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The objective of the project and of phase 1

Tender Institute for Environmental Studies

Title: Helping Operationalise article Two (HOT): A science-based policy dialogue on fair and effective ways to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system and implications for Post-Kyoto policies – Phase 1Title of the research proposal
Tender: P-02/73
Research institute:  
Institute for Environmental Studies Vrije Universiteit De Boelelaan 1087 1081 HV AMSTERDAM The Netherlands Tel. ++31-20-4449 555 Fax. ++31-20-4449 553 E-mail: secr@ivm.vu.nl Method of payment: Afdeling Financiën IVM/VU De Boelelaan 1087 Amsterdam Postbank account number: 45 04 204 ING Bank account number: 66 69 33 634  
Commissioned by:  
Ir. J.W. Nieuwenhuis, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment PO Box 30945, 2500 GX Den Haag Tel. +31-70-339-2386 Fax. +31-70-339-1310 E-mail: hans.nieuwenhuis@minvrom.nl
Execution and costs:  
Responsible department head: Financial contact: Research manager: Execution:   Review: Time schedule: Total research costs (excl. VAT): Prof.dr. H. Verbruggen Drs. T. Elias Dr. J. Gupta Dr. J. Gupta, Drs. M. van der Kerkhof, Mr. H. van Asselt, E. Rotenberg Prof. E. Tellegen, Dr. M. Hisschemöller December 2002 – August 2003 141k EUR (excl. VAT) 167.8k EUR (incl. VAT)



Tender is valid for a period of 6 months after date of submittance.

Project Partners

This proposal is being submitted by a research consortium. It will be coordinated by the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In the process it will be guided and assisted by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). While IVM will be responsible for the quality of the process-related issues of the dialogue, the coordination of the scientific expertise necessary will be undertaken by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia. The other project partners are Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, India, ENDA Tiers Monde in Dakar, Senegal and COPPE/ Climate Centre at the University of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil (See Table 1).

Table 1. The HOT Project Consortium


Organisation Responsible scientists
Project coordinator Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV AMSTERDAM The Netherlands Tel. ++31-20-4449 555;Fax. ++31-20-4449 553 E-mail: joyeeta.gupta@ivm.vu.nl Dr. Joyeeta Gupta Dr. Matthijs Hisschemoller Drs Marleen van der Kerkhof Harro van Asselt Edan Rotenberg
Project Partner 1 National Institute for Public health and the Environment (RIVM) P.O. Box 1 3720BA Bilthoven The Netherlands tel. +31 30 274 3990; Fax. +31 30 274435 E-mail: Bert.Metz@rivm.nl   Dr. B. Metz. Drs. Marcel Berk
Project Partner 2 The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 1603 593900; Fax. +44 (0) 1603 593901 E- mail: m.hulme@uea.ac.uk   Prof. Dr. Mike Hulme Dr. Alex Haxeltine
Project Partner 3 Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) Darbari Seth Block, Habitat Centre Lodhi Road, New Delhi, India Tel. +91 11 4682100; Fax. +91 11 4682144 Email: preetyb@teri.res.in ; leena@teri.res.in   Dr. Leena Srivastava Ms. Preety M. Bhandari  
Project Partner 4 ENDA Tiers Monde 4 & 5 rue Kléber BP 3370 Dakar, Senegal Tel. (221) 822.59.831; Fax. (221)822.26.95 Email: ysokona@enda.sn ; energy2@enda.sn   Dr. Youba Sokona  
Project Partner 5 COPPE / Centro Clima – centro de estudos integrados sobro meio ambiente e mudancas climaticas, University of Rio de Janeiro, Bloco C, Sala 211, Cidade Universitaria 21945-970 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Tel. (55-21) 25628759; Fax. (55-21) 25628777 Email : Emilio@ppe.ufrj.br     Prof. Dr. Emílio Lèbre La Rovere  



