Carbon Market Watch

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 Aviation Emissions

Increased pressure on aviation’s market based measures as unambitious emission reduction standards are set

The weakness of the CO2 standard means that a second measure, the global market based measure (GMBM), under discussion in ICAO will need to deliver even more to achieve their goal of keeping the industry’s net emissions at 2020 levels, despite rapid growth in the sector.

Kat Watts


European Climate Policy

EU ETS reform must tighten screws on the number of pollution permits

While European policymakers are debating how the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) should be revised in the wake of the Paris agreement, the fall in the carbon price to below €6 per tonne of pollution gives a stark warning that Europe’s (supposedly) main climate instrument is not yet up to the job. Without the removal of surplus pollution permits, the adoption of a steeper decarbonisation pathway and the smart use of auctioning revenues, Europe’s carbon market will be doomed to fail.

Femke de Jong


 Aviation Emissions

Direction of aviation’s market based mechanism still up in the air

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”  Henry David Thoreau

Unfortunately for Thoreau, humans did conquer the skies, and aviation is now a significant contributor to climate change, contributing more CO2 to the atmosphere in 2014 than the combined emissions of the 129 lowest emitting countries[i]. Or just slightly less than oil giant Saudi Arabia.

Kat Watts and Kelsey Perlman


NAMAs

The missing ingredients for successful NAMAs

During the Paris negotiations in December publication of Carbon Market Watch’s policy brief revealed that long-term success of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) depends on having clear guidelines on stakeholder consultations, oversight of sustainable development impacts and sector-specific environmental criteria. The strategic plan for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the NAMA Facility revision process are crucial opportunities to acknowledge these success factors.

Urska Trunk


 European Climate Policy

ETS Linking: A new link in Europe’s climate action

In January, negotiations between the EU and Switzerland to link their carbon markets were concluded after 5 years of talks. Since the linking agreement has not (yet) been made publicly available, the consequences for Europe’s climate ambition remain unclear, including how it may impact the domestic nature of the EU’s 2030 climate target.  

Femke de Jong


Feb’16 newsletter


 

22 Dec 2015

Paris treaty establishes new carbon trading mechanisms

EiffelDespite seemingly genuine fears amongst some negotiators that the role of carbon markets might not be mentioned in the final agreement, the Paris treaty created two different frameworks for market approaches that will be developed in detail over the next years.

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22 Dec 2015

Climate finance agreed in Paris will not put the world onto a 1.5 °C pathway

NamasParis did not come up with a decision to mobilise trillions needed to put the world on a 1.5 C pathway. Developed countries will continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance. However, the financial provisions are weak, with most relevant points shoved into decisions. 

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22 Dec 2015

The Paris agreement is a springboard for more climate action in Europe

Cap and teamThe climate summit in Paris left many negotiators who had worked for days without sleep with a sense of relief. The Paris agreement marks a major step forward to averting a climate catastrophe. But as we are heading to a 3 degrees warmer world, far from the aspirational 1.5°C goal, we simply cannot afford to stand still. Now is the time to turn the global climate deal into a springboard for more climate action worldwide. And who better than ‘high ambition’ champion Europe to spearhead this movement from words to action?

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22 Dec 2015

Not everything flies in the COP21 climate treaty: Implications of Paris Treaty on international aviation emissions

EarlyFlightDespite spirited support by numerous countries including the EU, Switzerland, Mexico and South Korea, as well as industry, the new Paris climate Agreement does not give a new mandate for deeper reductions to the international aviation and shipping. This keeps the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in charge to address emission reductions in both sectors in 2016.

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22 Dec 2015

Future land use policies need synced with carbon timescales

tree in forestLand use remained a contentious topic at the Paris climate summit this December with onlookers wondering how land and its capacity to absorb carbon would be incorporated into the final agreement. While initial worries about the treatment of land in the Paris Agreement were ironed out in the final agreement, the development of rules and modalities in the coming years will need to permanently close doors to using the land to offset continued fossil fuel use.

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22 Dec 2015

Paris builds recognition for Human Rights obligations in climate action

HR -Protect Human Rights in all climate actionsIn Paris, governments recognized the interconnectivity of climate change and human rights. With a detailed preambular language that specifies that Parties, when taking action to address climate change, have to respect, promote and consider respective human rights obligations, the Paris agreement sets the foundation to make the new sustainable development mechanism accountable to human rights obligations.

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 News Digest: Dec 2015

05 Nov 2015

Carbon leakage myth buster

Carbon_leakage_myth_buster_cover_finalThe concept of “carbon leakage” is a major area of discussion in the legislative proposal to revise the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for the post-2020 period. The Commission’s proposal continues the trend of awarding free allowances, effectively representing a financial subsidy of €160 billion, to heavy emitters without providing evidence for the need of such beneficial treatment. A new Carbon Market Watch policy brief Carbon leakage myth buster shows how certain manufacturing companies have profited from selling the free EU ETS allowances they were given and recommends how to avoid such windfall profits in the future.  

