Withdrawals From Kyoto Could Have Impact on Carbon Trading

The announcement by several countries during the UN climate change conference in South Africa in December that they would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol could hurt Cambodia and other developing countries’ nascent carbon trading market, government officials said yesterday.

Cambodia, which will re-sign the Kyoto Protocol, has five registered Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM), or carbon trading initiatives, that operate under the protocol. But with countries such as Ja­pan, Canada and Russia now pul­ling out of Kyoto, the market for carbon trades is dwindling.

“Countries removing themselves from the Kyoto Protocol make the carbon market decline,” said Sum Thy, director of the climate change department at the Ministry of En­vironment, speaking yesterday at a workshop in Phnom Penh on the fu­ture of the protocol. “This impacts [carbon credit] investors in Cambodia.”

Carbon trading allows industrialized countries to meet their emission reductions by acquiring certified reductions from activities aimed at curbing climate change in developing countries such as Cambodia.

But carbon trading has hit an all-time low, according to a study re­leased at yesterday’s meeting by the Finland Futures Research Center (FFRC), at the University of Tur­ku—an academic organization focused on the environment.

“There have been gloomy signs of record-low carbon prices…[but] there are on-going efforts to streng­then confidence around the future of compliance markets,” the FFRC report stated.

In addition to as the CDMs, Cam­bodia also has two forest-based, pilot carbon-trading schemes, or Re­duced Emissions from Deforest­ation and Degradation (REDD) projects. “We’re very satisfied with the REDD initiative,” Environment Minister Mok Mareth said on the sidelines of the meeting.

Asked whether rampant illegal logging of the country’s forests would reduce the country’s ability to sell credits from REDD and other schemes, Mr. Mareth said deforestation by loggers was a problem.

“We still have illegal logging; it’s a chronic disease,” he said.

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