Coming soon, the “Katowice Double Counting Mechanism”

10 November 2017

Brazilian negotiators were particularly enthusiastic about the idea. As one negotiator explained, “Imagine if you could make a transfer from your bank account to another account to pay a debt. Suppose they could get paid and your bank balance doesn’t change. Sounds great, right!! We have found a way to do that with carbon credits.”

Traditional orthodoxy would claim that any time a carbon credit is transferred from one country to another and used to allow increased emissions in that country, the source country has to deduct this from reductions needed to meet their cap. This is called “corresponding adjustments” under the Paris agreement. It is based on the apparently fallacious argument that an emission reduction can be used only once. 

“We think airlines should get on the double counting bandwagon”, said the Brazilian negotiator. “There is no reason why countries should keep all the benefits to themselves”.