The United Nations needs a new body to spend revenue from future sales of carbon allowances, ensuring that developing nations build sustainable economies, according to the former climate chief.
“The system isn’t really coherently organized,” said Yvo de Boer, former head at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and now climate adviser at KPMG International. The World Bank and the UN Environment Program are “not really playing roles that can very clearly be distinguished. There’s not really an organization to help countries on the energy and industry journey.”
UN envoys are meeting in Cancun, Mexico, to replace or extend the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that limits emissions of most rich nations in the five years through 2012. China wants the U.S. to sign onto a similar treaty, while U.S. envoys say China hasn’t been transparent enough in its efforts to limit greenhouse gases.
“What I’m thinking of is a body with implementation responsibilities and financial resources in the domain of sustainable development,” de Boer said in an interview after a speech at an International Emissions Trading Association conference in Cancun. “It’s the body that actually delivers assistance on green growth,” potentially using revenue generated from the sale of carbon allowances.
The UN system is now is “all about the allocation of pain -- pain in the form of emission-reduction targets, pain in the form of financial commitments,” de Boer said.
The system should be transformed into one that’s “all about the allocation of gain,” he said. Under that system, “every country of the world is part of a global trading system. Every country to varying degrees sells significant permits. The revenue is pooled at international level. That revenue, in the form of gain, is allocated to countries according to need.”
Envoys at this month’s talks probably won’t agree on the new body or system, de Boer said. “It’s probably not going to happen.” Global warming talks will “muddle on.”
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