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?
France's Hollande says Paris climate change deal far from being implemented
Reuters: French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday an international deal on climate change agreed in Paris last year was still far from being implemented and called on countries to ensure it was ratified by year-end.
"The immediate urgency is to ensure the (climate agreement) is put into action by year-end. That's far from being achieved. I ask you to double your efforts to push countries where you reside to ratify the accord before Marrakech," he said addressing an annual gathering of French...
Nasa: Earth is warming at a pace 'unprecedented in 1,000 years'
Guardian: The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it ?very unlikely? that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa?s top climate scientist. This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the...
Climate authority split is no surprise ? Australia has fought same battle for 10 years
Guardian: The split in the Climate Change Authority is a rerun of the climate policy fight Australia has been having for the past 10 years ? the clash between what is undeniably necessary and what is politically possible.
The CCA report, to be released on Wednesday, lands exactly on the spot where the major parties might, just might, be able to reach a compromise and finally end the barren years of climate policy ?war?, policy reversal and time-wasting gridlock.
Guardian Australia understands the report...
Geologists search for Anthropocene 'golden spike'
BBC: The notion that we have entered a new geological age is real and should be formally recognised, according to an international report.
The verdict comes from a panel set up to judge the merits of adding an Anthropocene ("Age of Humans") time segment to the history of the Earth.
The group delivered its preliminary evidence and recommendations on Monday.
It now needs to identify a suitable marker in the environment that epitomises the start of the new phase.
Colin Waters from the British...
UK air quality shows little improvement over past 20 years, says study
Guardian: There has been little improvement in air quality over the past 20 years as transport planners focus on preventing road deaths, according to a study. Two university academics set out to try to understand why there has been little improvement in air pollution concentrations from road transport since the UK signed up to international air quality standards in 1995, as part of the Environment Act. Dr Tim Chatterton and Prof Graham Parkhurst, from the Bristol-based University of the West of England,...
How hot was it Sunday in Anchorage? The old record high for the date was blown away
Dispatch: Anchorage's sunny weekend weather set record-high temperatures -- including one day by a margin of 7 degrees -- after a rainy August.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, where the city's official temperatures are recorded, had back-to-back record highs Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the record 69 degrees set on Aug. 27, 1993, gave way to a new high of 72 degrees; on Sunday, the old record for Aug. 28 of 70 degrees, set in 1974, was blitzed by a new high of 77 degrees.
The Social Cost of Carbon Is the Most Historic Climate Change Decision Yet
Daily Beast: One of the most significant court cases about climate change was decided earlier this month by a federal appeals court in Chicago. Given that it was steeped in the enervating context of refrigerator regulations, you may have missed it. But amid the stultifying discussions of compressors and insulation foam was a crucial advance in our nation?s belated attempts to forestall global climate catastrophe.
It all comes down to a new phrase: the Social Cost of Carbon.
Here?s why it?s important. By...
Australia: Victoria to permanently ban fracking and coal seam gas exploration
Guardian: Victoria is to introduce a permanent ban on all onshore unconventional gas exploration, including fracking and coal seam gas, becoming the first Australian state to do so.
The premier, Daniel Andrews, made the announcement on Tuesday morning and said legislation for the ban would be introduced later this year, making the current moratorium on unconventional gas exploration permanent.
A parliamentary inquiry last year into onshore unconventional gas in Victoria received more than 1,600 submissions,...