The EU and the World Bank are worrying about Least Developed Countries in the context of CDM and carbon markets.
Least developed countries (LDCs) have an interesting distribution of emissions and population, based on 2005 data from Wikipedia. I have considered 45 countries for which there are emissions data out of 48.
The total GHG emissions of the 45 are: 1.8 billion tonnes (cf 5.3 billion for the EU). Of these 45, 7 countries have emissions per head of more than 5 tonnes, totalling 735 million tonnes. The remaining 38 countries have average emissions of 1.6 tonnes per head, totalling 1,083 million tonnes.
The group of seven includes Angola, Burma, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Zambia. It is a rum bunch. Angola and the Central African Republic are countries in utterly desperate circumstances. Burma and Equatorial Guinea are dictatorships. The Solomon Islands are tiny. These countries are not likely to attract meaningful CDM investment. Perhaps Cambodia and Zambia will.
The remaining countries, with average emissions of 1.6 tonnes a head, are just where we all need to be by 2050 or thereabouts.
Because of this I don’t understand the relevance of LDCs to international emissions policy, despite it being considered important by the World Bank and the EU.
The problem of LDCs is not primarily a problem of emissions. To the extent that it is – because of deforestation – CDM won’t help as long as REDD credits can’t be used in the EU ETS. Apart from deforestation, the real issue is nothing to do with CO2. The real issue is that the people in these countries are very poor and beset by tragedy, disease, hunger, thirst and violence. Isn’t it odd to be bothering these people with carbon markets and flexible mechanisms? They can’t eat CERs, especially at 8 Euros.
If we want to get anywhere, we should be focussing resources and expertise on cutting emissions in the rapidly-getting-poorer world (formerly known as the rich world), China and India.