Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Bali news roundup: Deal unlikely for targets, but probable for forests

Posted by Daniel Hall on December 12, 2007

Today’s New York Times and Christian Science Monitor both report that the current UN talks in Bali — intended to design a road map for negotiations on a post-2012 climate architecture to be concluded by 2009 — are unlikely to result in agreement between the EU and the US on a specific target for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The EU wants a commitment that industrialized countries will cut emissions by 25 to 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, while the US is opposed to including specific targets in the road map, preferring to put off discussion of emissions reduction commitments — and perhaps whether such commitments will be mandatory — until later negotiations.

Over at FT.com, meanwhile, there is nice short article on a likely agreement at Bali that would aim to reduce emissions from deforestation. The article is highly recommended for those who want a primer on some of the issues surrounding measuring deforestation and properly encouraging conservation. Here’s an excerpt:

Forestry is one of the least contentious issues at the talks but there has been disagreement over how to give financial incentives to poor countries to retain their trees in the face of illegal logging and other forms of exploitation.

One option would be to grant countries carbon credits for their trees, in the same way that projects such as wind farms or solar power are awarded credits for cutting emissions under the “clean development mechanism” of the Kyoto protocol. However, the United Nations said this would be impossible because if the trees in one area were protected, loggers or farmers could simply move elsewhere.

Another option, which Brazil is understood to favour, would be for countries to be given credit for curbing deforestation at a national level.

For those who are ready for more of a graduate course in reducing deforestation emissions, Environmental Economics recently had a couple of posts that explored this topic. The second, basically a guest post from Brent Sohngen, is particularly recommended. I’m hoping to write more about this topic in the next couple weeks.

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