I never really fully understood the metaphor have your cake and eat it. But from what I can tell the EU is doing a pretty good job of trying to do just that when it comes to emissions reductions.
Or actually maybe a better phrase would be have your cake and eat it, then have someone elses cake too, while that other person is also eating it…..
With the result, that there’s a lot of cake getting eaten, when we actually don’t have a lot of cake!
Is it all sounding a bit complicated?
And you’re probably thinking what’s cake got to do with it anyway!
Well let me try and show you where this cake conundrum is going.
I was trying to (though I fear very badly) explain what is starting to be a huge problem within the EU’s proposals for emission reductions.
Those in the know call it double counting.
Basically developed countries want to count the emissions reductions they make in the form of offsets in developing countries as part of their own emissions reductions.
While at the same time they are being counted as part of the developing countries emissions reductions too.
So that’s lots of people claiming to be cutting emissions when in fact there are very few emission reductions going on.
A lot of cake getting eaten, when there just isn’t that much cake.
It just doesn’t add up. If this was really cake it would be pretty obvious that once we’d eaten the cake we did not still have it for someone else to eat more of.
But that’s not even it…
Oh no, the developed countries have provided some icing for this cake too.
The developed countries also want to claim the money they use to finance these offsets for their own emissions is part of the finance we need to give to developing countries to help them adapt and mitigate.
This is not what we want to see.
Finance for developing countiries needs to come from public funds.
And EU, if your listening, our fair share is 35 billion Euros.
As well as having your cake and eating it there are a few other ways to describe double counting.
The NGOs call it creative accounting.
Others say fiddling the books.
I call it outright lying.
This proposal emerged at the last round of Bonn negotiations but the NGOs were confident of exposing it and outlawing the practice. But it would seem that it is still floating around at these negotiations in Bonn- with the EU having a lot to answer for why.
This idea needs to be outlawed now.
Emission reductions can only count once! If they are part of reductions a developing country is making we cannot pay or include them in carbon markets and then claim they are also part of our reductions.
And money generated from offsets does not count as financing for developing countries.
Double counting has no place here
We cannot have our cake and eat it!