Though media coverage in Canada has been sparse, European media have paid somewhat more attention to the agreements reached at the climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, which concluded on Saturday. While far from the ultimate agreement that many see as essential to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, many of the components of the Doha agreement point towards the nature of a global agreement that now seems more likely to be reached in three to five years.
Foremost among the agreements is the extension of the Kyoto Protocol until 2020. This is likely to have little impact on Canada (think Canada-Europe free trade talks) but at least keeps some of the key elements of Kyoto alive. Foremost among these is the Clean Development Mechanism, though lack of new funding may mean that Certified Emission Reductions from the CDM have little value (think 50 cents a tonne) for the time being. The CDM is a mechanism under which organizations in developed countries can invest in projects in developing countries and receive carbon credits for the carbon emission reductions achieved.
The agreement also commits to a new agreement which will succeed but is not necessarily based on the Kyoto Protocol. Frameworks were also agreed for issues such as finance for developing countries, technology transfer, and measurement of emissions from forestry activities.
The full text of the agreements from the Doha conference is available at http://unfccc.int/2860.php#decisions
A special issue of Gallon Environment Letter will be published next week with a summary of the Doha decisions and reviews of some of the key research and other documents presented during the Doha conference. To subscribe to Gallon Environment Letter visit http://www.cialgroup.com/subscription.htm