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04 Nov 2015

Perspectives from outside the room: UNFCCC Negotiations in Bonn and the lead up to Paris 2015

unfccc_logoThe October talks in Bonn had a shaky start after the G77 opposed the Co-Chairs’ minimalist draft text. Other Parties expressed unhappiness at the lack of options and issues they saw as missing. Through Monday, Parties were allowed to bring in, with “surgical precision”, issues they felt essential to include. This process has bolstered Parties’ ownership of the text, but the talk is of coming up with ‘bridging proposals’ rather than reaching actual agreements on sections of the text.

 

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03 Nov 2015

Green Climate Fund urged to reject accreditation applications from HSBC and Crédit Agricole

Flag-map_of_Zambia.svgWith the aim to approve first projects before COP21 in Paris, today the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will consider the first 8 funding proposals to receive Fund’s resources. Despite the opposition from the civil society, the Fund is also considering to accredit two high profile fossil fuel funders – HSBC and Crédit Agricole, – that are aiming to channel the Fund’s resources.

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03 Nov 2015

Parties will head to Paris with strong human rights language in the draft agreement

HR -Protect Human Rights in all climate actionsLast week in Bonn, several Parties showed again overwhelming support for the desire to keep human rights language in the Paris agreement. The draft text that will now be the basis for negotiations in Paris, includes strong references to human rights- especially in the operative part of the agreement. This is an important step to make sure that the new climate treaty will also deliver for the most marginalized and vulnerable people.

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02 Nov 2015

New Polish government stands defiant on coal and climate progress

CoalAfter the victory for Poland’s Law and Justice Party in the country’s recent elections, the position the country takes on the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is likely to be one of even more defiant opposition. However, the EU ETS generates significant financial revenues for Poland.  The billions of euros that the country is set to receive from the EU ETS can help the transition to a just climate friendly society in Poland, whose unprofitable coal mining sector represents an increasing burden on its finances.

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21 Oct 2015

EU at risk of climate action standstill in the coming years

EEA2015Analysis by the European Environment Agency (EEA) finds that last year, the EU reduced its domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 23% compared to 1990 levels. No extra efforts are needed from now up to 2020 for the EU to meet its climate target of 20% emission reductions. Carbon Market Watch calls on the EU to increase its 2020 climate target to avoid that climate actions in the EU come to a halt. A higher 2020 target will also ensure that surplus credits generated until 2020 cannot be used to offset emissions in the 2030 climate framework.

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 News Digest: Nov 2015 

01 Oct 2015

CDM Board to discuss human rights safeguards

HRFrontFollowing numerous incidents of human rights violations related to CDM projects, the CDM Board will, for the first time, discuss options to address these concerns at its next meeting starting on 12 October. It will also discuss recommendations to overhaul the CDM’s local stakeholder consultation rules, including a requirement that projects must repeat consultations if they have not been carried out in line with national laws.

Read more…


01 Oct 2015

UN Sustainable Development Summit paves road to Paris

SDGsThe adoption of the new universal sustainable development goals (SDGs) has kicked-off a set of government actions to achieve a clean and prosperous future. Two major polluters, the US and China, announced a joint vision on climate change. China, UK and France ramped up climate finance to $17.5 billion.

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01 Oct 2015

EU’s climate position fails to prepare for swift ratchet up of ambition ahead of Paris

Tug of War ActionEU Environment ministers met in Brussels on 18 September to reach common positions on many of the key elements that they will be negotiating for at the UN climate talks in Paris in December.

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01 Oct 2015

Four magic potions for the EU’s carbon market

EU_ETS_review_coverIn July 2015, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to revise the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) in order to implement the EU’s 2030 target of at least 40% domestic emission reductions. Although the proposal suggests a few improvements it fails to introduce much needed provisions that improve the mitigation potential of the EU ETS. A new Carbon Market Watch policy brief recommends four magic potions to turn the EU ETS into an effective climate mitigation tool.

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01 Oct 2015

UN body launches tender to buy carbon offsets, excludes substandard projects from eligibility

UNOPSLast week, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) closed a tender to buy 350.000 carbon credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). According to theInvitation to Bid (ITB), offset credits must meet high quality requirements to be eligible. Quality criteria exclude coal, HFC-23 and large hydro projects that do not comply with additional quality assessments and favour projects that demonstrate improvements to the health, safety and welfare of people and especially women living near the projects.

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01 Oct 2015

New aviation reports add pressure to address airline emissions

Aviation emission reductionThe International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is busy developing a new market-based mechanism that will allow it to buy offsets to achieve the goal of limiting emissions to 2020 levels, despite rapid growth in the industry. In parallel, it has standards that aim to increase the fuel efficiency of aircraft. In 2010, ICAO agreed to achieve an annual 2% average fuel efficiency improvement to 2020. However, two new reports (links below) show that this goal is not yet being met, undermining the aviation industry’s need to reduce emissions.

