Carbon Market Watch Analysis COP-18: We won a game of poker on the Titanic!

Much to our regret, countries who met at COP18 in Doha did little to address the billion tonne gap we need to close in order to keep us safe from catastrophic climate effects: No new mitigation pledges were made and most loopholes remain. Yet, some positive decisions were taken: Parties did agree that no new hot air should be created in the next Kyoto commitment period and that only a limited amount of the 13 billion tonnes of Hot Air from the first commitment period can be used. We also give thumbs up for allowing only Parties who have a commitment under the second Kyoto period to access the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and International Emissions Trading. Parties also launched a review of the rules of the CDM. However, the final decisions related to JI and CDM were generally disappointing. Important decisions on the future of the JI were postponed and decisions on the CDM’s future do nothing to address significant quality concerns recently highlighted by scientists.

No decisions were taken on the New Market Mechanism under the UNFCCC framework and the “Framework for Various Approaches (including markets)”. We welcome that Parties were sent home to work out work programmes first so to avoid hasty decisions that may further undermine the environmental integrity of carbon markets.

The future of carbon markets looks grim – a lack of demand due to insufficient mitigation pledges and a large oversupply due to lenient rules has led to a price collapse over the last year. In order to address this imbalance and to ensure that the world will stay below 2 degrees warming, Parties need to roll up their sleeves, commit to ambitious mitigation pledges and close loopholes that are threatening to substantially weaken a future climate deal. Below you find our analysis on the following issues discussed at Doha:

  1. Bursting Kyoto’s Hot Air Bubble
  2. Joint Implementation: Important Decisions Postponed
  3. Clean Development Mechanism – Grim Future
  4. Piece of carbon market cake only for KP Parties
  5. Future of New Market Mechanisms – Not Yet
  6. Forests and Agriculture in Carbon Market Landscapes
  7. A look at Carbon Market Watch behind the scenes in Doha

Observer organisations are invited to submit comments to

– The review of Joint Implementation (JI) by 18 February 2013

– The review of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by 25 March 2013

– The work programme on New Market Mechanisms (NMM) by 25 March 2013

– The work programme on the Framework of Various Approaches (FVA) by 25 March 2013

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