Training Course on Emissions Trading for the Government of Panama
From 26 to 31 October 2015, Ecologic Institute conducted a 5-day training course on carbon pricing instruments – particularly emissions trading – for 20 Panamanian public officials. Senior Fellow Benjamin Görlach from Ecologic Institute led the event and was responsible for course organization and content. Together with Elizabeth Zelljadt, he taught several of the sessions and engaged expert speakers to present on specific topics relevant to the design of emissions trading systems as well as carbon pricing efforts in Latin America. Hosted by Panama's Ministry of Environment, the course was funded by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Tools of the trade
During the intensive weeklong session, the 20 participants gained an in-depth understanding of carbon pricing – particularly the design and implementation of carbon trading systems as a tool to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Participants had the opportunity to discuss various aspects of emissions trading with experienced practitioners in the carbon pricing world: Maarten Neelis of environmental consultancy EcoFys discussed scope and coverage of emissions trading systems, cap setting, and flexibility mechanisms and Eduardo Piquero of the Mexican carbon exchange and registry MexiCO2 presented the status and details of existing and emerging carbon markets in Latin America as well as Mexico’s legislative path toward a national emission trading system.
Experts involved in carbon pricing regimes of other governments also contributed via videocast:
- Jason Gray of the California Air Resources Board presented his state’s policy on crediting forest sector sequestration of carbon dioxide.
- Suzi Kerr of the New Zealand environmental research organization MOTU explained the background of New Zealand’s ETS and the experiences with inclusion of the forest sector in it and
- Sebastian Lema of the Colombian Environment Ministry presented his country’s climate change mitigation efforts as well as its membership in the Partnership for Market Readiness and status of emissions data collection and research.
Focus on forests
Due to Panama’s focus on preserving tropical rainforest and increasing reforestation efforts in the country, the course devoted an entire day to discussion of climate change mitigation in the forest sector - particularly opportunities for financing or crediting avoided deforestation and reforestation efforts in the context of emissions trading. Adding to the presentations from California and New Zealand on this issue, Leslie Durschinger and Nicole Rossell of Terra Global Capital discussed emission reduction opportunities in land use change, with a focus on the Panamanian context.
Next steps for Panama
After the training course itself, the programme featured an additional day of high-level talks among public officials evaluating carbon pricing policy options specifically for Panama – Saturday, October 31st. The discussion was led by Benjamin Görlach with Jürgen Landgrebe of the German Federal Emission Trading Authority contributing the German/European experience to his Panamanian counterparts in the Environment Ministry after having presented on monitoring, verification, and legal issues earlier in the programme. Officials assessed institutional, political and legal hurdles to carbon trading in Panama, as well as potential next steps toward carbon pricing within Panama’s long-term climate strategy.