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?
Victorian renewable energy companies 'cut nearly one in 10 jobs'
Guardian: Melbourne?s leading renewable energy companies have cut nearly one in 10 jobs over the past year owing to uncertainty in the sector, according to an environment group that is calling on Victorian Labor to implement a state-based renewables target if it wins power.
A survey of 15 clean energy businesses found that overall job numbers fell from 556 in 2013 to 507 in 2014, representing a 9% drop.
Friends of the Earth, which conducted the poll, said the job losses were due to uncertainty about...
Without passing single law, Obama crafts bold environmental plan
Age: President Barack Obama could leave office with the most aggressive, far-reaching environmental legacy of any previous occupant of the White House. Yet it is very likely that not a single major environmental law will have passed during his two terms in Washington.
Instead, Obama has turned to the vast reach of the Clean Air Act of 1970, which some legal experts call the most powerful environmental law in the world. Faced with a Congress that has shut down his attempts to push through an environmental...
How could man intervene to change the climate?
BBC: Imagine the trouble that would ensue if China resorted to desperate measures to cool its climate but the result was that the Indian Monsoon suddenly failed.
Or that India tried to head off a rise in temperatures only to find that Pakistan suffered from massive flooding.
Or that the United States took drastic action to fight global warming and then saw that great tracts of Africa were suddenly left without any rain.
These are some of the nightmare scenarios conjured up by the latest thinking...
New Zealand Warned of Higher Storm Surges, King Tides as Sea Levels Rise
Business Times: New Zealand's infrastructure on low-lying areas and coastal properties are under threat from sea level rises as much as 30 centimetres. A new environment report has warned that rising sea levels due to global warming will have a significant impact to the people of New Zealand.
A storm cloud passes over bathers who prepare to leave Sydney's Manly Beach during an afternoon storm March 5, 2014. The storm, which generated little rain but high gusts of wind, was blown out to sea.
In a report released...
UN climate change deal must have legally binding targets, says EU
Guardian: An international deal on global warming must have legally binding targets, Europe will argue at a UN climate summit in Peru next week.
The Lima conference is intended to deliver the first draft of an accord to cut carbon emissions and stave off dangerous climate change, which is expected to be signed at a UN conference in Paris next year.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior EU official in Brussels said that the bloc had not abandoned its position that any agreement on emissions cuts...
Reef Erosion With Acidity: A 'Double Whammy'
Nature World: Here's something you may not have known: tropical coral reefs are constantly building up and breaking down. In healthy ecosystems, the building will outpace the breakdown, keeping reefs growing and sturdy even as their erosion feeds predators (like worms and the unusual parrotfish).
However, in recent years, researchers have begun to worry that in the wake of elevated levels of ocean acidity our reefs are eroding faster than they can grow.
Extensive records have shown that one of the most iconic...
Africa hopes Lima meeting will re-energize climate talks
Deutsche Welle: At the upcoming UN climate change meeting in Lima (COP 20), African groups are hoping that progress can be made towards the goal of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. COP 20 - the acronym for the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - begins in Lima, Peru, on December 1, 2014. It is seen by environmental experts as a crucial springboard to COP 21 in Paris a year later, where it is hoped a binding and universal agreement on limiting the effects...
What's At Stake in Lima Climate Talks
Climate Central: It's nearly time for a reboot on global climate action.
The Kyoto Protocol of 2008 through 2012 succeeded in introducing the world to the concept of coordinated climate action. Aside from creating a weak European carbon market, however, it did little to actually ratchet greenhouse gas levels. Nations that met their obligations under the protocol did so with the help of economic downturns. The U.S. never ratified the pact. Canada eventually withdrew, avoiding repercussions for the climate-changing...