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?
Oceans acidifying at unprecedented rate, says chief scientist
Blue and Green: Sir Mark Walport, the UK government?s chief scientist, has warned that since the industrial revolution the acidity of the world?s oceans has increased by 25% and is set to rise further -- threatening fish stocks and the natural environment.
Today ocean acidification is being driven by manmade carbon emissions, which are often absorbed by the seas. Scientists have observed that the current acidification trend far exceeds historical, naturally occurring trends.
Speaking to the BBC, Walport said,...
EU leaders to strike climate deal cut greenhouse gases 40% by 2030
Guardian: European leaders were expected to strike a broad climate change pact obliging the EU as a whole to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030.
But key aspects of the deal that will form a bargaining position for global climate talks in Paris next year were left vague or voluntary, raising questions as to how the aims would be realised.
Draft proposals were given to national delegations on watermarked paper in sealed envelopes as the EU summit in Brussels started on Thursday, in an attempt...
Washington state community devastated by mudslide could face floods
Reuters: A Washington state community devastated by a mudslide that killed 43 people in March was bracing for its first rainy season since the disaster and the threat of flooding from a river that changed course as a result of it, officials said on Thursday.
A rain-soaked hillside collapsed above the north fork of the Stillaguamish River on March 22, unleashing a torrent of mud that buried a community near Oso, 55 miles (89 km) northeast of Seattle.
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EU reaches deal cut emissions by at least 40 percent versus 1990 levels
Reuters: European Union leaders reached a deal early on Friday to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent in 2030 versus 1990 levels, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said in a Twitter message.
EU leaders also agreed two other 2030 targets to increase renewable energy use to 27 percent of the total and to improve their measure of energy efficiency to at least 27 percent compared with what it would be under business as usual.
In addition, they pledged to boost cross-border links...
New Methane-Releasing Microbe Key Player in Climate Change
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United Kingdom: Government ?allowing coal industry to get green subsidies?
Independent: The boss of British Gas?s parent company has criticised the Government for allowing ?old, dirty coal stations? to qualify for subsidies worth hundreds of millions of pounds in a scheme designed to promote green energy.
Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of Centrica, said the list of power stations which the Government has just cleared to apply for the scheme contains some of the country?s most polluting stations ? putting it at odds with its goal of keeping carbon emissions to a minimum.
What Will Winter Hold for Drought-Plagued California?
Climate Central: California really needs this winter to be a wet one.
The state is now at the beginning of the fourth year of one if its worst droughts on record. The drought has been fueled by a spate of disappointing winter rainy seasons that have left meager snowpacks and diminished reservoir levels, combined with record-warm temperatures that have driven demand for the increasingly precious resource, and spurred a series of conservation measures around the state.
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Environment is grabbing big role in ads for campaigns
New York Times: In Michigan, an ad attacking Terri Lynn Land, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate, opens with a shot of rising brown floodwaters as a woman says: ?We see it every day in Michigan. Climate change. So why is Terri Lynn Land ignoring the science?? In Colorado, an ad for Cory Gardner, another Republican candidate for Senate, shows him in a checked shirt and hiking boots, standing in front of a field of wind turbines as he discusses his support for green energy. And in Kentucky, a...