This proposal addresses phase 1 of a two-phase proposal entitled: Helping Operationalise article Two (HOT): A science-based policy dialogue on fair and effective ways to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system and implications for Post-Kyoto policies. The aim of this project is to operationalise Article 2 of the Climate Change Convention which provides the long-term objective of the climate change regime. This is seen as an important step towards ensuring that the consecutive short-term steps adopted in the regime meet the long-term objective. The ultimate objective of the Climate Convention raises the question of acceptable risk. This is not an issue that can be addressed by scientists alone, and calls for a science based policy dialogue. A dialogue is a time consuming process and to ensure that it is successful it is vital that the participants are committed to the process in terms of the issues involved, the time they are willing to spend on the project and the need to engage seriously in a dialogue as opposed to a monologue or negotiation. This calls for an intensive investment in the conditions that guarantee that such a project will be successful. Hence, the first phase of this project is essentially the preparatory phase which aims at putting in place the conditions that will ensure the international multicultural dialogue to be engaged in in phase 2 is effective. The second phase is the actual dialogue process at regional and global levels aimed at producing a document that articulates and elaborates on the different interpretations of Article 2 and the reasoning that justifies these interpretation in the context of different perspectives.


4. Helping Operationalise article Two (HOT): A science-based policy dialogue on fair and effective ways to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system and implications for Post-Kyoto policies – Phase 1


This proposal addresses phase 1 of a two-phase proposal entitled: Helping Operationalise article Two (HOT): A science-based policy dialogue on fair and effective ways to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system and implications for Post-Kyoto policies. This document provides a brief problem description, the objective of the project, the research questions, the methodology, the project partners and research responsibilities of each partner, the time line and deliverables, budget, references and the curriculum vitae of the key project personnel.

The problem

The climate change problem is being addressed through a framework convention (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change FCCC) and a series of negotiated or anticipated protocols. The Convention provides a long-term objective in Article 2:

The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.


With the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1997, global society has made a first, but small step towards the attainment of the ultimate goal of the Climate Convention. In order to stabilise the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs), emissions will have to be strongly reduced in the long term. The level at which the concentrations of GHGs are eventually stabilised determines the overall level of global climate change. At the same time, the level of climate change and the severity of its impacts are highly uncertain, particularly at the regional level. Given the large uncertainties about the impacts of different stabilisation levels it is necessary to address the question: do we need to set long-term stabilisation targets in relation to greenhouse gas concentrations and are concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere the most appropriate indicator for setting long-term targets?

Climate change negotiations have so far focussed almost exclusively pm short-term issues related to greenhouse gas mitifgation in the first commitment period (2008-2012) and the use of flexibility mechanisms ion the Kyoto Protocol. However, action outlined in the Kyoto Protocol represents the only first step towards achieving the overall objective of the FCCC. It is therefore necessary to look beyond shorter-term imperatives in order to address this objective and contribute towards a sound and equitable long-term solution to the challenge of climate change.


At the same time, the debate on ratification and entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol has been marked by calls to broaden the ambit of the Protocol by including developing country GHG mitigation commitments. These demands have been countered by developing countries by references to their low cumulative and current per capita GHG emissions, low per capital incomes, low GHG intensity of GDP at purchasing power parity, and high vulnerability and poor coping capacity to climate change impacts. Therefore there is a strong need for dialogue amongst policymakers and stakeholders about acceptable and unacceptable climate change impacts, about fair ways of dealing with the unequal distribution of impacts, and about options for a fair distribution of emission control and adaptation costs.

The level of climate change impacts is related to both the overall magnitude of the change, the rate at which it occurs, and the ability of the natural and human systems to tolerate or adapt to the change. Not all systems are equally vulnerable to climate change: some systems are likely to adapt more easily than others. Human systems may adapt more easily than natural systems, while developed countries generally have more adaptive capabilities than developing countries. In assessing dangerous levels of climate change, adaptation options and capabilities need to be taken into account. This raises questions about how to evaluate different types of impacts and how to deal with regional and social differences in impacts. This also raises questions about critical impacts (impacts that should guide actions) and intergenerational solidarity (i.e. what time horizon should be taken when considering climate change impact risks).

