- Word that the Japanese government has finalized plans to fund two research projects, one focused on modeling and the other a general assessment of geoengineering technologies.
- SRMGI will hold two final meetings this year in Africa, bringing its dialogue Phase I to a close. The Royal Society is looking to obtain funds for a more regularized Phase II.
- The ETC Group is promoting an International Convention for the Evaluation of New Technologies (ICENT), which would of course apply to geoengineering technologies.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
- Improve the regulatory process
- Increase access to finance
- Strengthen capacity
- Increase demand for credits
The CDM project validation and verification process is notoriously complex, and this applies equally to A/R projects as it does to other project types. Among other problems, this unwieldy process is difficult for project developers, national authorities, and independent auditors to navigate; threatens to postpone credit issuance, which is particularly troublesome for A/R projects where upfront costs are high and there is a great need for early, reliable cash flow; is subject to constant revision by the CDM Executive Board (EB), creating a significant regulatory monitoring burden for stakeholders; and adds considerable transaction costs to any project, discouraging many otherwise compelling proposals from being made in the first place. Simplifying the project cycle is one of many items on the agenda of the high-level CDM Policy Dialogue, currently underway.
A/R is unique in the CDM in that credits issued for A/R projects are distinct from normal Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). Ordinary CERs are considered permanent, but because forestry projects are regarded as "non-permanent" (due to natural events or possible logging), A/R credits are considered temporary. A/R project participants must choose to receive either "temporary CERs" (tCERs), good for 5 years, or "long-term CERs" (lCERs), good for 20-40 years. Buyers of tCERs and lCERs are obligated to replace them with regular CERs before the former expire. For this reason, A/R credits sell at a discount in the carbon market, resulting in reduced demand. The BioCF strongly backs innovative efforts to make temporary A/R credits more fungible in the broader carbon market.
Lastly, although depressed demand in the carbon market is ultimately attributable to structural features of the EU ETS (see ZEP to Rescue CCS in Europe?, 3/1), European policymakers could provide a minor boost to A/R CDM credits by tweaking institutional rules. Currently, the EU prohibits use of tCERs and lCERs in the European market out of concerns over the permanence of forest carbon sequestration. As the European market is the largest in the world, this puts A/R credits at another distinct disadvantage vis-a-vis other offset credits. Many safefuards against non-permanence in A/R projects have been proposed. EU authorities could lift the prohibition on A/R credits and instead work constructively to help develop mechanisms to ensure against non-permanence, thereby boosting the prospects of A/R credits in Europe and globally.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
2. All serious options for addressing climate change should be considered – including controlling greenhouse gas emissions, removing CO2 ,adaption and geo-engineering.
3. International agreements are needed, but need not include all countries or sectors.
4. New approaches that pass a benefit-cost test should be tried, but not necessarily in a single comprehensive agreement; e.g. individual greenhouse gasses could be handled in separate agreements.
5. Putting a price on greenhouse emissions by taxing them or using emission caps would be desirable because it would help consumers, businesses and governments to account for the full social cost of their behaviours. Many countries already have explicit implicit prices on greenhouse gas reductions. The large revenue streams that result should be used productively by reducing other taxes that distort economic activity.
6. Climate stabilization requires that net CO2 emissions decline significantly. Achieving that goal will require a technical revolution. This is one reason why R and D in energy technologies should be a priority, though policies should also ensure innovative efforts are socially productive.
7. R and D is also needed in technologies for removing CO2 from the atmosphere and for managing solar radiation, even though these technologies may not be deployed for decades. Efforts should begin now to develop governance arrangements for the appropriate use of geo-engineering.
8. Businesses need appropriate incentives for innovation, investment and behavioural change.
9. The incentives for consumers, firms and governments to adapt are strong because they will bear most of the costs if they do not. The poorest countries will need assistance from industrialised countries, which may be best targeted to more economic development.
10. There are great uncertainties about how best to manage the various components of the climate change problem. These uncertainties should be acknowledged by adopting a flexible approach to decision making that responds to new knowledge about climate change. Uncertainty should not be used as a rationale for inaction.