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23 Sept 2015

UN launches new platform to offer stranded CDM carbon offsets

Carbon Noodle Soup_logo_white

As part of the climate week in New York, the UN launched the “Go Climate Neutral Now” initiative- a new online platform to purchase carbon offsets generated by its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The initiative attempts to boost demand for CDM credits on the voluntary carbon market and for the aviation sector but fails to dodge the sale of bogus carbon offsets. 

 

Read more…


News Digest: Oct 2015

 

03 Sept 2015

New study adds pressure on UN climate talks to address hot air carbon credits

spring-balloonA new study by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) finds that bogus carbon offsets issued under the Kyoto Protocols’ Joint Implementation (JI) offsetting mechanism to date have increased global emissions by 600 million tonnes CO2 to date. The study came timely ahead of the ongoing round of climate talks in Bonn, concluding tomorrow, where countries need to work to ensure that the new Paris climate treaty is not undermined, as Kyoto was, by hot air carbon credits.

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03 Sept 2015

Bonn Climate Talks: Environmental integrity must withstand new round of text consolidation

UN_BonnWith merely four weeks of negotiating time left before the conclusion of the Paris meeting to agree a new global climate agreement, the ongoing climate talks in Bonn that will conclude tomorrow, 4 September could either be a step forward or help bring about a needed step change in progress. 

(Including INDC Contributions Overview)

 Read more…


03 Sept 2015

New policy brief compares accountability mechanisms of the UNFCCC’s climate instruments

human rights pinAs countries are streamlining the negotiating text that is to be adopted in Paris later this year, one key issue is how to ensure that the climate treaty sufficiently incorporates human rights. A new policy brief released by Carbon Market Watch compares the social and environmental accountability of existing climate finance instruments and underlines the need for strong human rights language in the Paris agreement.

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03 Sept 2015

EU ETS review proposal earmarks €160 billion for Europe’s largest polluters

eu flagsJust when everyone started leaving for their summer holidays, the Commission published a legislative proposal to revise Europe’s carbon market to make it fit for the post-2020 period. The proposal was heavily criticized for failing to tackle the fundamental flaws of the EU ETS and increasing pollution subsidies to €160 billion to the EU’s biggest carbon polluters. However, there is still a chance for the European Parliament and Member States to turn the EU ETS into an effective tool to tackle climate change.

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03 Sept 2015

Uncertainty over Barro Blanco’s CDM approval

barro blanco womanOn the first of September tensions in Panama heightened when heavy machinery moved very close to the Ngöbe-Bugle Comarca to complete the highly contested Barro Blanco hydro dam, which is registered under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. This was preceded by the forceful eviction of indigenous people camping next to the construction area by the national police. In response to a letter sent by Panamanian civil society groups, the CDM Board has now reminded Panama about its right to withdraw approval for the project, “if it deems appropriate”.

 Read more…

 


News Digest: Sept 2015

 

01 July 2015

New loopholes disguised as flexibilities threaten reduction efforts in non-ETS sectors

ESD cover_cutIn June, Carbon Market Watch presented new analysis on how (not) to reduce the costs of tackling sixty percent of EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, covered by the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD). The report finds that a wrong design could significantly undermine reduction efforts in the transport, agriculture, buildings and waste sectors until 2030 by up to 28%. Early action on the other hand can lead to an extra one billion tonnes of CO2 reduction in the 2021-2030 period.

 

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01 July 2015

China and others announces INDCs, more Parties must follow suit

unfccc_logoChina has announced its Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution (INDC) to the global climate effort, meaning that the three largest emitters – the US, EU and China – have now put their opening bids on the table in advance of the Paris climate talks in December. While it is good that more countries have submitted INDCs, the total official submissions to the UNFCCC numbers only 16, out of a total of 192 signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It’s not like INDCs have come as a surprise, and developed countries in particular need to make their submissions expeditiously.

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01 July 2015

Human Rights in the Climate Negotiations: 3 questions asked but much left unanswered – #SB42

HR -Protect Human Rights in all climate actionsDuring the first half of June, climate negotiators converged in Bonn for two intense weeks of negotiations. With only 6 months left before the Paris COP-21 Conference, negotiations towards the 2015 climate agreement constituted the most important work on-going during this session. But many other key aspects of international climate policy were also on the agenda in Bonn. Throughout these two weeks, negotiators unfortunately made little progress on three main questions to address in relation to the integration of human rights in climate policies.  

 

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01 July 2015

NAMIGMA! – Unraveling the secrets of NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions)

enigma typeFor many stakeholders working on climate mitigation, the emerging concept of NAMA (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions) remains an enigma. Carbon Market Watch’s upcoming webinar “What are NAMAs and how can civil society organisations benefit from them?” aims to open the door to the many unanswered questions on how NAMAs work and what is the role of public participation in order to empower civil society to contribute and gain from the process.