The climate change problem basically constitutes a risk problem, where climate change impact risks need to be balanced against the risk of climate control policies. Acceptable levels of climate change will be defined in relation to the possible societal consequences of both impacts and mitigation efforts. An assessment of non-dangerous climate change thus also entails an assessment of the implications of climate change control policies.

Climate change scientists are unable to define what would be an acceptable level and time-frame for global concentrations of greenhouse gases to be stabilised. This is because the evaluation of climate change risks is essentially a political issue. Moreover, scientific uncertainties make it very difficult to assess the likelihood of possible climate change events and thus to quantify the risks of climate change. In short, the climate change issue is characterised as an unstructured problem where both the values at stake as well as the science is uncertain and subject of debate.

This type of post-normal science problem requires a methodological framework within which scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders can enter into a dialogue to assess what level of ‘danger’ (in terms of possible impacts) could be attached to different levels of climate change, what could be the implications of false policy responses (policies being either too loose or too stringent), and hence, what long-term concentration levels (or alternative policy indicators) may be considered acceptable and non acceptable, and on what grounds (criteria/values).

The climate system will respond slowly to mitigation efforts: impacts of climate change will continue to manifest themselves well beyond the moment global GHG emissions are being reduced and even after GHG concentrations have actually been stabilised. This means that short term decisions about GHG emission control need to be evaluated from a long-term perspective, because they may foreclose long-term climate control options. This raises the question of what long-term climate change targets would imply for global emission control policies in the short to medium term (post 2012 policies). In case no long-term targets could be established, it raises the question how we could hedge against the uncertainty about desired future levels of stabilisation of GHG concentrations. Also, here, a dialogue between scientists, policy makers and stakeholders will be essential for developing proper strategic responses.

The objective of the project and of phase 1

The purpose of the HOT project is to help better articulate and operationalise the ultimate objective as stated in Article 2 of the Climate Change Convention in specific terms on the basis of a science based policy dialogue. Issues to be addressed include the impacts upon stakeholders of various levels of stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations; costs and opportunities for mitigation/adaptation in different regions given national circumstances, the implications of climate change and mitigation/adaptation for sustainable development; and approaches to decision making for article 2 of the UNFCCC.


The project aims to:

· link the debate on medium-term (post 2012) climate policy targets to long-term perspectives on effective and fair climate change impact control and sustainable development;

· facilitate a scientifically well-informed dialogue amongst climate change policy stakeholders about the options for defining what would constitute “dangerous interference with the climate system” as covered by Article 2 of the FCCC;

· improve insights in differences of perspectives and common ground for building policy action; and

· provide insights into options for fair and effective post-Kyoto global climate change regimes for mitigation, impacts and adaptation.


The objectives of this Phase 1 proposal are:

· To identify the possible participants in such a dialogue and to secure their commitment to the project;

· To come to a common problem definition, dialogue agenda and methodology that will allow for effective and fair participation of all participants in the dialogue on Article 2.

· To prepare a detailed project proposal for the dialogue phase, and

· To generate support amongst the policy and funding community for such a dialogue.


At this point, the question of why the project should have such an elaborate preparatory phase may arise. The reasons for doing so are as follows. A dialogue process is an intensive time-consuming process. If the invitees and their offices are not convinced that the process serves any useful purpose or that they individually are likely to gain from the process, they are unlikely to remain committed to the entire dialogue process. For a dialogue to be successful, the same participants need to participate in the full process, to communicate with and learn from each other and in the process to develop a shared understanding of the values at stake, policy options and their possible implications, reasons and arguments behind different perceptions and interests, and opportunities and conditions for coming to common positions. It is very important therefore to invest time upfront in understanding the perspectives of the potential participants, their conditions for participation and to design the process such that it benefits all who participate. Undertaking such a preparatory phase will mean that a diversity of views has been taken on board, which will be further explored in the dialogue phase. Moreover, given the constraints of time and resources, the preparatory phase will also help ensure that we do not miss out on any significant issues in the dialogue phase.

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 216

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