Saturday, December 26, 2009

Environmental Defense's take on Copenhagen

Environmental Defense has its Insider podcasts several times a year, a conference-call briefing of major donors on the climate issues that they later put online. They recently did one on Copenhagen. Some interesting points:

They think whatever monitoring protocol developed in future US climate legislation will become the international standard, apparently because the size of the market will be so large in the US that it will be easier for other nations to just match it.

They're pushing for immediate changes in the Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism, and no longer support offsets under the current CDM for India and China. I've thought some anti-offset and anti-CDM criticisms were overblown, but I've also considered Environmental Defense a supporter of both. If they're backing off, that's meaningful (tho they didn't reject a new and improved offset system).

The whole REDD anti-deforestation thing made significant progress but still wasn't completely finished. I think this issue is a policy sweet spot - India and China don't want deforestation to emit CO2 that they'd rather be able to, the developed world also looks for ways to reduce emissions, and the countries with the forests should be happy to be bought off. For those who are anti-offsets however, please note that this is basically an offset.

Basic impression is of incremental progress, not collapse. Whether you see that as a failure depends on your expectation, I guess.

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