Use of market-based mechanisms are favored by economists and welcomed by industry as they reduce the costs of meeting emissions targets. The Kyoto Protocol created three distinct flexibility mechanisms to reduce the economic burden of target compliance—joint implementation, the Clean Development Mechanism, and international emissions trading. The advantages and limitations of these approaches, as well as the employment of a carbon tax, should be considered.
Market-based mechanisms are generally favored by economists and welcomed by industry, as they tend to reduce the costs to industry (or countries) of complying with targets. However, effective trading approaches require an overall cap on emissions. Analysts are discovering that the administrative difficulties of implementation and enforcement of capand-trade systems amongst countries are not trivial. The Financial Times recently exposed the weaknesses in the carbon offsets market with buyers paying either for reduction that do not take place or for reductions that would have taken place anyway. Partly for these reasons, some economists prefer the levying of taxes on activities that lead to the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Carbon taxes are easier to implement than cap-and-trade schemes, economically efficient, but politically difficult to legislate in some democratic regimes. A carbon tax would reduce carbon emissions and increase revenues. Substantial benefits could be gained from carbon taxes in all countries based on the “common but differentiated” principle. In addition to emissions reductions, they would generate resources for the development of clean energy sources as well as for the cost of adaptation in poor developing countries.
The CDM was created to support low-carbon investment in developing countries. It allows both the private sector and governments to invest in projects that reduce emissions (as compared to emissions that would occur in a baseline scenario) in developing countries, and provides one way to support links between different regional emissions trading schemes. However, it has encountered administrative and technical hurdles, and its future is clouded because of the uncertainty about the post-2012 regime. Appendix 3 summarizes other challenges that the CDM faces. Initial CDM projects have been limited to a few countries, and a few gases, and have been plagued by bureaucratic procedures, with little contribution to sustainable development.
Some analysts have suggested that these market-based mechanisms are good at identifying the cheapest mitigation opportunities amongst existing options, and spurring innovations that have immediate cost reductions, but are less helpful in spurring the development of new lowemission technologies.
Questions for GLCA:
-Should GLCA advocate or recommend a carbon tax, cap-and-trade system, or a combination of both?
-Should GLCA propose concrete steps for reforming the CDM?
A Malaysian snail goes extinct ? with 22,000+ other species on the brink
Star: Fishing, logging, mining, agriculture and other activities to satisfy our growing appetite for resources are pushing wild species towards extinction.
A species of Malaysian microsnail has been declared ?extinct? in the latest Red List of Threatened Species released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Plectostoma sciaphilum, known only from a single limestone hill in Pahang, has disappeared as the outcrop which it inhabited, Bukit Panching near Kuantan, was quarried...
Climate change investment falls for second year in 2013
Reuters: Global investment in tackling climate change fell for a second year in 2013 to $331 billion, largely due to a drop in the cost of solar power technology, according to an annual report on climate finance.
Overall, the world is falling further and further behind its low-carbon investment goals, warned the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), a research and advisory group.
"Our analysis shows that global investment in a cleaner, more resilient economy is decreasing, and the gap between finance needed...
What's behind snowmageddon that hit the US this week?
New Scientist: Winter has come early to the US this year, with temperatures plunging below freezing across much of the continental US this week. Intense snowstorms dumped almost 2 metres of snow in a few places such as Buffalo in New York state (above), trapping people in cars and buses. So what has caused this unseasonal weather?
Cold air is usually trapped in the Arctic by the winds that circle the pole - the polar vortex. The strongest winds found high up in the atmosphere are called the polar jet stream....
Climate fund receives $9.3bn pledge
BBC: Thirty nations meeting in Berlin have pledged $9.3bn (£6bn) for a fund to help developing countries cut emissions and prepare for climate change.
The Green Climate Fund was to have held at least $10bn by the end of 2014, so the pledge is just shy of the target.
The South Korea-based fund aims to help nations invest in clean energy and green technology.
It is also designed to help them build up defences against rising seas and worsening storms, floods and droughts.
Rich nations previously...
New maps show Bering Sea holds world's most acidic ocean waters
Anchorage Dispatch: The world?s most acidic ocean waters are found in the winter in the Bering Sea, according to studies by scientists at Columbia University?s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who have released a series of maps tracking changes in global marine acidity.
With its broad continental shelf, shallow waters, ocean currents that deposit nutrients from around the world, and profusion of tiny plankton that form the base of the food web for marine life, the Bering Sea is home to ?wonderful fisheries? as well...
Tracking ancient greenhouse gas pulses shows climate trouble ahead
Summit Voice: There`s yet more evidence that melting Arctic permafrost will amplify global warming by releasing huge amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
In the latest study, Scientists with the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research tracked a pulse of CO2 and other greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere about 14,600 years ago.
The results suggest the gases were released during the start of marked warming phase and originated in thawing Arctic permafrost soil,...
Climate Change, Evolution: Here's Why We Disagree
ABC News: A growing body of evidence suggests that the passionate debate over public issues ranging from climate change to evolution has little to do with the facts. It has more to do with who we are, which tribe we belong to, and what we hope the future holds.
New research from Duke University, for example, concludes that the science of climate change isn't the real issue in that debate. The proposed solutions to that problem -- including bigger government and more regulations -- lead many to conclude...
A big reason climate change isn't a priority: The apocalypse
Washington Post: If you want to understand how little urgency there is among the American public about climate change, consider this:
A new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute asked people about the severity of recent natural disasters. About six in 10 (62 percent) said climate change is at least partly to blame. About half -- 49 percent -- cited the biblical end times (as in, the apocalypse) for the recent natural disasters. That latter number is up five points from 2011.
(People were allowed...