10 August, 2013

Impact of the Doha outcome on surplus emission allowances and their effect on developed country emissions


Chen, C. M., Gütschow, J., Vieweg, M., Macey, K. and Schaeffer, M.

The outcome from the December 2012 climate negotiations in Doha has clarified the rules regarding surplus units for the Kyoto Protocol. We summarise these new rules and estimate the resulting effective emissions during the second commitment period using our unit trade model. Other options to deal with surplus emission allowances are employed as benchmarks to assess the Doha outcome.

The effective emissions for developed countries as a group under the Doha outcome could be 10–11 % below 1990 levels or 4–5 % points below business-as-usual levels for the second commitment period if we assume that non-Kyoto Protocol countries domestically achieve their targets. However, if mechanisms exist where non-Kyoto Protocol countries can trade units, their emissions could increase and effective emissions for developed countries could be 7–8 % below 1990 levels. In this low-ambition situation we find the main impact of the Doha surplus rules to be the introduction of the historical cap on emissions allowances.

Without the effect of the cap, the Doha outcome allows the Parties to the second commitment period to emit at business-as-usual levels until 2020, while still leaving surplus units at the end of the second commitment period.