World leaders recently met in Doha, Qatar for the 18th UN climate change summit, better known as COP 18. By most accounts, COP 18 did little to bring real solutions to the problem of how to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) enough to preserve the way of life most developed countries enjoy. That doesn’t mean that some countries aren’t doing what they can to reduce their GHG emissions. Vietnam is a good example. Best known to Americans as the country where males of the baby boomer generation were sent to war, Vietnam will launch a national emissions trading scheme in 2020.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, approved a plan to establish a trading scheme for the emissions of six greenhouse gases (GHGs) including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfuorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The trading scheme is included in Vietnam’s commitment to implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The trading scheme’s target is to reduce GHG emissions in the energy and transport sectors by eight percent from 2005 levels, and a 20 percent reduction in the agriculture sector. Methane will be reduced by five percent through projects that will be implemented to absorb methane from landfills and through industrial waste water processing. Vietnam will create a market for trading carbon credits, and will join the international carbon market.
Vietnam already has experience with emissions trading as it has 164 Clean Development Mechanism projects and ranks fourth in the world for them, according to Sustainable Business.
Cap-and-trade schemes breaking out all over the region and beyond
Other Asian and Pacific region countries are establishing emissions trading schemes. Thailand aims to establish a voluntary emissions market by October 2014. India started a pilot carbon trading scheme in three states in April of this year. China, the world’s biggest emitter of GHGs, announced last month that it approved a pilot emissions trading scheme in seven provincial regions, including Beijing. China has pledged to reduce carbon emissions 40 to 45 percent per unit of GDP from 2005 levels. Australia’s Senate recently passed bills that tie its carbon pricing mechanism, which will start in 2015, to the EU trading scheme.
South Korea plans to start trials next year on a cap-and-trade scheme. Businessweek characterizes South Korea as the “fastest growing greenhouse-gas emitter among richer nations.” Trading for the South Korean scheme will start in 2015, and it will follow the EU’s emissions trading model. South Korea has pledged to reduce GHG emissions by 30 percent from 2020 forecast levels.
“We will focus on settling the new system at home in the initial phase of operations. It would be after the initial stage of operations that we would begin discussions over a linkage to other country trading systems,” Nam Kwang Hee, director general of the Presidential Committee on Green Growth, told Businessweek.
Even the U.S. is starting a trading scheme. Of course, not on the federal level with the grid lock that is now commonplace in Congress. Last month California, the most populous state, launched its emissions trading scheme through a permit sale. The program will officially start on January 1, 2013. Reuters characterizes the cap-and-trade program as the “first of its kind in the country.” The program is part of California’s efforts to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a 15 percent reduction.
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