Reaching a Deal in Wonderful Copenhagen?

7 12 2009

With Climate Change Talks debuting in Copenhagen today, it is worth considering what could be the policy options to engage metals, the mining industry and other energy intensive industry sectors in meeting more stringent emissions targets.

Sectoral approach target heavy and energy intensive industries worldwide such as steel, aluminium, cement, and pulp and paper. These industries have a disproportionate political weight due to employment that they generate and their exposure to global competition which has deterred some governments from taking ambitious positions and climate policies.

Sectoral approach would have provided a bottom-up approach to emissions reductions by establishing sector-based targets (voluntary or mandatory) in which developing countries as well as Annex 1 countries would have been part of. This would have for effect of easing competitiveness and carbon leakage concerns in developed countries and could provide developing countries with technological incentives as well as revenues from selling their emission allowances. Sectoral agreements, it has been argued, would have made it easier to set aggressive targets in Annex 1 countries.

The sectoral approach to climate change, which had initially been championed by Japan, seems to have fallen off the radar since well before Poznan but it could have made a clear contribution in fighting climate change.

That said sectoral approaches to climate change have not entirely disappeared. The Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate is a forum that builds on a sectoral approach to climate change. APP is a public-private partnership under which industry sectors from China, India, Canada, Australia, the United States, Japan and Korea work to carry on technical projects to reduce emissions from industrial facilities. APP currently has eight task forces and is planning on expanding its work.

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