The Bonn talks were held this week. They were meant to be a lead up to the COP 18 UNFCCC talks in Doha, Qatar this year. This is the year to finalize any plans for a the second round of Kyoto Protocol cuts, making it very important. The COP 15 talks were supposed to be the meetings at which we got the ball rolling on establishing new emissions restrictions, however most consider that to have been a failure. With the COP 17 talks however the developing world, the BRICS in particular, have made concessions that the developed world has been asking for for some time. That may make it easier for the various developed nations to brig back further reductions to their electorates at home. This remains to be seen however.
In my opinion the Kyoto Protocol was not very successful. Many say that the absence of the US was the downfall the treaty. While I agree that without US reductions the success of the treaty is moot, the real disappointing part was the failure of the treaty without the US. Political pressure could have brought the US into the treaty which would have put them on track with the rest of the world in cleaning up their emissions. I’ll admit that I’m not sure at what level emissions need to be cut to prevent dangerous climate change. That’s not my central problem however. Excess carbon credits flooded the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme through the CDM creating an artificially high number of credits for European firms to buy. That then allowed those firms to emit in excess of what they other wise would have.
All of these credits came from about 17 HFC-23 abatement projects in China and India making these projects very easy to regulate. However, no regulation was forthcoming once the abuse was pointed out, not for a few years at least. Once it was acted upon leniency was still granted to the manufacturers. And the manufacturers knew what they were doing. I’ll explain HFC-23 abatement and its impact on the EU ETS later but this is not an example of negligence on the part of CDM officials. It is too large of a mistake to be anything other than corruption.
As this week passes I’ll be giving my reactions on the various reports I read from the conference.