China’s Climate Pledges In Doubt As Carbon Markets Flop

china mapBeijing has made a lot of headlines recently for its eco-friendly target setting, and central to many of these plans has been the implementation of regional carbon markets, and eventually the creation of a national system. So far things are not going exactly according to plan. Prices in five of China’s carbon markets have fallen sharply. Permits in the biggest pilot exchange in Guangdong have dropped 73 percent. —The American Interest, 1 July 2015

Regulatory uncertainty and a lack of transparency have left trade on China’s seven pilot carbon exchanges in the doldrums, which could undermine efforts to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. China told the United Nations on Tuesday it would cap its emissions by 2030, and promised to cut carbon intensity – the amount produced per unit of economic growth – by 60-65 percent from 2005 levels by then as well. But traders said the transition to a national carbon trading system is already causing problems. Prices in five of the markets have fallen sharply. Permits in the biggest pilot exchange in Guangdong have dropped 73 percent. –Kathy Chen and David Stanway, Reuters, 1 July 2015

India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar said that Delhi would submit plans to cut emissions to the UN, but would not announce a target date for when it expected its total carbon emissions to drop. “The world is not expecting… India to announce its peaking year,” said Prakash Javadekar, in an exclusive interview with the BBC. “Some people are trying to put pressure on us, saying that India too needs to declare its emissions peaking year. China’s per capita annual emission is nearly 20 tonnes whereas ours is only two tonnes,” said Mr Javadekar. –Navin Singh Khadka, BBC News, 1 July 2015

Brazil, China, India and South Africa voiced disappointment Sunday over the failure of rich countries to come up with billions of dollars needed to help them sign on to a landmark climate change deal. Ministers and top negotiators from the four key countries met in New York to close ranks as talks on the climate deal head into crucial months before a Paris conference in December. In a joint statement, they expressed “disappointment over the continued lack of any clear roadmap for developed countries to provide $100 billion per year by 2020, as well as on substantially scaling up financial support after 2020.” “There is still a clear expectation and so I hope the developing countries can fulfill their commitment before the Paris meeting,” China’s envoy for climate change Xie Zhenhua told reporters. —Agence France-Press, 29 June 2015

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Monday urged developed countries to create a credible plan to commit 100 billion U.S. dollars per year by 2020 to support developing countries to adapt to climate change. The UN chief said he would “proactively engage with leaders from both the global north and south to make sure this goal is met and is considered credible by all.” He expressed disappointment with what he called the “snail’s pace” of climate negotiations currently taking place in the lead up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting set to take place in Paris on Dec. 7-8. —Xinhua News Agency, 29 June 2015

Widely hailed as ‘green’ sources of renewable energy, hydroelectric dams have been built worldwide at an unprecedented scale. But research from the University of East Anglia reveals that these major infrastructure projects are far from environmentally friendly. A study published today in PLOS ONE reveals the drastic effects of the major Amazonian Balbina Dam on tropical rainforest biodiversity. The research reveals a loss of mammals, birds and tortoises from the vast majority of islands formed by the creation of the vast Balbina Lake, one of the world’s largest hydroelectric reservoirs. —Science Daily, 1 July 2015