“Flexible mechanisms” – Greenpeace.org

One principle established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”) during negotiations is that parties have “common but differentiated responsibilities”. Controversial as it is in translating this principle into policies, it rightly captures the diverse nature of participating countries. With “differentiated responsibilities”, it naturally follows that “flexible mechanisms” should be included in the next protocol.

This policy takes into consideration the different levels of difficulty it is for a country to cut back on emissions. A very developed country with cutting-edge technology already in place will find it harder to reduce emissions than countries that can replace obsolete and polluting machines with newer technology. In addition, without Emissions Trading, countries that have already met emission reduction target would have no incentives to further cut their pollution. At the end of the day, the total global reduction would more likely suffer.

Through the Clean Development Mechanism (“CDM”), flexible mechanisms allow countries not currently included in Annex B to benefit from reducing emission. For instance, company X in the US, though having cut emission as much as possible, has reached its limit. It can either buy credit on the market or get credit through the CDM. In finding an outsource company in India, of course it has incentive to find a more environmental friendly one. This mechanism creates a competition for outsourcers in India to cut back on emission to attract foreign client companies. As a result, the protocol applied only to Annex B countries now have positive impact on the rest of the world.

Flexible mechanisms underscore the viewpoint of climate change as a global problem, deserving global cooperation and solutions. Through Emission Trading, CDM and Joint Implementation, the policy creates the convention that countries depend on one another to solve their climate problems. Firms in the EU will begin to think of pollution reduction in China as directly beneficial. This is the necessary mindset for achieving environmental neutrality.

Of course flexible mechanisms need more research and modifications over time to be implemented in the most effective way, they should definitely be included in the next protocol for their recognition of global diversity among participating parties in solving climate change problems.

Luan Nguyen

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.