives, we can only wonder what those will be, and how the carbon budget can be made to balance.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Weaving the threads of a global climate agreement.

In July 2016, Christiana Figueres will step down after two terms and six years as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It’s clear that her legacy will be her role in securing the historic climate deal, made by 195 countries, at COP21 in Paris during December 2015.

Last week, on a cool spring March morning, Ms Figueres spoke at the University of Edinburgh on ‘Stabilising our future: climate change and security’. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend that talk, and from that have been inspired to think about why she has been so effective in her role at the helm of the UNFCCC process, and what the secret of her success has been.

Christiana Figueres speaking at the University of Edinburgh, 11 March 2016.
Ms Figueres became Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC in 2010, having been part of Costa Rica’s climate change negotiating team since the 1990s. Some may have shied away from the prospect of trying to repair international climate negotiations, after the failure that was COP15 in Copenhagen late in 2009. Instead we saw Ms Figueres, in her opening statement at the COP16 talks in Cancun, invoking Ixchel - Mayan goddess of the moon, reason, creativity and weaving - in a call to delegates to “weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change”.

It has been clear since then that we have been dealing with an Executive Secretary who has shifted the messaging on climate change, away from the ‘doom and gloom’ scenarios, towards a new focus on opportunity. In a slightly prophetic remark from her speech at COP16, Ms Figueres went on to say she was “convinced that 20 years from now, we will admire the policy tapestry that you have woven together and think back fondly to Cancun and the inspiration of Ixchel.” Thankfully she was right and a mere five years (!) later we have a global climate deal where Ms Figueres has been instrumental in both building and threading the loom.

In response to the news last month that Ms Figueres will step down from her role as UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Lord Stern, of the Grantham Institute and noted climate economist, said Ms Figueres “is gifted with an outstanding ability to see where we need to go as a world and to bring people together.”

Her ability to bring people together, bolstered by an illustrious diplomatic career, has clearly been central to her success in constructing an international agreement on tackling climate change. Ms Figueres has pushed the boundaries from within the UNFCCC, to both bridge historical divides between states and negotiating groups and bring in key relevant - but not traditionally included – stakeholders, such as the private sector. As such, and according to, “Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy.”

At just five feet tall, we can’t really say that Ms Figueres’ are big shoes to fill! It’s clear that the next UNFCCC Executive Secretary needs to possess the vision and leadership to drive forward the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to raise ambition to get us, and keep us, on a trajectory to limiting temperature rise to well below 2°C. Not an easy task and Ms Figueres will truly be a tough act to follow!

As for what’s next for Ms Figueres – she says that taking up the role of UN Secretary-General is not in her current plans but I for one think the world would do well to have someone leading the United Nations who understands completely the depth of the threat posed by climate change and the breadth of the opportunity in doing something about it.  

It’s also time to have a woman in charge!

Ms Figueres has the insight, empathy and energy to engage and convince states that there is an over-riding common interest greater than their own. Her ability to build consensus, facilitate broad participation and craft a policy response to climate change, grounded in human rights, with women and vulnerable people at its centre, has been an unprecedented and a spectacular success.  Can these traits and skills be described as inherently female?  I think so. 

Imagine, then, what more complex co-operation could be woven if Ms Figueres could draw together the entire United Nations into a stronger human tapestry. A United Nations which is facing population rise, multiple conflicts, failed states, and a changing climate. 

Yes, it’s time for a woman’s touch.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Thoughts on recent news of methane leak in California.

News media last week picked up a story about the Aliso Canyon gas storage well leaking more than 77 thousand tonnes of methane into the atmosphere (you can view an infrared video of the leak here) - assessed as California’s single biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions. The well operator is currently being sued for environmental damage by local residents.
First Aerial Footage of Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak Credit: Environmental Defense Fund and Earthworks. From video on
Beneath the North Sea an exploration well drilled by an American oil major blew-out in November 1990. It has since leaked very large quantities of methane, estimated at many tens to perhaps hundreds of thousands of tonnes. This is not an isolated instance of man-made leakage in the North Sea.

