Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Expert Panel Urges Nations to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Climate
Expert Panel Urges Nations to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

CDM Policy Dialogue

The independent high-level panel established to take stock of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has released its eagerly awaited recommendations by urging nations to intervene forcefully to address the crisis in the carbon market and substantially increase their level of ambition when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

The ability under the CDM to earn a saleable credit for each ton of GHG emissions reduced has spawned more than 4,500 projects in 75 developing countries, everything from wind energy and efficient cook-stove projects to land-fill gas and large industrial projects. The CDM, credited with creating the first global environmental currency, is now under threat due to the current low prices paid for credits, the result of low demand and uncertainty over the timing and level of future demand, which is tied to countries’ emission-reduction commitments.

According to the high-level panel, if nations permit the CDM mechanism to disintegrate, the political consensus for truly global carbon markets may evaporate. Therefore, the panel calls on nations to increase their mitigation ambition by strengthening the pledges that have been made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and by adopting corresponding domestic policies and measures.

“Nations must, as a high priority, restore faith in global carbon markets generally and in the CDM specifically,” said the panel’s chair, Valli Moosa. “Although the CDM has been the subject of extensive criticism, it has improved markedly in recent years and has helped combat climate change by mobilizing the private sector through markets.”

The CDM was set up to do two things: give countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol some flexibility in how they meet those commitments, and assist countries to achieve their sustainable development goals. The mechanism has been criticized by some stakeholders for being too stringent and slow, and by others for not being stringent enough in ensuring that the emission reductions produced are additional, and would not have happened anyway, even without the CDM. Other stakeholders have questioned projects’ contribution to sustainable development, responsibility for which is left up to host countries.

To address shortcomings and improve the mechanism’s reputation and performance in the future, the panel recommends fundamental reforms of the CDM’s operating procedures. More specifically, the panel calls for:

  • more systematic reporting, monitoring and verification of sustainable development impacts;
  • greater access for under-represented regions through simplified procedures;
  • revised criteria for the composition of the CDM Executive Board (CDM EB) to reflect not only regional distribution, but also professional knowledge and experience;
  • implementation of standardized methods, such as performance benchmarks and positive lists, for assessing additionality.

In addition, the panel urges nations to take measures to enhance the CDM’s role so that it adapts to new political and market conditions. More specifically, the panel recommends that:

  • new approaches, such as sectoral crediting or national REDD+ programs, be implemented;
  • new projects that reduce HFC-23 or N2O from adipic acid plants be phased out;
  • robust standards to enable linking and harmonization of current and emerging carbon markets be set;
  • the rapid implementation of the Green Climate Fund be supported.

The wide-ranging research program commissioned by the panel found that over the past decade, the CDM alone has helped nations mitigate approximately one billion tons of GHG emissions in a manner that realized US$3.6 billion in savings for developed countries. Over this same period the CDM has mobilized more than US$215 billion in investments in developing countries, thereby accelerating economic growth and poverty alleviation.

“New market-based mechanisms will take years to design and make operational. For the balance of this decade the CDM is likely to remain the world’s foremost means of gaining the benefits of a truly global carbon market. The panel believes that a strong and robust CDM is necessary to support the political consensus and bring the benefits of carbon markets to developing countries,” said the vice-chair of the panel, Joan MacNaughton.

To make the CDM fit for the future, the panel recommends 51 actions across 12 areas. Its recommendations cover issues such as the crisis of demand, mitigation impact, linking of carbon markets, sustainable development, regional distribution, governance structure, additionality, stakeholder and public engagement, as well as mechanisms for appeals and grievances.

In formulating its recommendations, the high-level panel commissioned a wide-ranging research program addressing 22 topics across three main areas: the impact of the CDM to date; the governance and operations of the CDM; and the future context in which the CDM could operate. It also organized a stakeholder consultation program holding dozens of formal and informal meetings around the world.

The panel, which officially presented its report at the sixty-ninth meeting of the CDM Executive Board in Bangkok, urges that its recommendations be implemented fully and without delay with a timetable agreed that will bring them into effect by the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for December 2013.

Besides the chair Valli Moosa (South Africa) and the vice-chair Joan MacNaughton (UK), the other members of the high-level panel on the CDM policy dialogue are: Luciano Coutihno (Brazil), Maggie L. Fox (U.S.), Ross Garnaut (Australia), Prodipto Ghosh (India), Yolanda Kakabadse (Ecuador), Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe (Zimbabwe), Paul Simpson (UK), Nobuo Tanaka (Japan) and Changhua Wu (China).

 Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Once the virus escapes into the air inside a building, you have two options: bring in fresh air from outside or remove the virus from the air inside the building. Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

By Shelly Miller

The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading in a home or business would be to simply keep infected people away. But this is hard to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus to others.

Read More Show Less
California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a historic announcement Tuesday when he named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

A northern mockingbird on June 24, 2016. Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0

Environmentalists and ornithologists found a friend in a federal court on Tuesday when a judge struck down a Trump administration attempt to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions through rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MBTA).

Read More Show Less
A spiny dogfish shark swims in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.

Read More Show Less
A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The Mountain Valley Pipeline proposes to carry natural gas for hundreds of miles over dozens of water sources, through protected areas and crossing the Appalachian Trail. Appalachian Trail Conservancy / YouTube

It's been a bad summer for fracked natural gas pipelines in North Carolina.

Read More Show Less