Markets On Our Mind

While most developed nations remain unwilling to commit to legally binding targets for CP2, discussions about market mechanisms have been (un)surprisingly vivid. The fact that carbon market prices are at a record low and surplus allowances threaten to bring prices near zero hasn’t added much urge to increase ambition.

ECO wonders why the many carbon market industry lobbyists haven’t made it clear yet that markets can only flourish with vigorous demand, which can only be created by binding reduction commitments. Let’s get that right: allowing emissions trading schemes from countries without enough demand to reach their voluntary targets with international offsets won’t help. The recent announcement of the Australian ETS linking up to the EU ETS has stirred worries that the lack of an international accounting framework will create a fragmented market that will undermine the environmental integrity of carbon markets altogether.

My dear negotiators, would you honestly buy the right to pollute with Japanese Yen from an Indian company if you don’t know whether the emissions reductions are calculated in watts, horsepower or feet? ECO presumes not. However, it’s definitely maths time: do the numbers and calculate the emissions reductions you need for your market to work.

Not only that, we also need a common accounting framework (look to your left) that ensures 1 tonne is 1 tonne. We also see the need to develop a UN common framework, with rules for countries that transfer credits and allowances for meeting QELROs, to ensure reductions are additional and not double counting. ECO looks forward to the outcome of the Parties’ calculation exercises to be presented in Doha, so that the environmental integrity and fungibility of carbon credits can be assured. All this, obviously, must be under the condition of strong and binding emission reduction commitments.

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