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January

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation will host a new edition of the Energy and Climate Change School in April

January 17, 2013

  • The School, entitled ‘The global governance of climate change’, will be led by Josep Borrell, former Minister of Public Works, Transport and the Environment; former President of the European Parliament and of the European University Institute, Florence, and a member of Abengoa’s Board of Directors.

Seville, 17 January 2013.- The Focus-Abengoa Foundation will host a new edition of the Energy and Climate Change School in April, which on this occasion will be led by Josep Borrell, former Minister of Public Works, Transport and the Environment; former President of the European Parliament and of the European University Institute, Florence, and a member of the Abengoa’s Board of Directors. Entitled, “The global governance of climate change”, participants will analyse the building of a worldwide “governance” system to deal with climate change, one of the most important political and economic challenges of our time. Natalia Fabra Portela from Universidad Carlos III will act as coordinator for the School.

Climate change is a major global phenomenon, and the policies designed to deal with it should also necessarily be global. Each country’s greenhouse gas emissions affect all the other countries, and for this reason the atmosphere’s storage capacity is considered a global common good.

This poses equity issues given that not all countries are equally responsible for the process of global warming, as well as efficacy issues, since lowering emissions may entail different costs in different countries. Policies that aim to combat climate change should be the outcome of a concerted global effort under the aegis of global institutions, which is called global “governance” in reference to a “governing” action that does not take place within the structures of a single state.

However, since Copenhagen the decision-making process on global climate change policies has made no headway, and since the past Doha Summit, the European Union in addition to just a handful of countries have been left alone in applying the binding objectives of lowering greenhouse gas emissions such as the ones determined in Kyoto.

The process of institutionalizing the “global governance” of climate change has not made much progress either, as it is mainly limited to the United Nations Convention and informal forums. The emerging countries like China and India seem not to want any binding global system, the USA has not accepted any additional compromise beyond Copenhagen and the European Union, weakened by the recession, has no resources to go beyond its policy of soft power.

And yet the latest figures show that climate change is only worsening and that emissions are still on the rise. The goals announced to date of limiting global warming seem impossible to reach within the original timeframes, carbon emissions rights markets have had only a limited effect and the price assigned to carbon does not serve as a strong enough disincentive. Plus, the recession is pushing governments to lower their support for renewable energies.

In this context, the next edition of the Energy and Climate Change School intends to analyse the latest developments in the negotiations on climate change and the status of the issue post-Doha, the evolution of the institutions involved in the “governance” of climate change, problems of equity in dividing the burden of lowering emissions globally and the lessons that can be gleaned from the experience of price-setting mechanisms for CO2 emissions, in particular the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

Also examine the proposals to establish taxes on emissions either nationally or as border adjustment mechanisms in an effort to prevent unfair competition or outsourcing as a means to avoid having to deal with the cost of reducing emissions and the resulting geopolitical conflicts.

This series on “The global governance of climate change” lies at the crossroads of the legal, technical and economic factors that converge in the complex problem of the global struggle against climate change.

The principal objective of the Energy and Climate Change School, which is the result of a collaboration agreement between the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and Menéndez Pelayo International University, is to offer a progressive institutional and scientific perspective about the potential role of various technologies and policies in the regional, national and international future of energy.

The Focus-Abengoa Forum on Energy and Climate Change aims to use public discussions to promote a genuine open platform for the research, presentation and debate of ideas and results through actions that it believes are relevant at any given time, based on the nature of the issues to be analysed.

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