ECO understands that several Parties are trying to get the high score for the new video game CAPMAN–our cute climate superhero fighting against Hot Air villains. Today’s winners are five EU countries (Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom) that decided to remove hot air by cancelling 634.9 million surplus units (AAUs) from the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period. They also promised to cancel significant additional amounts from the period up to 2020. These units result from the countries overachieving their Kyoto targets. Cancelling them is a welcome contribution to pre-2020 ambition.
The Kyoto Protocol is suffering from an 11 gigatonne hot air loophole. Under the current rules, the surplus AAUs cannot be used after 2020. However, there is still a risk that the use of other out-of-date carbon units, such as carbon offsets, dilute post-2020 mitigation efforts if Parties would allow them to be carried over.
ECO hopes that, in the race of who takes the most carbon out of the game, today’s initiative will be extended to all surplus units that could harm post-2020 climate commitments. The Paris agreement should incentivise climate actions that are new, additional and not recycled from the past.