Steve Sawyer

Job title:
Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council

Steve Sawyer joined GWEC as the first Secretary General on 2 April 2007. He has worked in the energy and environment field since 1978, with a particular focus on climate change and renewable energy since 1988. He spent 30 years working for Greenpeace, primarily on a wide range of energy issues. He was the CEO of both Greenpeace USA (1986 - 1988) and Greenpeace International (1988-1993), and he served as Head of Delegation to many Kyoto Protocol negotiations on climate change, as well as heading delegations to the Johannesburg Earth Summit in 2002 and numerous sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Steve Sawyer is also a founding member of the REN21 Renewable Energy Policy Network and was a member of the Steering Committee of the Renewables 2004 ministerial conference in Bonn. He has also been an expert reviewer for the IPCC’s Working Group III.

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Back home again...

Well, it’s finally over. I’m back here at my desk in Amsterdam, and looking through the all-but-final documents on the UNFCCC web site.

You can find details of the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ about which we put out a statement early this morning. The ‘legally binding’ language in the COP decision has disappeared between the draft we had late last night and what was finally brought to the plenary. It’s not yet clear how that happened; and the decision ‘notes’ rather than ‘adopts’ the accord, and it is left to individual parties to sign up to the accord by the end of January. From the discussion in the Plenary this afternoon, it can be expected that all will sign up to it except Tuvalu, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela, and perhaps one or two more.

There are numerous analyses on the wires, which I won’t repeat here. We stand behind our view of the document’s fundamental weaknesses, even more so given the removal of the legally binding language from the COP decision. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer characterised the Accord as a ‘letter of intent’ rather than the legally binding agreement that 192 governments promised each other two years ago in Bali - and said they would deliver in Copenhagen.

For myself, it seems that what appears in the document is the lowest common denominator of the elements to which the new ‘big five powers’ (China, India, US, Brazil and South Africa) could come to agreement on, and the rest of the world (including the EU) was told to ‘take it or leave it’.

On a more positive note, we did get through the decision on the COPMOP guidance to the CDM Executive Board, which will give us some hope of avoiding the situation we had with the wind farms in China the week before the COP; and it also contains a directive to SBSTA (the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice) to come up with a COP decision on standardised multi-project baselines for consideration in Mexico (para 25). So we have something to work for on that front.

The international climate regime survives in some form, weakened and wounded, but we live to fight another day, with some remaining hope for a comprehensive agreement and a global price on carbon. As one senior EU negotiator said, “We swallowed a lot of water, but we didn’t drown”. We (the international community) have a lot of work to do on the road to Mexico.

Posted 05/01/2010 by Steve Sawyer

Tagged under: COP15 , Copenhagen , Climate change

RE: Back home again...
Posted 17/09/2010 by
Saw interesting comment on this at ! Wave power is the way forward clearly!

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