Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lunch Seminar: How Climate Negotiations and Policy Interact

There was a lunch seminar at my department today again, this time with Bo Kjellén, who's been the head climate negotiator for Sweden and Miriam Munnich Vass, who has done research on the climate policies by EU and Sweden.

This was the second time I saw Bo, and I had to go back in my blog to see what he spoke about last time. Interesting the he had pointed out that it was important that the Kyoto protocol survives so we can have a long-term strength in our goal to decrease emissions. Today he mentioned that it was indeed good that the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol has been agreed on, so we are at least moving on in the process. Even if we're probably gonna have to increase our goals on emissions pretty soon.

Miriam went on to speak about the EU policies on climate change, which have been quite substantial compared to other countries. This is of course a little worrying for EU though if none of the other bigger economies follow as it might lessen EU's competitiveness in the world economy to have stronger environmental regulation and rules. Miriam went on to speak about the EU emission trading scheme called ETS, which is a Cap & Trade system. It seems however, that the effect of this system hasn't been all that effective as the allowances are given out on what the companies have emitted before and therefore the prices are still kept low as there is too many allowances on the market for the system to take effect. Bo was suggesting a system of Carbon Tax and Carbon Trading at the same time or possibly an action for all the allowances which would be more effective in pushing the industries to lessen their impact. On the other hand, companies are in many cases already ahead of governments when it comes to environmental issues.

Carbon retirement is an carbon offsetting scheme that tries to target these extra allowances on the market. Here you can see a video on how it works if you offset your carbon emissions through them.

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