Flexibility: Not Always A Good Thing

Flexible mechanisms should not be so pliable that they undermine the already impoverished collective ambition of Parties. The Paris agreement needs to ensure that all Parties are decarbonising their economies and commit to the phase-in of 100% renewable energy by 2050. For this to be possible, any use of carbon markets must be supplemental to strong domestic action. This may seem obvious to most, but let ECO remind delegates that the relevant text on supplementarity is currently bracketed.

It is good to see that certain quality criteria—real emissions reductions, permanence, additionally and supplementarity—have made it into the co-chairs’ new text, in para 34 of the decision. Parties should endorse these, and to make them durable for the lifetime of the agreement, include them as principles for the use of markets  in the core legal agreement.

To make sure that market mechanism are used appropriately, ECO believes that the need to achieve a net decrease in emissions needs to be mandatory though, and not left to the whims and fancies of participating Parties. It is also imperative that any use of markets contributes to sustainable development and avoids double counting. The lack of environmental integrity of market mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol have so far created a 11Gt “hot air” loophole. Not putting in place safeguards to avoid double counting could create even more. Surely it is recognise that this would undercut the already inadequate ambition on the table. ECO counts on responsible Parties to set this straight.