It’s about as big as the combined yearly CO2 emissions from Europe and the US. Yes, we are talking about the gigantic, 10 gigatonne loophole that could undermine the whole purpose of a second Kyoto commitment period. ECO is clear, Parties must pop this “hot air” bubble this year, unless they have 10 gigatonnes of unannounced additional mitigation action up their sleeves.
Total A1 pledges until 2020 amount to only about 18 gigatonnes in cumulative pollution reductions. If all the hot air were used, these weak pledges would be cut in half. It is difficult to see how developed countries would then be able to convince developing countries to take on substantial reductions past 2020 if their own actions are so weak.
ECO is thrilled that the African Group and AOSIS have started to waltz and have tabled proposals on how to address the surplus AAUs.
ECO especially likes the AOSIS proposal. It makes use of the surplus dependent on a country’s level of ambition in CP2. If a country’s emission pledges are the same or higher than their 2008 emission, they will not be able to use any carry over. If their QELRO is below 2008 emissions and if they do not meet their pledge, they can use a small fraction of their surplus to help meet their pledge.
The African proposal is good but less stringent. It allows for countries to sell 2% of their surplus per year. In an 8-year commitment period this would mean potentially 16% of carry over being sold. In ECO’s rough calculation that’s more than 1 gigatonne. It is a start but still too high. They get a thumbs up for including offsets from the CDM and JI in the limitation of the carry over. ECO also welcomes their suggestions that half of the revenue of the AAUs sold is used for mitigation action in the seller country and that the other half goes to the Adaptation Fund.
After consulting three Nobel Prize winners and a Fields Medal laureate, ECO still cannot figure out what the Brazilian proposal is all about. It seems to say that hot air due to the current economic crisis represents real emission reductions and should therefore be carried over fully. It also implies that the proceeds could go directly into the pockets of European companies and not be spent on adaptation. Europe, with its apparent second term Polish EU presidency, is still practising its noble silence.
ECO commends the countries that have shown leadership on this issue! ECO calls on the G77 to develop a technically and environmentally sound proposal this week. This is the year the AAU surplus issue has to be resolved once and for all. Otherwise, we will not be able to start with CP2 in January 2013.