 

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24 June 2015

Forestry offsets could turn EU’s 40% climate target into merely 35%

LULUCF GraphA new report from the Öko-Institut shows that the use of forestry offsets to replace efforts in other sectors would undermine the EU’s 2030 climate target by 5%. The legislative proposal for the land use sector that the European Commission is expected to present early next year should therefore uphold the environmental integrity of the EU’s 2030 climate target by treating the emissions and removals from our forests and soils completely separate from the efforts of other sectors. 

 

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19 June 2015

The Century of Survival

handsPope Francis cautions against “carbon credits” as a quick and easy solution to avoid radical change and maintain excessive consumption of some countries and sectors. He is right, in that carbon offsetting and trading will not do the trick to keep us from using up the remaining global carbon budget. Ambition and global willingness to reduce our carbon impact remain the absolute priorities in this century of survival.

 

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 News digest: July 2015

10 June 2015

Paris climate talks add pressure to reconsider carbon leakage rules

leaking tapstretchA leaked European Commission document suggests that pollution subsidies to industry under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme will increase to around €150 billion after 2020. The subsidy is under consideration because some industry sectors claim that the EU’s carbon market puts them at a competitive disadvantage, when in fact carbon pricing has been successfully introduced in many other regions as well. The proposal to shield industry from Europe’s main climate instrument sends the wrong signal ahead of the climate summit in Paris in December where countries are expected to sign a global climate agreement applying to all sectors and regions.

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 10 June 2015

European lenders put pressure for Barro Blanco to go ahead

barro blanco womanBarro Blanco – a CDM approved hydro dam in Panama – has entered in its most critical phase, following back pedaling from the government of Panama and threats by European lenders. Indigenous people set a deadline for the project to be cancelled.

 

 

Read more…


 10 June 2015

Review of the CDM rules at the Bonn intersessions

unfccc_logoCurrently, parties to the UNFCCC are meeting in Bonn for a new round of climate negotiations. One of the topics that is on the table is the review of the Modalities and Procedures of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Parties are thereby discussing rather “light” issues and shy away from more conflicting topics. But, when turning a blind eye on the necessity for more controversial themes, such as the establishment of a grievance mechanism, the review of the Modalities and Procedures may fall behind its great potential to improve the CDM for the future. 

 

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10 June 2015

Update from Bonn: What’s in store for market mechanisms?

Bonn conference center

With another round of UN climate talks underway in Bonn, uncertainty remains over the role that carbon markets will play in the Paris Protocol and accompanying decisions. 

 

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 News Digest June 2015


 

07 May 2015

Higher EU climate target needed when linking carbon markets

linking gameAs the EU and Switzerland are about to conclude the technical negotiations to link the EU and Swiss carbon markets in the coming months, a new policy brief and report by Carbon Market Watch show that the EU must increase its climate target to avoid diluting domestic emission reduction obligations with foreign allowances from the Swiss carbon market.

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07 May 2015

EU carbon market fix agreed

Flag of European UnionThis week, European policymakers have provisionally agreed on a fix for the EU’s carbon market that is suffering from an oversupply of pollution permits and yielding record-low prices. While this is a great step forward, a permanent solution to tackle the glut of pollution permits is needed as part of the upcoming legislative proposal to overhaul the EU’s carbon market for the period after 2020.

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 07 May 2015

New financial boost for NAMAs

cashLeveraging climate finance for implementing Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) has been one of the biggest challenges for NAMA developers in the past years. A new financial package up to €85 million by the NAMA Facility invites NAMA support project outlines by 15 July 2015 and beefs up existing NAMA finance to about€150 million.

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 06 May 2015

Lessons learnt from EU’s carbon offset rules

dam and goatsThis week, the European Commission released new data on the number and origin of carbon offsets used in 2014 by companies in the EU’s carbon market. Despite new eligibility criteria to incentivize investments in poor countries, the majority of offsets come from China, Ukraine and Russia. Moreover, lack of transparency gives a carte blanche to companies to choose projects with negative environmental and social impacts. As policies for large scale mitigation investments are currently being designed, these findings can provide valuable lessons.

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07 May 2015

Future of Barro Blanco hydro dam left to European investment banks

barro blanco womanFollowing the temporary suspension of the controversial CDM hydroelectric project Barro Blanco in February, Panama’s government acknowledges “recurring administrative flaws and improper handling” by the company in charge. After its dismissal, a new roundtable is now convened to analyse how the project can continue under a new management and “in accordance with the well-being of the communities”. The crucial decision to continue financing the project is now up to the German and Dutch development banks.

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07 May 2015

The Global Fund & human rights – Lessons from the health sector

HR -Protect Human Rights in all climate actionsAs the financial and market mechanisms established under the UNFCCC struggle to implement policies aimed at the protection and promotion of human rights, these institutions might benefit from learning how other global financial mechanisms are dealing with this issue, such as the Global Fund’s new Human Rights Complaints Procedure.

