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?
Here comes the sun: US solar power market hits all-time high
Guardian: Solar energy in the US has had a rocky existence. Ever since Ronald Reagan symbolically removed Jimmy Carter?s solar panels from the White House roof in 1986, federal policy has been unpredictable, such that manufacturers and consumers could never depend on reliable incentives to produce and install solar energy systems.
Remarkably, the US solar energy industry is now entering what may be its most prosperous decade ever, thanks to a new wave of federal and state policies and positive economics...
Brexit is not a vote against climate change says UN?s climate chief
Guardian: Britain?s decision to leave the European Union was not a vote against climate change, nor was it a vote against the innovation key to fighting climate change, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told an audience of business and policymakers at the annual Business & Climate summit in London today.
In her last speech as the head of UN?s climate change body the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Figueres said, ?It?s absolutely clear that should article 50 be triggered, the UK would have...
Scotland's fishing industry welcomes decision to leave the EU
Guardian: Scottish fishermen?s representatives were adamant on Tuesday that Brexit would be good news for the 5,000 strong fleet, despite warnings that the uncertainty surrounding the UK?s departure from the EU could hurt fisheries.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen?s Federation, said that leaving the EU would give fleets ?the ability to recover proper, sustainable, rational stewardship through our own exclusive economic zone for fisheries?, comparing the situation with Norway...
Science groups to Congress: Climate change is real threat
Associated Press: Thirty-one of the country's top science organizations are telling Congress that global warming is a real problem and something needs to be done about it.
The groups, which represent millions of scientists, sent the letter Tuesday, saying the severity of climate change is increasing and will worsen faster in coming decades.
Eighteen groups sent a similar letter in 2009. But Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the climate problem...
Soy diesel less toxic than other fuels
SciDevNet: Unlike conventional diesel, fuel made from soybeans does not directly damage lung cells, a lab study has shown.
"Some of the soybean biodiesel presently being used in Brazil does not exhibit direct adverse effects on human lung cells nor [does it] induce inflammatory response,' says the paper, published in the August issue of the journal Toxicology in Vitro.
To assess the fuels' toxic effects, researchers from Brazil and Puerto Rico exposed lung cell cultures to particles emitted by the combustion...
California firefighters contain most of state's biggest wildfire
Reuters: Firefighters in central California had by Wednesday contained most of a major blaze that ranks as the biggest and deadliest of several that are raging in an early summer heatwave.
Crews had contained about 60 percent of fire, named Erskine, up from 15 percent on Tuesday, in the drought-parched foothills near Lake Isabella in Kern County, about 110 miles (180 km) north of Los Angeles, fire managers said.
A major highway through the area had also been reopened and more evacuees had been allowed...
Firefighters gain ground over devastating California blaze
Reuters: A burned out truck rests on a roadside after the Erskine Fire burned through Weldon, California. Reuters/Noah Berger left1 of 2right Firefighter Bryan Gant sprays water on a residence leveled by the Erskine Fire in South Lake, California, U.S. June 26, 2016.
LOS ANGELES Firefighters in the foothills of central California have made significant gains against a blaze that has killed at least two people and destroyed scores of homes in a devastating start to the state's wildfire season, authorities...
Witnessing a great white shark breach ... terrifying, awesome or both?
Mother Nature Network: For those who have been forever traumatized by the 1972 classic "Jaws," there is nothing more terrifying than the prospect of seeing a great white shark burst through open water and fly through the air.
On the other hand, for fans of Discovery's annual Shark Week, there is nothing more amazing than observing one of these breaches firsthand:
Shark breaching may be rare, but it represents just one of many fascinating behaviors exhibited by these cartilaginous marine creatures.