Delegates to COP-18 (the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC) learned how countries use the IAEA's energy planning expertise, including finding opportunities to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The IAEA's energy planning software models are used by 123 countries and 13 international organizations.
Dalia Streimikiene of the Lithuanian Energy Institute explained how 30 Lithuanian experts were trained by the IAEA to use its energy planning models. These Lithuanian experts, in turn, trained experts in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Qatar, South Africa and Sudan. Streimikiene also explained how Lithuania has relied upon these IAEA-supplied software models when negotiating accession to the European Union (EU), complying with EU directives on energy and the environment, and analyzing Lithuania's own energy security, climate mitigation options and a proposed new nuclear power plant.
At a "One UN" side event on Building Capacity for Effective National Planning and the Deployment of Clean Technologies convened under the auspices of the UN's High Level Committee on Programmes, Streimikiene provided an overview of Lithuania's use of energy planning models. The side event also included presentations by Lebanon, Mexico and the United Nation Environment Programme that described their capacity building initiatives related to economic development, efficient energy and water use, and GHG mitigation.
Energy use accounts for over 70% of current global GHG emissions, and the energy sector has the largest potential for mitigating emissions in the coming decades. Mitigation in the energy sector will be an essential part of any successful strategy to slow and eventually stop climate change. At a side event organized jointly by the IAEA and the UN Industrial Development Organization on Mitigation Actions in Energy Planning and Energy Demand, Ferenc Toth, an IAEA energy planning expert, offered delegates an overview of the capabilities of the IAEA's energy planning software models and the organisation's related capacity building activities. For instance, the software is used to help plan the expansion of national electricity generating capacity, identify energy-saving opportunities, calculate the national GHG inventories in line with the requirements of the UNFCCC and evaluate alternative ways to reduce those emissions.
At COP-18, delegates will need to agree to extend the Kyoto Protocol's limits on greenhouse gas emissions, since the Protocol will expire at the end of 2012. The limits set through this international agreement were a first step toward stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would "prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."
COP-18 ends on Friday, 7 December 2012.