Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Today’s New and Developing Carbon Markets, February 7, 2017

Organized by U of T’s School of the Environment, last Tuesday’s session was filled with a huge amount of new learning, contextualizing and updates, some of which I will share with you here. And if you thought you had enough acronyms from SRI, well, let me introduce you to a whole bunch more!


The day began with a presentation on Paris and Marrakesh by Gray Taylor, introduced as ‘the godfather of Canadian climate change law’.  

The COP (Conference Of the Parties) 21 Paris Agreement which was approved December 12, 2015 represents a worldwide consensus on addressing climate change.

Major elements include:

  • CBDR
    In 1992, the world adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which established the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities. That is, all countries are responsible for dealing with climate change, but each will do so according to its means/abilities.
  • Retention of the aspirational target of limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels.
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
    These are the climate actions countries will take - their contribution to reducing/limiting climate change. Importantly, the NDC is set by the country itself. Mr. Taylor pointed out that this is a key difference from Kyoto, where targets were laid down from above. And if you remember, this fomented some ill will around, put simplistically, richer countries telling poorer countries what to do. 

  • Robust reporting scheme
  • Climate Finance
    The aim is to set up a fund with a minimum of 100 billion USD to assist developing country parties with both mitigation and adaption.
    COP 22 was held in Marrakech from November 7th -17th 2016. It turned out to be the best of times and the worst of times. As the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) reported, “Parties arrived in Marrakech buoyed by the agreement’s unexpectedly rapid entry into force, which took place November 4, only to be shocked a mere four days later by the election of Republican candidate Trump, who vowed during the campaign to “cancel” the Paris Agreement.”
    We heard from every speaker of the day the significant uncertainty President Trump has brought to climate change and energy planning. While the US pulling out of Paris would be unfortunate, to say the least, the Agreement requires at least 55 countries representing 55 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions to ratify their pledge, and this would be met even without the US participating. Stay tuned - on Twitter!

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