Global Environment

The Third Asia Pacific Seminar on Climate Change

[CHAIRMAN'S SUMMARY]

MARCH 28-30, 1994, OSAKA, JAPAN



The Third Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change was held in Osaka, Japan, from March 28 - 30, 1994, just a week after the implementation of the UNFCCC. The Seminar was attended by participants from 16 countries including Australia, People's Republic of Bangladesh, People's Republic of China, India, Republic of Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Republic of Maldives, Mongolia, Kingdom of Nepal, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of the Philippines, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Kingdom of Thailand, and Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Other participants included representatives from international and regional organizations including International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and the Climate Institute. A number of observers from various Japanese national and local organizations were also in attendance. The Seminar was sponsored by the Environment Agency of Japan, Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City. It is noteworthy that eight of the sixteen participating countries have already ratified the UNFCCC, and the remaining countries have indicated that they are in the advanced stages of doing so.

Objectives of the Seminar

2. The objectives of the Seminar were as follows.

  • (i) To provide an opportunity for the Asia-Pacific region to acquire the know-how for developing national inventories for emissions and removal of GHGs and assist participating nations in implementing the convention in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • (ii) To foster cooperation among countries in the region for development of possible regional strategies.

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Opening Addresses

3. In his opening address, Mr. Tsutomu Yamamoto, Parliamentary Vice Minister of the Environment Agency of Japan, emphasized the need for an environmentally sound socioeconomic system, the need for strengthening research capacity, and the importance of international cooperation. Mr. Kazuo Nakagawa, Governor of Osaka Prefecture, and Mr. Masaya Nishio, Mayor of Osaka City, delivered welcome addresses. The Governor mentioned Japan's revised basic local environmental law and also emphasized the importance of international cooperation at the local level to facilitate the transfer of technology. The Mayor expressed support for the UNEP Center for Technology Transfer that was established recently. He also mentioned Osaka's action plan on the environment, a local Agenda 21.

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Election of Officers

4. The Seminar elected Mr. Saburo Kato (Japan) as Chairperson. Mr. Peter Tin Tai Cheng (Australia), Dr. R. Tjang Mushadji Sutamihardja (Indonesia) and Dr. J. R. Bhatt (India) were elected Vice Chairpersons. Dr. Ata Qureshi (Climate Institute, USA) was elected Secretary for the Seminar.

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Keynote Speeches

5. In his keynote address Prof. Ding Yihui, Vice Chair of IPCC WGI, highlighted the structure and activities of the IPCC, status of the assessment reports, and the guidelines for GHG emission inventories. ESCAP representative Dr. Rezaul Karim's keynote address focused on climate change implications, regional strategies, and actions in the Asia-Pacific Region.

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IPCC/ OECD Methodology

6. Mrs. Jan Corfee-Morlot from the OECD and Mr. Craig Ebert from ICF presented details of the IPCC/OECD national greenhouse gas inventory guidelines and methodologies covering the following areas.

  1. Fuel combustion and industry
  2. Methane from energy production
  3. Methane from waste management
  4. IPCC reporting instructions for national GHG inventories
  5. Methods for emissions from agriculture, land use changes, and forestry

7. This seminar focused primarily on emissions inventory methodology and was received enthusiastically by the participating countries because the topic was very timely in view of the implementation of the UNFCCC. The seminar also assisted the countries in understanding the requirements of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

8. Overall, the inventory methods provided by IPCC/OECD were considered useful by the participants. The need for updating guidelines was also expressed during the discussion. Some participants provided feedback to the IPCC/OECD representatives to improve the methodology. This feedback included the following questions and suggestions.

  • (i) The range for default values and emission factors is too broad and needs to be narrowed down. Emission factors specific to regional conditions would be useful
  • (ii) Several national representatives voiced concerns over a broad range of emission factors for rice paddies and emphasized the need for site-specific research to develop realistic ranges of default values. The sustainability of rice agriculture over centuries was emphasized.
  • (iii) Emission factors applicable specifically to developing country situations, such as open firewood places for domestic cooking and kerosene lighting, should be developed.
  • (iv) It was suggested that appropriate emission factors and ranges for default values should be announced for various types of soils.
  • (v) It was recognized that it is important to include sinks when calculating national inventories.
  • (vi) Consideration must be given for CO2 absorption in wood products.
  • (vii) Anthropogenic and natural emissions of GHGs, e.g., forest fires vs. savannah burning, should be differentiated in emission inventory work.

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Regional Strategies

9. Dr. Shuzo Nishioka presented the keynote address entitled "The Next Steps to Cope With Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific Region." The address illustrated the need for international and regional cooperation to respond to climate change. Dr. Nishioka also emphasized the following points.

  • (i) We have already gained some understanding of the implications of climate change. Our next priority should be to plan and implement plausible response strategies.
  • (ii) Networking is an essential element of this process, and this Seminar is an essential element of regional networking.
  • (iii) The Consultative Meeting on the Development of a Regional Strategy on Climate Change held at ESCAP in October 1993 confirmed the important role of the Regional Strategy. A Regional Strategy can provide each country with common facilities and methodologies specific to the region while also providing input at the global level from region-specific aspects.

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Recommendations

10 It was apparent during the discussions at the Third Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change that some countries are already well advanced in undertaking the emission inventories, while others are in the inception stages. However, all participating countries have shown willingness to comply with provisions of the FCCC. Some of the points raised during the participant presentations include:

  • (i) All countries and international agencies welcomed this series of Asia-Pacific Regional Seminars to continue, and the Japanese Government indicated their willingness to sponsor the Fourth Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change.
  • (ii) Under the provisions of FCCC, there is a need for developed countries to fulfill the special commitments to assist the developing countries in financial, technical, and technological areas.
  • (iii) Several countries expressed the importance of monitoring various GHGs sinks and of developing a suitable method to quantify them appropriately.
  • (iv) It was expressed that separate regional workshops should be organized to provide step by step procedures for emission inventories specifically addressed to the experts of the countries of the Asia-Pacific Region.
  • (v) Institutional strengthening, including indigenous capacity building, is highly desirable for countries to meet the expectations of the Framework Convention.
  • (vi) Currently, only one central location at the OECD headquarters disseminates information on emission inventory methodology. It was proposed that regional centers might be established to serve as contact points for this purpose.
  • (vii) Regional climate evaluations and development of regional climate change scenarios were emphasized.
  • (viii) Some countries expressed the need for financial and technical assistance to improve research capabilities for inventories and other similar activities.
  • (ix) It was proposed that a regional environmental fund for the Asia-Pacific Region be establish to support capacity building at the national level.
  • (x) Regional strategies on climate change specific to the small island nations of the region should be identified and implemented.
  • (xi) It was stressed that local initiatives could play an important role in reducing GHG emissions and in forming sustainable cities and communities.
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