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07 May 2015

Growing expectations on EU ministers to promote aviation mitigation

Front Page - BriefingThe inclusion of international flights into the EU’s carbon market was one factor that created momentum for a global, rather than regional, measure to address aviation emissions. Recognizing Europe’s potential importance in the ongoing negotiations towards a global market based measure, open letters from fifteen NGOs across Europe were sent to EU’s transport and environment/climate ministers, calling on them to step up in promoting emissions reductions from aviation – a fast-growing and polluting sector.

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News digest May 2015

 02 Apr 2015

Seven climate plans towards Paris submitted – Mexico stands out over level of details provided

unfccc_logoAs the deadline for industrialised countries to submit their international climate pledges for the future climate treaty has passed, only seven countries have submitted their climate plans. While numerous high emitting countries, such as Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand failed to make submissions, Mexico was the first developing country to commit to climate action as part of the of the Paris agreement.

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 02 Apr 2015

The tale of the EU’s overweight climate change fighter 

boxing glovesThe EU’s carbon market desperately needs to get rid of excess weight if it is to perform as an effective climate change fighting tool in the future. The task of providing a way to do this – for example by permanently cancelling the current oversupply of more than two billions tonnes of CO2 – is now up to the European Commission when presenting its plans to revise the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) by mid-2015.

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02 Apr 2015

To tree or not to tree: Can Norway improve EU’s land accounting rules?

forest pic1Norway was the third country after Switzerland and the EU to officially submit its climate contribution towards the Paris climate agreement. Like the EU, Norway announced an at least 40% emission reduction target by 2030, which it intends to fulfill jointly with the EU by joining the EU’s 2030 climate framework. While Norway has made it clear that land sector accounting shall not affect its ambition level, the EU has left doors open for forestry accounting tricks. If the EU want to jointly fulfill its 2030 climate target with Norway, the EU must also exclude the option of planting trees to offset emissions.

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 02 Apr 2015

European Parliament discusses human rights dimension of EU’s climate finance contributions

handsearthLast week in an event in the European Parliament, various stakeholders discussed experiences with existing climate mechanisms against the future climate finance policy landscape, where potentially huge amounts of climate finance will not only be channeled through the Green Climate Fund (GCF) but also through bilateral agreements and other instruments where it is still unclear what types of safeguards and compliance mechanisms will be applicable and how the respective public and private stakeholders involved will be accountable.

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02 Apr 2015

Global Aviation Dialogue meetings add pressure to address aviation emissions

airplaneThe International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) intends to adopt a global market-based mechanism to reduce emissions from international aviation at its 2016 meeting. A series of regional workshops – Global Aviation Dialogs, or GLADs – over the month of April will put political discussions on this process into the next gear. Given the slow pace and lack of ambition so far, the upcoming GLADs will provide the opportunity for EU countries to start aligning positions to ensure that a future  mechanisms does what it is set out to do and is not merely a greenwash for the aviation industry.

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02 Apr 2015

Green Climate Fund’s decision to accredit first entities shadowed by intransparency over approval process

gcfAt the 9th Board meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which concluded last week in South Korea, seven entities were approved to pass through funding proposals by mid-year.  However, the decision was criticised over the lack of transparency and stakeholder input in the process. The Board also adopted rules to screen project proposals but failed to exclude funding for fossil fuels. Expectations are now on countries to sign off the remaining US$4.5 billion for the fund that has been pledged in November 2014 ahead of the 30 April deadline.

Read more…


News digest Apr 2015


 05 Mar 2015

EU’s plan to link to Swiss carbon market adds pressure to announce an increased climate target

eu flagsTomorrow, the EU is expected to announce its climate contributions towards the Paris climate agreement. The expected decision will build on the European Commission’s Road to Paris vision published last week. Hopes are that Ministers take their chances to address a number of critical issues that risk severely undermining the 40% domestic reduction target. They include a clear commitment to increase the 40% target in case of linking the EU’s emissions trading system (EU ETS) with other carbon markets, the way land use emissions are accounted for and the threat the existing surplus of emission allowances pose on the 2030 climate target.

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05 Mar 2015

Swiss climate pledge will rely heavily on carbon markets

lgevLast week, Switzerland was the first country to officially submit its climate commitment ahead of the international climate agreement to be finalized in Paris at the end of this year. Switzerland announced a 50% emission reduction target by 2030, of which at least 30% must be achieved in Switzerland itself. The remaining up to 20% should be attained through purchasing carbon credits with “high environmental standards” applying a negative list and excluding projects that violate human rights but no criteria are proposed to assess the environmental integrity of ETS allowances.

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 03 Mar 2015

European carbon market reform Must Succeed in Reality

75464917MC014_TORRENTIAL_RAIn February members of the European Parliament voted to start the reform of the EU’s carbon market by 2019, and put almost 1.4 billion pollution permits that were due to come back to the market by 2020 directly into the new market stability reserve (MSR). Unfortunately the reform does not provide a structural solution for the lacking environmental effectiveness of the EU ETS, as around 800 million surplus allowances are allowed to flow back to the market again before 2030, diluting the EU’s 2030 target by 3%.

