Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Three options in the draft Bali deal will be put to international environment ministers who will meet on Wednesday... and the hope is that a deal will be signed by Friday.
The most favoured option is a two-track process. Under this, countries that have ratified Kyoto - Australia has taken the step towards ratification - would continue separate negotiations on the need for deep cuts by 2020 and 2050, and discuss binding targets.
A second process would look at commitments from developing countries and the US, which would not be binding but include renewable-energy and energy-efficiency targets, and emissions cuts from polluting industries.
Is it really the case that Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol just in time to be bound by deep cuts it otherwise wouldn't have been required to make?
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Common Tragedies is a play on the 'tragedy of the commons' concept, the tendency for overexploitation of common resources. The blog chronicles thoughts on environmental and energy economics and policy from a group of research assistants at Resources for the Future, an environmental policy research centre.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The Bush Administration announced last week that U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide fell by 1.8% from 2005 to 2006. Output of all greenhouse gases was down 1.5% last year. All this while the American economy grew by 2.9%. It's the first time since 1990, when the U.N. began counting these things, that the U.S. has reduced emissions without also suffering a recession...
The EU hasn't yet released figures for 2006. But from 2000 to 2005, the U.S. outperformed Western Europe. Carbon emissions were up 3.8% in the so-called EU-15 during those years, versus 2.5% in the U.S. Over the same period, there has been virtually no difference between the increase in all greenhouse emissions in the U.S. and EU-15.
the reductions were in part due to higher energy prices and favorable weather. But greater use of lower-carbon energy sources, including natural gas, also played a big role. The U.S. reduction also suggests that letting markets work through higher prices will reduce carbon emissions more than the cap and trade mandates favored by environmental lobbies and most Democrats. [emphasis added]
- They suggest that emissions can be reduced without much of an impact on economic growth. Economic / Business consultants McKinsey have released a study this week that indicates that the US could reduce emissions substantially with little economic cost.
- They suggest higher energy prices (and by inference a carbon tax) can be quite effective.
- They might give us clues as to what sort of action could be effective. What was different about 2006 to previous years? Why did the use of natural gas for electricity generation increase?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
- Can we meet our emissions targets in the first commitment period (2008 - 2012)?
- What happens after 2012? What will the new Kyoto Protocol or alternative post-Kyoto agreement look like?
For the first issue, the die is really cast: there's not much we can change now in terms of domestic policy that will pay big dividends within the next 5 years.
The Bali conference will kick off international discussions on the second issue - probably one of the most important things to get right in the coming century.
What do you think should be the essential ingredients of Kyoto Protocol Mark II?