If the UK had an environmental compensation regime along the lines of that in the US, where BP has been penalised to the tune of tens of billions of dollars for the Macondo disaster, then substantial sums could be accruing to the UK from the North Sea leakage events. A billion pounds in environmental fines or levies, a small fraction of the financial hit that BP has taken in the Gulf of Mexico, would likely be quite commensurate with damage caused by ongoing greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

Such a sum would help repair and prevent flood damage from increasingly common extreme weather events. Ironically, it could also have supported the UK Carbon Capture and Storage projects, recently and unexpectedly shelved by the UK government, which would certainly have counteracted some of the atmospheric damage.

By Andy Chadwick and Ciara O'Connor.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

COP21: It's all over and we have a deal!

As at previous COPs, the distribution of the final text, which had been through two weeks of negotiations, and the convening of the final plenary session was delayed…and delayed…BUT on the evening of the 12 December 2015, Laurent Fabius, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs and the COP21 President, brought down his gavel to announce the Paris Agreement had been adopted.

This was a truly historic moment and although, two weeks on, we know the agreement isn’t perfect, it is significant that over 180 countries have made this commitment to fight climate change.

So what does the Paris Agreement say? And why is it important for the UK CCS community?

The agreement includes a target to ‘hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels’ and ‘to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C’.

It also underlines, in Article 4, the need to ‘reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.’

It is significant that the agreement includes an ambition to get to 1.5°C but some Parties may not feel it’s ambitious enough – such as vulnerable island states that were pushing for 1.5°C to be the goal.

In addition, the wording in Article 4 of the agreement, which was preceded in earlier versions of the text by language around ‘greenhouse gas emission neutrality’, reduction targets and timelines, is disappointing and has been criticised by some delegates and observers.

It is clear that transformative action is needed at the national level to enable countries to meet the targets and commitments they made in Paris as they will now need to, under the agreement, submit action plans outlining how they will curb global emissions, with a five-yearly system of reviewing and ratcheting-up of ambition.

As we know, Carbon Capture and Storage is a technology that is key to decoupling greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumption and so will be of vital importance in a future where the global community strives to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C and meet greenhouse gas emission neutrality in the second half of this century.

At an evidence hearing on the outcomes of COP21, convened by the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) on the 16 December 2015, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, was asked how the UK will meet the 1.5°C target and whether there would be retrospective adjustments to recent changes in UK energy policy in light of the Paris Agreement.

Secretary of State Rudd said the 1.5°C target was aspirational, that moving from the current trajectory of 2.7°C to 2°C takes priority and that the UK’s 2°C target, enshrined in the Climate Change Act, is operational. She also stated that she had set out a ‘clear direction of travel’ in her ‘New Direction for UK Energy Policy’ speech on the 18 November 2015 and that the future is going to be ‘low carbon and value for money’.

This did not prevent the Committee from criticising recent Government decisions to remove subsidies for renewable energy and the announcement on the day of the Spending Review to cut the £1 billion ring-fenced for the CCS commercialisation programme – a move that was branded by the Chair of the Committee, Angus MacNeil MP, as ‘penny wise pound foolish’ as he called on Ministers to ‘resist short term political pressures that seek to slow down low carbon transformation’.

It is difficult to know what the future holds for CCS in the UK but Secretary of State Rudd did state in the ECCC evidence hearing on COP21 that CCS will be necessary in long term plans (2060s and later) to meet ambition and will be important for dealing with industrial sources of CO2.

The question I have is whether any of this will be soon enough to enable the UK to meet the commitments it made in Paris. To quote Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK's independent Committee on Climate Change, ‘the UK will have an issue meeting its 2030 target without CCS’.