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25 Feb 2015

European Commission publishes vision on the Paris Protocol to tackle climate change

Paris COPToday, the European Commission (EC) has published a first glimpse of the mitigation contributions the EU intends to contribute to the Paris Protocol. The Communication launched today entitled “The Paris Protocol – A blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020” includes a proposal for the EU’s proposed Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs) prepared in line with the information requirements agreed in Lima. However, the proposed INDCs leave doors open for the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target to be significantly undermined. The proposed INDCs will now be discussed by Member States experts in meetings today and on Friday.

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13 Feb 2015

Geneva climate talks launch pledge to understand climate change impacts on human rights

UNgenevaToday, the first of several sessions towards the Paris climate treaty concluded in Geneva. Countries delivered a negotiation text that will form the basis for discussions at the next session in June in Bonn.  Environmental groups applauded the launch of the Geneva Pledge, an initiative to better understand the connection between human rights and climate change supported by 15 countries with more countries expected to join.

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10 Feb 2015

BREAKING: UN approved hydroelectric dam Barro Blanco suspended over community rights violations 

Barro Blanco_100215Following community protests by the indigenous Ngobe communities, Panama’s environment agency ANAM supended the Barro Blanco hydroelectric yesterday. The decision was taken because of breaches of the national environmental impact assessment requirements, including shortcomings in the agreement with the locally affected indigenous communities.

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News digest Mar 2015 

05 Feb 2015

Command-and-control measures pending negative ETS reform vote

Flag of European UnionOn Tuesday 24 February, Members of the European Parliament will cast a crucial vote on the future of Europe’s flagship climate instrument, the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Failure to reform Europe’s carbon market could sink the emerging network of global carbon trading systems and have profound consequences for the success of the international climate summit in Paris at the end of this year.

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 05 Feb 2015

Success to agree on climate goals paramount for sustainable development goals 

FightingSDG against climate change and fighting for sustainable development are two sides of the same coin – one will not prosper without the other. It must be made clear to world leaders shaping the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that without an ambitious climate goal, the post-2015 sustainable development agenda cannot reap success.

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05 Feb 2015

Human rights council’s premises expected to deliver future climate treaty text 

human rights logoIn less than one year, the world’s countries are expected to flesh out an agreement to address climate change and advert dangerous global warming. UN negotiators will meet for the first time in 2015 in Geneva with the goal to deliver a final negotiating text to form the basis for such a deal. This first session will also be significant because it will take place in the premises of the UN’s human rights council where UN delegates will have to find a solution to protect the world’s most vulnerable citizens from climate change while insuring their human rights.

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  04 Feb 2015

Carbon offsetting projects challenged over their sustainability impacts

benefit trackerIn Lima, Carbon Market Watch together with local Indian launched the ‘CDM Benefit Tracker India’, an interactive map that compares the sustainable development objectives outlined in CDM project application documents with eye witness accounts from local communities. Project owners have now been invited to comment on the results that find severe discrepancies between claims and local realities.

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 02 Feb 2015

Carbon offsets from Alberta’s tar sand operations threaten integrity of EU’s new fuel standards 


FQD report frontpageIn December 2014 implementing rules to achieve the CO2 reduction target of oil suppliers in Europe were adopted. The newly adopted fuel standard opens doors for oil companies to use questionable offsets, including from heavily contested activities related to tar sand exploitation in Alberta. It is now up to EU Member States to take the red pen when transposing the rules into national law and avoid the CO2 reduction target to be severely undermined.

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 15 Jan 2015

Launch of Korean ETS underlines the need for linking safeguards

South Korea flag_cutThis month, South Korea became the second Asian country after Kazakhstan to officially start a national carbon market. The first carbon allowances that were traded on the Korea Exchange were sold at a similar price to that in Europe’s emissions trading system (EU ETS). South Korea’s ETS could therefore be a good candidate for linking with EU’s carbon market now that the EU is looking at linking as replacement for the barred use of international offsets. While linking can have significant consequences for the integrity of the EU ETS, the European Parliament is currently not in a position to scrutinize the linking negotiation process.

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News digest: Feb 2015


 

 26 Nov 2014

Reap what you sow: Participation in a global carbon market should be limited to countries with ambitious climate targets

reapThe role of future carbon markets will rank high on the agenda in Lima. Against the insufficient climate action pledges that have been made so far, a key issue in Lima will be to establish participation criteria that will only allow those countries with a mitigation target in line with the 2°C target to participate in international carbon markets.

 

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26 Nov 2014

Keeping the books on emission units

bookAccounting of emissions will be a cornerstone of a future climate treaty and is hugely important for the integrity of carbon markets as well as keeping us on track to limit global warming below 2°C. Lima will need to lay grounds for a rigorous accounting framework and robust unit quality requirements. It will also need to establish consistency to the ICAO process that is developing a global market based mechanism for aviation emissions.

