Saturday, January 30, 2010

Major Emitters Submit Pledges Prior to Jan 31 Deadline

It was an interesting week on the carbon front. Earlier in the week, unsubstantiated rumors on the web emerged that India and China had reconsidered their positions and would not submit their official emission reduction pledges under the Copenhagen Accord. Both countries (China and India) met the Jan 31th deadline as did the USA, which reiterated its modest 17 percent cut from 2005 by 2020. The BASIC countries this week emphasized that these pledges were non-binding and a small part of the "two-track negotiation process," from which industrialized nations will fulfill their "differentiated" responsibility of leading the absolute reduction in global carbon emissions. Meanwhile, President Obama attempted to further his clean-energy, climate legislation agenda during his State of the Union, but did not utter the words "cap-and-trade." The senators leading the climate legislation have been quick to impress that negotiations are not dead and new/different carbon reduction and pricing structures are welcome in the discussion.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

BASICs Won't Leave Their Climate Destiny in the Hands of US Senate

This week's Massachusetts midterm election was called by many as a referendum on the Obama administration's key legislative objectives, especially healthcare reform. Energy policy and carbon mitigation, including cap-and-trade or alternative mechanisms, may have also been dealt a crushing blow by Scott Brown's win in MA. One emerging potential risk is that the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) will be disgruntled by the USA's lack of leadership and scale back their emissions pledges. On the contrary, the BASICs seem inclined to form a stronger climate coalition to address uniform emission reductions metrics and adaptation funding. The BASICs are more and more becoming the masters of their own climate destiny as the USA retreats to infighting.

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