December 12, 2005

Sectoral intensity targets give developing nations better incentive

Sectoral intensity targets offer a no-lose, pure incentive option, especially for developing countries, Ned Helme of the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) told the panel.

This entails developing reduction targets, expressed as pounds per unit of production, for key industrial sectors such as mining, steel, petroleum, electricity generation, cement production. Although there would be an impact on large multinational companies with operations in developing countries, such an approach would encourage private-sector investment in new technologies for these countries, Helme said.

Another advantage is that, unlike the CDM, sectoral intensity targets would take in all facilities in a particular sector, presenting an opportunity to sell emission reduction credits if a sectoral target is surpassed. This option would also provide developing countries more certainty and greater confidence in their ability to meet emission reduction targets.

Helme noted that countries such as China, India and Brazil are already taking steps toward sector-based emission reduction targets. Calculations suggest that if Annex I (i.e. developed) countries and the top ten non-Annex I countries adopted this approach, the world would be well on the way to meeting the goal of reducing GHG emissions by 60% by 2050.

The CCAP convened special session on sectoral pledges for the post-2012 period. Helme said this approach calls for voluntary commitments by major energy and industry sectors to achieve reductions in energy intensity. If the top ten largest GHG-emitting developing countries in each sector were addressed, he noted, 80 to 90% of developing country emissions would be addressed.

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