 

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26 Nov 2014

To be or not to be: Is the EU’s 2030 climate pledge enough to participate in international carbon markets?

to be or notIn October 2014 EU leaders agreed to at least 40% binding domestic greenhouse gas reduction target by 2030 compared to 1990. This significant move away from allowing the use of international offsets also puts into question the EU’s plans to link up carbon markets under a new climate treaty. Experience from the EU’s carbon market shows why international eligibility criteria for participation in the global carbon market are needed.

 

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 26 Nov 2014

Current CDM projects not fit for results based finance

marathonThe future role of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in the 2015 climate treaty is likely to be very limited. CDM advocates have therefore started to look beyond traditional funds for offsets and are now eyeing at climate finance. However, the CDM in its current state does not provide environmental and social standards needed for climate action.

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 26 Nov 2014

International human rights day adds pressure to implement safeguards in carbon markets

HR -Protect Human Rights in all climate actionsAt the occasion of the international human rights day on 10 December 2014, the need to protect human rights in all climate actions will be high up on the agenda in Lima. The clock is ticking for delegates to put in place a robust institutional safeguards system for existing and new carbon markets to protect the people most vulnerable to climate change.

 

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 26 Nov 2014

NOT SMART: Climate smart agriculture in carbon markets

industrial-farmingProposals to include forests and land use activities in existing and new carbon markets will be discussed in Lima. But sequestration of carbon in land cannot compensate for continued fossil fuel emissions – the impact of fossil fuel emissions are permanent, whereas storing carbon in forests and soils is temporary and can be easily reversed by cutting the forests for example.

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News digest -Lima COP20 Edition Nov 2014


7 Oct 2014

Europe’s leaders must protect the 2030 climate target from loopholes

EU2030_loopholes_labelOn 23 and 24 October 2014, EU’s Heads of State will determine Europe’s future action to avoid dangerous global temperature rise. It is expected that they will propose to reduce Europe’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions by merely 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. While this target is not nearly enough to combat climate change, some governments and companies are trying to water this target down even further by actively pushing to carry-over the hot air from the current climate framework. The failure to set an adequate 2030 climate target that is not riddled with loopholes could be disastrous for the transformational change that Europe needs for the decarbonisation of our energy system and industries.

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5 Oct 2014

EU carbon market reforms must go further and arrive sooner 

Flag of European UnionFor the last couple of years, the European carbon market has failed to provide a signal for decarbonisation with carbon prices hovering around 5 euros for a tonne of CO2. To address this, earlier this year, the European Commission proposed to reform the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in order to provide a more meaningful carbon price. It is now up to the European Parliament and the Member States to take this proposal forward and make it more effective.

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3 Oct 2014

Carbon leakage: a blank cheque to industry

cheque blank_cutOn 24 September the European Parliament’s Environment committee, voted down an objection to the European Commission new carbon leakage list, 34 to 30. The objection was lodged by Green MEP Bas Eickhout and argued that the proposed €30 per tonne carbon price, used in determining which sectors are placed on the list, was grossly inflated.  The result of the vote means that EU taxpayers will lose around €5 billion in revenues over the next 5 years.

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 30 Sept 2014

Capping the Dragon: prospects for Chinese and European emissions trading linkage

cap dragon_cutWhile Europe is trying to get its emissions trading system (ETS) out of the doldrums, China is busily preparing to launch its national carbon market. By 2020, China’s carbon market will have surpassed the EU ETS as the world’s largest carbon market, covering around 3 to 4 billion tonnes of CO2. South Korea, which in 2015 will be the first Asian country to launch a national carbon market, has already indicated that it eventually wants to link its scheme to China’s. It is probable that the EU will also consider some form of linking to the Chinese carbon market in the future, highlighting the importance of robust linking safeguards.

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02 Sept 2014

Draft EU Council conclusions propose taxpayers continue subsidising industry’s pollution to avoid a problem that doesn’t exist. 

leaking tapIn early September, the council conclusions on the 2030 climate and energy framework were leaked. Worryingly, the draft text stated that the current practice of giving free pollution permits to heavy emitters needs to be maintained while “dynamically” allocating these permits based on actual production levels. A rebuttal by Carbon Market Watch shows that this approach could result in EU taxpayers paying industry an extra €130 billion worth of free emission allowances, while the public have never been presented proof that carbon leakage actually exists.

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29 Aug 2014

Deadly protests against Guatemala hydro dam leave questions over UN Board’s project approval

IMG_2902[1]In June, the UN Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) approved the contentious hydroelectric project Santa Ritadespite serious concerns over human rights violations. On 15 August 2014, a repressive security operation against the Q’eqchies communities of Cobán, Chisec and Raxruha by more than 1500 national police officers led to the forceful eviction of some 160 families resulting in three deaths, 50 injured, and a negative mark on the mechanism’s future.