And so for now, I look forward to the Secretary of State’s response to Mr MacNeil MP’s request for information on the reason behind the decision to cancel the CCS competition and will watch with interest the one-off session the ECCC is convening on the CCS announcement, on the 12 January 2016.

Monday, December 7, 2015

An overdue COP21 blog...the week is flying by!

The rest of my week at COP21 flew by in a blur of meetings, side events and trying to keep on top of things back at the office - and so this, my latest blog, is way overdue!

On Thursday 3 December I spent some time exploring Hall 3 of the ‘blue zone’, or badged area of the conference, where country delegation offices and pavilions can be found. Things were very quiet around some of the offices, including the UK’s, which I’m sure was a sign of how hard these delegates were working in the negotiations.  

As Friday 4 December was Education Day at the conference, I decided to adopt this theme for myself for the day and attend more side events. The Gulf Cooperation Council convened a meeting entitled ‘Technology as an Answer to Climate Change Challenges’ with speakers from Saudi Aramco, SABIC, KAUST and the UAE Water Aid Foundation. Talks covered mitigation opportunities in the transport sector, environmentally friendly fuel additives, petascale computing and one organisation’s (SABIC) efforts in carbon capture and purification of CO2 for use locally in other industrial processes.

Next stop was ‘The Phase out of Fossil Fuel Subsidies and the Paris Climate Deal’ organised by Climate Action Network Europe and Oil Change International with speakers from CAN Europe, Stockholm Environment Institute, Overseas Development Institute, Carbon Tracker Initiative, the Finnish Ministry of Environment and the European Commission.

I was struck by messages delivered by CAN Europe that each year G20 Governments spend $77 billion per year on national production subsidies while developing nations receive only $4-5 billion towards climate adaptation measures. It’s a concern that G20 countries have failed to deliver on their commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and that the level of subsidy being provided for the fossil fuel industry dwarfs climate finance for developing countries to such an extent.

Of course I made sure to attend GCCSI’s event on Friday too entitled, ‘How the UNFCCC Architecture Can Help Mobilise International Resources to Support Carbon Capture and Storage’. GCCSI had prepared a good programme for the meeting including presentations from; Mark Bonner, GCCSI; Ulrika Raab, Swedish Energy Agency; Ellina Levina, International Energy Agency (IEA); Erwin Jackson, The Climate Institute; and Jeff Swartz, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). The IISD ENB produced a full report on this meeting, including a snazzy video, so I won’t repeat.

I found the meeting a good opportunity to think back on discussions on CCS that have already taken place within the UNFCCC architecture and for anyone who’s interested you can read the report of the Technology Expert Meeting on CCS that was convened for negotiators back in October 2014 here.

On Saturday I took a few hours off to ‘sight-see’ but as fate would have it, while walking south from Montmartre, I found myself in the middle of a Climate Justice march headed west along Boulevard de Clichy. I didn’t stick around however, deterred by the massive number of police officers and vans following behind the March. Besides, I wanted to head back to my hotel to watch the closing speeches from the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) event which had been taking place all day.

I also caught up with news back home and was horrified to see how Storm Desmond was battering the UK and Ireland, reminding me how crucial and urgent reaching a climate agreement in Paris is. It is clear climate change is already happening. And not just in developing countries, it has arrived on our doorstep. An agreement on the 11 December is vital for everyone on the planet.

I went to bed on Saturday night trying to remain hopeful. The ADP had met its target of presenting the outcome text for negotiation by Ministers in the COP, with prospects of a deal appearing stronger than at the equivalent stage of negotiations in Copenhagen six years ago.

I reflected on Ban Ki-moon’s closing statement in the LPAA plenary, ‘the stars are aligned today’ he said and ‘the pace of climate action is quickening’.  

Sunday was a quiet day at the conference centre in Le Bourget due, I suspect, to people taking the opportunity to rest up before Ministers arrived on Monday to get down to the crunch talks in the COP. I headed for home after a long, busy but fascinating week at COP21. It’s back to business as usual now but as I suspect you’ve guessed I will be keeping a close eye on how things unfold over these important last few days of negotiations in Paris. Watch this space for a final update...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Day 3 at COP21 and explaining the negotiations.

