Developing Partnerships Can Help Meet Garnaut's 2050 Target: Modelling Is Showing That Smart Climate Mitigation in Australia and Carbon Credits for Project Partnerships with Developing Countries under the UN Clean Development Mechanism Could Help Get Australia to Net Greenhouse Emissions Neutrality by 20.50. Mike Smith and Karlson Hargroves Provide a Second Instalment on the Opportunities for Australia in Working with Developing Nations

Article excerpt

After the recent UN Framework Convention on Climate Change summit in Bali, there is now great interest in how OECD countries, such as Australia, can assist developing countries to reduce their emissions significantly.

Now that Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the Australian Government and businesses (1) can qualify for involvement in developing-country projects under what is called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)--a scheme run by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to stimulate both improved and environmentally effective initiatives in developing nations through the provision of internationally tradeable carbon credits.

Modelling by CSIRO and research partners (2) commissioned by the Climate Institute shows that through smart approaches to climate change mitigation in Australia (3) and utilising the CDM, Australia can achieve net climate neutrality by 2050, while maintaining strong economic growth. This is a highly topical result as it suggests meeting or even exceeding the 90 per cent by 2050 emissions reduction target, recommended by the Garnaut Review's recent Interim Report, (4) is technically feasible.

CDM credits offer Australia another flexible way to help meet interim 2020 greenhouse reduction targets cost effectively--through sponsoring very economical energy efficiency aid projects similar to those previously discussed (see p. 16, Ecos issue 141). CoolNRG, (5) an Australian NGO, is already initiating projects to increase the uptake of millions of compact fluorescent light globes in Mexico and China. These projects are being funded by Clean Development Mechanism credits.

A recent 2007 study by McKinsey & Company has found that, through investing in energy efficiency, global emissions could be reduced by 20 per cent by 2020 without harming economic growth. (6) Australia has expertise in all areas of energy efficiency opportunity to offer, and it has begun to deploy it.

Improving the conversion efficiency of coal-fired power stations in developing countries, for example, would count for CDM credits. In early March, CSIRO announced that it had commenced a clean coal expertise partnership to assist China to equip its many coal power stations with anti-greenhouse technology.

Beginning at home

Australia could lead by example through adopting means to cut its own domestic emissions, as we have suggested in earlier articles. (7) Our government could also help bring about rapid change globally in energy efficiency by setting higher energy performance standards here for common everyday household appliances and banning energy inefficient products.


When the previous federal government announced that it would phase out inefficient lighting by 2012, the European Union, California and even the Philippines rapidly followed suit. This is having a significant flow-on effect by driving a change among global manufacturers in China, Europe and North America to focus on more energy efficient lighting products.

The same concept could be applied tactically to other appropriate household, office, catering/hospitality and industry appliances or equipment.

Potential deforestation CDM projects

Australia is also well placed to make a difference by creating a model of how OECD countries can work with developing countries to reduce deforestation significantly. The Stern Review states: 'A study commissioned for the Review looking at eight countries responsible for 70 per cent of emissions from deforestation found that ... emission savings from avoided deforestation could yield reductions in C[O.sub.2] emissions for under $5/ tC[O.sub.2], and possibly for as little as $1/tC[O.sub.2]. (8)

Deforestation accounts for 18 per cent of global emissions, so it is likely that under the developing Post-Kyoto Framework, compensation schemes to stop large-scale deforestation will count for CDM credits. …