Loopholes and Targets at Climate Talks

Here in Copenhagen, a lot of the discussion has been around the lack of ambition coming from developed countries.  There has been little discussion of long-term finance to meet the mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries. With regards to the emission reduction targets, they are adding up to a mere 11-17% below 1990 levels, despite the fact that the most recent science is calling for emission reductions of at least 40% below 1990 by developed countries. A leaked draft of a document prepared by the UNFCCC secretariat found that the current pledges commits the world to a 3 degree warming. It also found that developing countries will actually reduce emissions more than developed countries!

To make matters worse, a back of the envelope calculation that I undertook with other colleagues from the Climate Action Network indicates that loopholes actually erase emission reductions and would in fact, allow emissions to increase in developed countries (see figure). These findings at a press conference earlier this week, which The New York Times reported on.

Not only are many offset projects destructive to rivers and the communities that depend on them, but they also don't result in real emission reductions.  This is why International Rivers will continue to expose the injustice and sham of offsets. They have no place in a fair, ambitious and just climate deal.