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 News digest (EU FOCUS):Oct 2014


 

10 July 2014

UN Climate talks in Bonn: the pathway to Paris

UN flag Bonn_cutBonn climate talks in June provided a small step forward in determining elements of a draft treaty, aimed at being delivered in Lima COP 20 by the end of the year and a new international climate agreement to be agreed in Paris in 2015. The pace of negotiations and reforms falls short of addressing the rate of global warming and identified shortcomings bringing discussions on many items, including reforms of carbon markets to a halt with eyes on the upcoming climate negotiations in Peru.

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Campaign Focus: CDM needs to catch up with social standards already in place for other mechanisms

unfccc_logo

 In June, at a recent Africa Regional Workshop in Windhoek Namibia, Designated National Authorities (DNAs) discussed how improvements to the role of local stakeholder consultations could be made and how sustainable development impacts of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects can be monitored. Carbon Market Watch participated at this two day capacity building workshop and highlighted that best practice guidance on how to implement existing rules is still needed. 

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25 June 2014

The Joint Implementation offsetting mechanism is deeply flawed – time to consign it to history?

dusty libraryAt the recent round of climate negotiations in Bonn in June, countries showed little interest in fixing the flaws of Joint Implementation (JI), the UN’s second largest offsetting scheme. The proposed new rules do little to tackle the severe quality problems that have dogged the scheme and led to very few genuine emission reductions. With the continued unwillingness of Parties to reform the system we see little reason why the JI should continue after the UN’s Kyoto Protocol ends in 2020.

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20 June 2014

New analysis of Effort Sharing Decision calls for ambitious post-2020 target

effort sharingcutCarbon Market Watch has presented new ideas on how to tackle the sixty percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions covered under the so-called Effort Sharing Decision (ESD). Two new reports published in June look at how successful the legislation, which only entered the implementation phase last year, has been in tackling emissions from sectors such as agriculture, transport and buildings which are not covered by the EU’s carbon market.

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18 June 2014

Contentious Santa Rita hydro dam project given UN go ahead

Santa Rita web pictureIn June, members of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board unanimously approved the Santa Rita Hydroelectric dam project #9713 despite widespread concerns that the local stakeholder consultation was not conducted correctly resulting in alleged human rights violations.

 

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News digest:July 2014OPINION #1


 

16 May 2014

More energy-intensive industries will pollute for free after 2015

smoke and stackThe European Commission has unveiled a list of 175 industries that will receive protection from the costs of climate change policies (“carbon leakage”) up to 2019. Surprisingly more financial support will be handed over to energy-intensive firms, despite there being no evidence for the occurrence of carbon leakage so far.  Carbon Market Watch calls upon the European Parliament and Member States to reject the new list.

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09 May 2014

New research urges accounting fixes for future climate policies

unfccc_logoNew research shows that a new climate deal must be based on multi-year, not annual, emissions budgets and comprehensively revised accounting rules to ensure the environmental integrity of targets and markets. In particular the reports call for an end to so-called double-counting of emissions cuts sold through offsetting mechanisms whereby the issuing and purchasing country both count a project’s emissions savings towards their targets.

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02 May 2014

EU ETS regulators fail to disclose carbon offset purchasing data

closed doorThe latest data released by the European Commission reveals the origin of international offsets used in 2013 by companies in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), but falls short on information at the installation level. Unlike previous years, the Commission only released aggregate information, effectively hiding information linking the buyers to the 133 million offsets that entered the EU ETS in 2013. This lack of transparency will make it easier for companies to purchase offsets that offer no climate benefits, such as those sold for coal-fired power stations in China.

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30 Apr 2014

New recommendations on CDM Reform

CDM reform signCarbon Market Watch has set out its views on reform of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The proposals, sent in a response to a consultation launched last year, include provisions on how to ensure projects result in genuine net environmental benefits. The submission also includes detailed recommendations on how local civil society involvement should be regulated and how grievances should be handled when projects harm local communities or the environment.

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11 Apr 2014

New push for CDM rescue package

growth

At a meeting last month, the CDM Board decided to renew calls for public and private sector buyers to voluntarily purchase and cancel CDM carbon credits. The move comes in response to continued weak demand that has led to CDM offset credits suffering from a low price below €1.  Carbon Market Watch has criticised the failure to provide quality standards to promote purchase of credits from only the greenest and most sustainable projects.

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09 Apr 2014

New Sustainable Development Tool is a small step forward

toolsThe CDM Board published a tool to report about the contribution of CDM projects to sustainable development. The tool is far from being perfect but it is a step in the right direction to improve the oversight of sustainable development and to monitor co-benefits other than GHG reductions of climate mitigation projects. It could become a useful quality check tool for offset buyers and “cancellers” to help ensure a genuine contribution to sustainable development.

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News digest: May 2014


 

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