International relations typically eclipse technical change, emissions and economics. These dimensions can be aligned to a degree when they are build into the accounting framework underlying CDM, the CDM methodologies. Based on my engineering and my ethnography experience, I seek opportunities to demonstrate this aligning. In particular by focussing on the factors that shape/constrain/enable technical change and by defining baselines and emission scenarios that bring maximum emission reduction credits to technical change.
The table below shows CDM parameter and institutional aspects for four 'technological trajectories' (the columns), prominent subjects of science studies and in the innovation literature1, that shape the environmental modernization of industrial economies. I use it to check any CDM activity in order to complete its parameters and to achieve more impact on global emissions trading.
TABLE: Pavitt's Four Technological Trajectories - Salient in Sustainability-oriented Innovation, in CDM Rules
and in CDM development support
get access to research
|consumer services||perception of
||monitoring||baselines are mostly
||efficiency standards||network access
and crucial professions
for novel approaches
|determined by||logic of discoveries,
|firm's mastery of
|pick buyers' needs,
|seamless web7 of
|effective tools for
||science shops, concensus
fora8, US: courts
||cases of public
procedures and accessibility
Tasks in methodology making that I find to be effective:
Public Comments from Thomas Grammig on UNFCCC website
Academic institutions remain largely absent from CDM methodology making, probably because of obstacles to interdisciplinarity between economists, engineers and political scientists. Lawrence Berkeley's Energy Group is the exception, their research on lighting made AMS-III.AR perhaps the most sustainability enhancing methodology. Strikingly the economics of innovation has not been used to inform CDM methodologies, another reason for the insignificant response to the calls for public input from the UNFCCC secretariat. My recent ones are
Public Comment to EB 99 (2018) on Guidelines for the Establishment of Sector-specific Standardized Baselines
Public Comment on lessons from consultations for Standardized Baselines CAR, CARB, ACR, JCM, EU-ETS, EB 88
Public Comment on standardized baselines and defaults for urban sectors with NAMAs, EB 86 - AA - A11
Public Comment on templates for inclusion of CPAs into PoA by a managing entity without DOE control
Public Comment on EB 84 and the secretariat's proposed simplification of methodology development
on simplification of reviews of requests for registration and requests for issuance
on consolidation of cogeneration methodologies, MP 67 annex 13
on AM58, MP 67 annex 12
on AM48, MP 63 annex 7
on AM14, MP 62 annex 7
on CPA and micro-scale thresholds, SSCWG 45
on AMS-II.D, SSCWG 40 annex 7
Water Supply Emission Factor
The energy intensity of water supply remains to be addressed by CDM, in particular because water is the largest field in adaptation to climate change. Anne Niederberger and I have produced a water supply emission factor tool, similar to the electricity grid tool. KfW has submitted it during SSC-WG42. EB members from Japan and Brasil opposed the EB members who wanted to instruct the secretariat to road-test it. This water supply emission factor uses a boundary with all sources and excludes supply constraints. Therefore it targets all water technologies within public water grids, similar to the electricity grid tool, crediting all water saving options. It is not an alternative to the Gold Standard Water Benefit Standard that includes supply constraints. The following PDF has an outline of the implied policy objectives, the Tool in the standard CDM methodology proposal format and the application of this tool for United Arab Emirates with 16.6 tCO2/1,000m3 (10 times EU average).
Emission Factor Public Water Grid Water NAMA
High-GWP Chemicals in Various Offsetting Standards
Climate Action Reserve, California
Public Comment on Mexico ODS Protocol
Public Comment for GIZ on US ODS Protocol
Public Comment for GIZ on Art.5 ODS Protocol (Art.5 in MP, Non-Annex I in KP)
American Carbon Registry
Public Comment on Conversion to Advanced Formulation Blowing Agents
Public Comment Reclaimed HFC Refrigerants and Advanced Refrigeration
Verified Carbon Standard
Public Comment for GIZ on GHG Emission Reduction by Destroying ODS
Japanese Joint Crediting Mechanism
Public Comment on High Efficiency Centrifugal Chiller, BD_PM001
Public Comment on Installation of Energy-efficient refrigerators
The Climate Action Reserve (CAR) has responded to my Public Comment on Mexico ODS via its Website, acknowledging the negative impact of the exclusion of polyurethane blowing agents from the baseline and CAR's readiness to use my input "if / when CAR is able to move forward and include foams":
CAR's reply to my Mexico ODS Comment
My input on Mexico ODS is the only one addressing policy issues indicating a silence about the interactions between recent funding from the Montreal Protocol, Californian offsets, Mexican cap-and-trade and future 'Framework of Various Approaches'. This silence itself is problematic. Policy-makers and industry alike gain by exploring options. High-GWP chemicals could accidentally avoid fungibility benefits, as already visible in the variation between CAR, ACR, VCS and JCM. Interferences between Montreal and Kyoto Protocols were not addressed between the respective executive bodies out of bureaucratic inertia, as analysed here Interferences and Contradictions between Montreal and Kyoto Regimes
but commercial interest could take over these interferences and use the silence to inflate certain impacts. Issues where CAR and ACR's replies only consist of "noted" can be read with this in mind.
