Last week, I summarized my two (#1 and #2) posts on Kyoto compliance and withdrawal into a shorter piece on the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. One of my regular readers, who unfortunately prefers to remain in anonymity and wrap his/her sometimes insightful comments in insults and derision, points out that there are important differences in timing between the Kyoto compliance period and the period in which penalties for non-compliance would be levied.
In my Globe and Mail article, I stated that, “Canada would be given 100 days after the 2014 review of our emissions inventories to buy international credits to make up the 805 Mt shortfall…(after which time) the penalty for non-compliance implies that Canada would be responsible to make up the shortfall of 805 Mt, plus 30 per cent, in a second commitment period after 2012.” I based my statements on an authoritative source on the issue, a UNFCC clarification on, “The Compliance Procedure with respect to Canada,” which states that:
Non-compliance with emissions targets is not an issue that can come before the enforcement branch until after the end of the commitment period in 2012.
a. A country in non-compliance with its 2012 target has 100 days after the expert review of its final emissions inventory to make up any shortfall (i.e., to buy credits).
b. If such a country still misses its target, it must make up the difference, plus 30%, in the second commitment period after 2012. It is also suspended from selling emissions credits in the emissions trading mechanism and within 3 months, it must submit a plan on the action it will take to meet second commitment period target.
My anonymous reader clarifies that there are timing considerations other than the 100 day period due to delays in assessments and appeals. The timing he/she suggests is:
Canada’s 2012 GHG inventory submitted April 15, 2014.
+ Inventory expert review = 12 months = April 15, 2015
+ True up period (to buy carbon permits to cover the emissions) = 100 days = circa July 25, 2015
+Compliance assessment calculations and notification of non compliance calculation(quick)
+ 10 weeks for non-compliant party to dispute non compliance calculation = circa October 10, 2015
+ 4 weeks for enforcement branch of compliance committee to issue preliminary finding = circa November 10, 2015
+ 10 weeks for party to dispute preliminary finding = circa January 25, 2016.
+ 4 weeks for enforcement branch to issue final decision = February 25, 2016.
As such, his/her contention is that penalties for non-compliance would not be assessed before February, 2016, thus negating the gains to withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol before the end of December, 2011. This certainly provides valuable context to the decision Canada faces, but I don’t believe it changes the core factor that Canada has little or nothing to gain from remaining in the Kyoto Protocol when it has made no measurable efforts to achieve its targets, but also limited losses from remaining in Kyoto given that penalties for non-compliance involve a tightening of second period commitments which Canada has clearly indicated it will not be taking on.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. When I started this blog, I was very clear that one of the intentions was, “for me to solidify my thinking on policy issues and subject my thinking to a form of peer review from you.” That hasn’t changed.