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?
Brazil to sue mining companies BHP & Vale for $5bn over dam disaster
Guardian: Brazil?s government has announced it will sue mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale for $US5.2bn after the deadly collapse of a dam at an iron ore mine sent 60 million cubic meters of mud and mine waste cascading into the Atlantic ocean and left more than 13 people dead.
Environment minister Izabella Teixeira said a lawsuit would be filed demanding that the companies and the mine operator Samarco, which they co-own, create a fund of 20 billion reais to pay for environmental recovery and compensation...
Thousands turn out in Brisbane march calling for climate change action
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: About 5,000 people have braved hot and humid weather in the Brisbane CBD for a climate change rally ahead of United Nations climate talks in Paris next week.
They included members of the Pacific Climate group, who spoke at the rally to raise concerns that many Pacific islands would face catastrophic sea level rise without serious international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The protest is one of a number of demonstrations planned across Australia this weekend.
From the gathering...
Isolation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Part I
Huffington Post: Earlier this year I received a message from a long-time reader of my Communications , who was persuaded of the urgency of the climate problem. As a significant supporter of the Democratic Party, he had the opportunity to meet President Obama, and he was preparing a specific question: would the President be willing to "meet with Jim Hansen," who, the supporter asserted, understood the problem as well as anyone and has "some viable ways to fix the problem?"
Obama's response: he had already read...
Climate Change Will Not Be Dangerous for Long Time
Scientific American: The climate change debate has been polarized into a simple dichotomy. Either global warming is "real, man-made and dangerous,' as Pres. Barack Obama thinks, or it's a "hoax,' as Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe thinks. But there is a third possibility: that it is real, man-made and not dangerous, at least not for a long time.
This "lukewarm' option has been boosted by recent climate research, and if it is right, current policies may do more harm than good. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization...
Bill Gates Expected to Create Billion-Dollar Fund for Clean Energy
New York Times: Bill Gates will announce the creation of a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund on Monday at the opening of a Paris summit meeting intended to forge a global accord to cut planet-warming emissions, according to people with knowledge of the plans. The fund, which one of the people described as the largest such effort in history, is meant to pay for research and development of new clean-energy technologies. It will include contributions from other billionaires and philanthropies, as well as a commitment...
Emma Thompson's presence adds weight to climate change march in Ottawa
Toronto Star: Emma Thompson?s view on global warming is, in a sense, fairly simple: ?We change or we die.?
The two-time Oscar-winning British actor has thrown her weight behind a march planned for Sunday in Ottawa ahead of the United Nations climate change conference kicking off in France next week. Activists are pushing Canada?s newly minted Liberal government to adopt lofty fossil fuel reduction targets, with an end-goal of a completely clean, renewable economy by 2050.
The march is one of about 2,000...
Sandra weakens to tropical storm off Mexico's Pacific coast
Reuters: Hurricane Sandra weakened to a tropical storm on Friday and was expected to continue losing strength as it approached Mexico's Pacific coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Sandra, about 215 miles (346 km) southwest of the Pacific port of Mazatlan on Friday evening, was producing maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (113 kph), the NHC said.
"Sandra is expected to be near tropical storm strength when it moves near the coast of Mexico in the warning area on Saturday. After the center...
Presidential contenders differ sharply on climate change
Associated Press: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls climate change the greatest threat to national security. Front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton promises to install more than 500 million solar panels across the country.
On the Republican side, Jeb Bush would phase out tax credits for solar power. Rival Marco Rubio wants to cut the federal gas tax by 80 percent.
There are stark differences between the two parties on energy and environment issues that underscore the sky-high stakes for both...