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Kyoto to Copenhagen – Opportunities and Constraints for Developing Countries
ties the hands of the country’s leaders. It is obligated to verify the price of carbon credits falls, maintaining forests for their carbon
sustainability of the forest and the carbon stored in it while foregoing sequestration value may turn out to have lower rates of return than
other values that it might realise from alternative uses. Even if the other investments. It is impossible to forecast the magnitude of
set-aside land can attract environmental tourists, the future use of the these costs. Leaders of countries seek autonomy and approach the
land is still restricted. sacrifice of self-determination to global markets with trepidation.
Furthermore, there are costs associated with attracting foreign Towards Copenhagen
capital using joint implementation projects. The capital must be All things considered, for the majority of the developing nations that
maintained. Either the recipient nation must commit the resources have signed and ratified the Protocol, the benefits of signing have
necessary to keep the capital up to specifications or it must allow the greater perceived value than the costs. As the Copenhagen round of
donor nation periodic access to the capital. This may create problems talks approaches, negotiators would be wise to consider ways to
for recipient nations in terms of national sovereignty. further encourage participation of developing countries. Efforts to ease
the transfer of removal units and ERCs will increase the benefits
Finally, in principle, free trade is beneficial for a nation. However, available to participating nations. Efforts that reduce the burden of
once a nation commits to trade it exposes its markets to the signing onto any future agreement, such as ensuring long-term returns
fluctuations of international forces beyond its control. From time to from investing in carbon sinks and other mitigation projects, will
time, these forces may wreak havoc on the nation’s economy. A further increase the attractiveness of participation. In short, by
country that relies on vast tracts of land to produce removal units or considering both the costs and the benefits at the next round of talks
enters joint implementation projects may find itself locked into in Copenhagen, negotiators can construct a treaty that is more
investments that cease to provide much compensation. If the world attractive than the one that emerged from Kyoto. n
1. In fact, the treaty came into effect on 16 January 2005 with potential fossil fuel emissions. See the Intergovernmental Panel implementation projects and Emission Reduction Units.
140 countries ratifying the treaty. With Russia’s ratification of on Climate Change Third Assessment Report, 2009. Available 5. Economist Simon Kuznets hypothesised that as an economy
the treaty, the 140 signatory countries represented the required at: www.grida.no/publications/other/ develops, income inequality increases until income reaches
55% of global emissions to make the treaty binding. Currently, ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg3/005.htm some critical point at which a nation’s taste for equality
184 nations have committed to the treaty. Recently, the US 3. See United Nations Framework Convention of Climate overcomes its taste for growth. Equality then starts to increase.
and China have signalled commitments to reduce emissions Change, Emissions Trading for a more complete definition of While empirical evidence for an Environmental Kuznets Curve is
and are expected to participate in the Copenhagen talks. Removal Units, 2009. Available at: unfccc.int/kyoto_ mixed, it remains a useful metaphor for development choices.
2. Current estimates suggest the Earth’s forests have the potential protocol/mechanisms/emissions_trading/items/2731.php 6. Gray CW, Reforming Legal Systems in Developing and
to sequester 107 tonnes of carbon, or roughly 10–20% of 4. See Ibid. for a more complete definition of joint Transition Countries, Finance Dev, 1997;34:14–16.
World Leaders in
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