Just in time for the arrival of ministers, we have removed the fuzziness from our loopholes chart. Current loopholes could easily negate all Annex 1 pledges and in the worst case leave plenty of left-overs to nibble on during a third commitment period. A couple key examples will suffice.
According to UNEP, surplus AAUs from the first commitment period amouns to 9-13 Gt CO2e. Given that current Annex I pledges amount to about 18 Gt of emissions reductions, it almost goes without saying that this loophole needs to be closed if we want to stop tinkering at the margins and start getting serious about 2°C.
The two countries with most hot air are Russia and Ukraine. To entice them and other economies in transition to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, they were allowed to keep emissions to 1990 levels.
It seemed cheaper at the time to take out a huge loan on the atmosphere, and now like a subprime mortgage this is coming back to haunt us.
Both Ukraine and Russia have made 2020 pledges that are above business-as-usual projections. These weak targets could add another whopping 4 Gt of ‘hot air’ until 2020.
We agree that banking can provide an incentive for early action, but that only holds true if the pledges are deep enough to require countries to go substantially below their BAU.
And then there’s New Zealand. Climate Tracker rates their commitment for 2020 as ‘inadequate’, the lowest ranking a country can get. On Friday, New Zealand won a Fossil for its efforts to water down the integrity of market mechanisms. Sorry, this does not look like ‘over achievement’ to us.
But don’t cheer too quickly if you’re from somewhere else in Annex I. Only five countries did not share the dubious distinction of being rated ‘inadequate’ by Climate Tracker.
May we remind all delegates: your country may get away with ruses and ploys in the world of politics. But nature does not go for accounting tricks: it is the future of your own children you are gambling away.