The Sustainable Development Mechanism AKA The New Carbon Market Mechanism

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  The Sustainable Development Mechanism is a new mitigation mechanism established in Art. 3 ter of the draft Paris Agreement. The purpose of this mechanism is to “promote the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions [in developing country Parties] while fostering sustainable development….” In order to achieve its goals, the mechanism provides incentives for successfully mitigating…
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Financial services promote a greener world

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According to Michel Sapin, the French Minster of Finance, the financial sector is in the midst of a transition. Investors, insurers, and banks are at the center of the climate change activity. In a recent presentation at COP21 Sapin noted, “Climate change has immense opportunities. The future is low emissions.” Principles for Responsible Investment, an…
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Past as Prologue? Joint Implementation and the Future for Flexibility Mechanisms

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A recent report by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) raises some serious questions about the integrity of the Joint Implementation (JI) program, one of the Kyoto Protocol’s main flexibility mechanisms. Since flexibility mechanisms are a core part of Geneva Negotiating Text, this report raises the question of how the UNFCCC will learn from its past mistakes as…
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A Woman Saving the Planet

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This week’s New Yorker leads off with a “Reporter at Large” article by science writer Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction), The Weight of the World: Can one woman get the U.N. to save the planet?  While ostensibly about UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres – answering the subtitled question, “can [she] persuade humanity to save itself?”…
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China: Cause for Despair? Or Cause for Hope?

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As the nations of the world wrapped up last week’s ADP negotiations on the key elements of the 2015 Paris agreement, many observers remained focused on China.  Simply put, the actions that China takes (or doesn’t take) in the next decade or so could very well determine whether humanity can successfully avoid a full-blown climate…
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The road from Bonn to Lima (by way of Copenhagen this week)

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Looking back on last week’s ADP2-6 special session, it would be easy to echo the notes of pessimism that pervaded Saturday’s press reports.  RTCC (Responding to Climate Change) commented after last Thursday’s stocktaking session that “much work remains” in the session’s last two days and noted the frustrated ADP Co-Chairs “offering government negotiators a stern reality check.”…
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Germany, Exhibit A of the EU Emissions Debate

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Although Germany is popularly viewed as an international leader in the clean energy field, its 2013 performance in producing electricity tells a different story.   Electricity output from brown coal plants rose .8% in 2013, to 162 billion kilowatt hours, according to the German Institute for Economic Research.   This was the highest level since reunification, when Germany…
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EU Debating Internally Its Carbon Emission Pledges

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This article in Bloomberg News explores the divide among EU member countries when setting the bloc’s overall commitments under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as those it will agree to in the KP’s successor agreement due to be signed in Paris in 2015.  A draft plan due to be released tomorrow by the…
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Getting Day 2 Off to a Good Start

This morning, COP19 began with a webcast press briefing on emissions trading.  Dirk Forrister, President and CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association (and former US delegation member who has been active since COP1), gave an overview on the growth of market mechanisms and emission trading as private enterprises respond to national incentives set by state…
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