This blog comes with a jargon warning but I hope you’ll still read on…

As I signed off yesterday’s instalment, I mentioned that I would be spending time following up the negotiations and how they are progressing here in Paris. Well I managed to do a bit and caught-up on some work (which sadly doesn’t go away while I’m here) and so it was a late night meaning a lot of today has been spent drinking (and queuing for) coffee!

As I mentioned in my first blog, this meeting in Paris is the 21st Conference of the Parties (abbreviated to COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). You may also have seen the term CMP11 being referred to in the context of these negotiations which is an abbreviation for the 11th meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The CMP meets during the same period as the COP.

Yesterday, 1 December, COP21 and CMP11 convened in plenary to adopt their agendas, organise their work and hear opening statements.

The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), one of two permanent subsidiary bodies to the Convention which provides scientific and technological advice to the COP and CMP, held their opening plenary in the morning.

The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) is the second permanent subsidiary body to the Convention and assesses and reviews the implementation of the Convention and Kyoto Protocol, and advises on budgetary and administrative matters. This group met in the afternoon.

The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, or ADP, also started their work yesterday. The ADP is a subsidiary group and was established by decisions taken at COP17 in Durban, December 2011, with the remit to ‘develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties, which is to be completed no later than 2015 in order for it to be adopted at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020'. We should all therefore be monitoring closely the progress this group makes.   

Today, 2 December, COP 21 and CMP 11 met again in plenary. The work of the ADP contact group continued and spin-off groups and 'informal informals' convened on: adaptation; mitigation; transparency; global stocktake; capacity building; finance; final clauses; purpose; technology development and transfer; implementation and compliance; and workstream 2 (Note: workstream 2 looks at pre-2020 ambition and workstream 1 at the 2015 agreement). Contact groups and informal consultations under the SBI and SBSTA also took place.

And so talks are well and truly underway and two busy, sleep deprived weeks lay ahead for the negotiators. As always, it’s hard at this early stage of the negotiations to assess how well (or not) things are going. No doubt negotiators will be feeling the pressure of the looming deadline, just nine days away now, as they try to work through the still huge negotiating text. We must all keep our fingers crossed that parties find areas of convergence and ways to progress these talks to a satisfactory conclusion by the 11th December.

If you’re interested in more detail (and believe me there is a lot more), I recommend the fantastic Earth Negotiations Bulletins (ENBs) that the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) prepare daily for nerds like me who like to follow the negotiations closely. You can sign up for email alerts here.

Now it wasn’t all coffee drinking and negotiations tracking today. GCCSI and CO2GeoNet hosted a meeting in the Climate Generations area of the conference entitled CCS: A Proven and Safe Technology Vital for Completing the Climate Change Mitigation Portfolio.

Isabelle Czernichowski-Lauriol, CO2GeoNet, opened the meeting and speakers included Benjamin Court, GCCSI, Samuela Vercelli, CO2GeoNet, Juho Lipponen, IEA, and Aicha Khamlichi, ADEME.

Juho Lipponen in his remarks discussed the relevance and importance of CCS in dealing with emissions from existing electricity production, new coal and gas plant and several types of industry sources. Benjamin Court emphasised the need to deploy CCS urgently and underscored that policies which encourage investment in the technology are required. Finally, Samuela Vercelli facilitated a very interactive public discussion after the talks.

The meeting was conducted mostly in French (with the exception of a few slides thankfully!) and having not done so well in this subject in my Leaving Certificate I struggled to follow some of the meeting. It was a nice event though and I am sorry to not be able to do it more justice in my summary here.

My difficulties with the French language continued into the evening when, at a café close to my hotel, I somehow ended up with an amaretto sour instead of water. What can you do!