Column : Doha’s second chance

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SummaryThe 18th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change began last Monday in Doha.

the New Agreement.

However, agreeing to a second commitment period without meaningful rules is pointless: emissions cuts must be ambitious and carryover rules shouldn’t drag surplus carbon permits from the 2008-2012 period to a fresh phase. According to Thomson Reuters, targets declared by Parties likely to participate in a second Kyoto period are significantly higher than business-as-usual emissions between 2013 and 2020. This is a serious issue, and risks undermining the environmental integrity of emissions trading altogether.

2. Doha should see progress on giving direction for a new market mechanism, inherent in the Durban Platform. There is debate even on basic issues such as whether it should include project-based mechanisms like the CDM, or sit alongside them. Kyoto, despite its shortcomings, created architecture for emissions target setting, linking with regional schemes, and involving developing countries in a manner not demonstrated since its inception in 1997.

While the Durban Platform is designed to be a follow-up global treaty to Kyoto, the terms of the agreement will not be finalised until 2015 and it will not enter into force until 2020. That’s why a second phase of Kyoto lasting eight years (2013-2020) is important—by ensuring that the planet has a continuous climate change treaty.

3. The Green Climate Fund, a grand idea agreed to in 2009, is supposed to channel $100 billion a year to developing countries by 2020. The fund is scheduled to start operating from 2013 and wealthier nations are being urged to pledge money, but the pot remains relatively empty. And, hugely political; the only significant decision so far has been that South Korea will host the fund.

That said, Doha is set to decide how and when the GCF will be financed, though success is debatable considering that none of the discussions so far have explored how to source private capital.

In addition, the idea of such a fund was born under a negotiating group whose job was to deliver a grand deal in Copenhagen 2009, but the group didn’t manage to do that. Its noise, however, lingers on and hopefully Doha will put this group to rest.

4. And finally, REDD, the emerging promise

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