Give us all your cheap offsets from CFC-12 and keep your expensive offsets from CFC-11
might be an undeclared or an unintended policy habit. CAR's board sees that Mexico is the first Non-annex 1 country to produce an INDC and bilateral offsetting regulations are an important part. Yet, the Mexico ODS Protocol was approved.
Among all Californian offsets, ODS destruction CRTs get higher prices than landfills, coalmines and forest CRTs, the opposite valuation than in CDM where industrial gases have negative reputation from the HFC-23 policy accident. CAR's excellent standardised offset accounting does not fit the industry context in ODS destruction, with very few companies running only custom designed installations. Landfills, coalmines and forestry, to the contrary, are better suited offset types for the Californian climate policy. Perhaps CARB compliance regulations evolve by prescribing better what ought to be standardised and what is demanded from offset project operators.
The ACR methodology for conversion to "advanced formulation" polyurethane foam blowing agents is related to DuPont (now Chemours) and it's new substance marketing. The GWP threshold for eligible blowing agents was raised from 5 to 30 during the scientific peer review but hydrocarbons remain ineligible. The scientific peer review thus detected and called the hidden agenda of this methodology but not the contractions with US government policy for the Montreal Protocol. Why does ACR assume the Montreal Protocol funded HPMPs pay for converting from HCFC-141b to hydrocarbons in all non-OECD countries in the world but the US industry cherishes hydrofluoroolefins ? The 2nd peer reviewer was so direct to refer to competitive implications to Chemours (Appendix C). Chemours' hydrofluoroolefins might conquer only the world's car Airconditioners, with the exception of Australia where the HFC-134a is being refilled with propane (Hy-chill) for many years. Most other appliances will be made with unadvanced blowing agents (in China and with the best foam blowing machinery). Winrock, NRDC, WRI, EDF worried about thinking through the Montreal Protocol in the approved methodology ? Judgement on this meth hinges on the reason for excluding hydrocarbons. Hydrofluoroolefins are eligible and hydrocarbons not, what can possibly be the justification ?
1Dosi G, 2000, Innovation, organization and economic dynamics: selected essays, London: Edward Elgar.
Pavitt K, 1984, "Sectoral Patterns of Technical Change: Towards a Taxonomy and a Theory", Research Policy, 13: 343-373.
2Bijker W, 1995, Of Bicycles, Bakelite and Bulbs. Towards a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, Cambridge: MIT Press.
3Campbell C, 2002, "The craft consumer: Culture, craft and consumption in a postmodern society", Journal of consumer culture, 5:23-42.
4Latour B, 1996, Aramis, or, The Love of Technology, Cambridge: Harvard UP.
5David P, 1997, Path dependence and the quest for historical economics: one more chorus of the ballad of QWERTY, Discussion papers in economic
and social history no.20, Oxford UP.
6Bijker W, 2002, "The Oosterschelde storm surge barrier: a test case for Dutch water technology, management and politics", Technology and Culture,
7Hughes T. "The evolution of large technological systems", In: Bijker W, Hughes T, Pinch T, editors, 1987, The social construction of technological
systems: new directions in the sociology and history of technology, Cambridge: MIT Press.
Smith M, Marx L, editors, 1994, Does technology drive history?: the dilemma of technological determinism, Cambridge: MIT Press.
8Joss S, 1998, "Danish consensus conferences as a model of participatory technology assessment", Science and public policy, 25/1: 2-22.
9Jasanoff S, 2005, Designs on nature: science and democracy in Europe and in the United States, Princeton UP.