Paris Summit 2015 – Each country’s pledge

Carbon Brief has been following each country’s pledge towards the Paris 2015 summit. Here on this post you will find more details on how each country pledged in the upcoming summit. While for some countries, the pledges seem a big task however it will be interesting to see if they manage to achieve the target.

For instance, Mexico – the first developing country to come forward – includes a section on adaptation, while the EU is silent on the topic. Switzerland’s pledge of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions looks high compared to the EU’s “at least 40%”, until you realise they plan to use international carbon credits where the EU will make all reductions on home soil.

These pledges are also known as “intended nationally determined contributions”, or INDCs. You can find more details of each country’s INPC on UNFCCC. If the INDCs fall short – as they are widely expected to do – there is no official mechanism in place to ratchet them up before Paris. This is where they will be incorporated into the agreement, and likely take on some element of legal force.

I have my skepticism too but let’s wait for this event to happen!

Source: Carbon Brief

What is emissions trading and what is it good for? Part 2 of 2

Instruments that have the power to reduce pollution emissions are one of the topics we study in our course, and looking closer on certain issues it can get sometimes more technical to understand problems better.

Emission trading was first developed as an economic theory to internalize damaging externalities like pollution, which means that negative effects on the welfare of another entity have to be considered if we want to achieve a specific goal at least-cost. The creation of a cap-and-trade market based framework is able to resolve this kind of problems. The cap is a limit on emissions that can not be exceeded; usually policy makers  decide it on an arbitrary level and it gets lowered over time. The “trade” part of this system is the market, where a price gets associated to a ton of pollutants. But there is only a limited number of certificates available on the market, and according to market dynamics regulate itself to reach a certain pricing level that can be cost efficient in some specific circumstances.

As I mentioned in the first part, there are some other instruments that can handle pollution reduction problems like carbon taxes or command and control incentives (I will report about those two in the near future). The main advantage of emission trading is that it can handle a lot of problems that the other two can not.

Of course this is just a very basic overview of what emission trading is about, but in the case you want to learn more about this kind of approach you should definitely consider to read through some more detailed lecture.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility about?

Today we started a new class that is mostly about Corporate Social Responsibility. If you never heard about it, don’t worry you don’t have to check it on Wikipedia, just continue reading!

Corporate Social Responsibility, or short CSR is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. That means that firms try to use a business model where the responsibility of corporate actions consider also impacts on the environment, stakeholders, consumers, employees, investors, communities ecc.

Nowadays nearly all big companies publish some kind of CSR report: some try to do it in a very cool and hip way like CocaCola (http://www.lanostraricetta.com/) while others are a bit more traditional, but they should have all something in comon,  which is the basis on how they are created.

During our lession our Professor showed us this amazing video that explains in a very attractive way what CRS is about, so if you are interested in this matter you should definitely check it out!

As CSR is a quite big deal in our course, we will definitely keep you udated on the topic!

Written by: Max Unterthiner