Carbon Market Framework Needed to Preserve Investment, CEPS Says

United Nations climate envoys must start coordinating data on how carbon markets cut greenhouse gases, or risk undermining investment in clean technologies, according to the Centre for European Policy Studies.

Talks on linking carbon markets and emission-reduction programs from China to California and Quebec will continue in May after UN envoys failed to agree on a so-called framework for various approaches in Warsaw last month, according to Andrei Marcu, head of CEPS’s carbon market forum in Brussels. Marcu helped advise the Polish presidency at the UN negotiations.

The biggest nations by population including India, the U.S. and Brazil are considering markets to help protect the climate, according to the Partnership for Market Readiness. The climate deal adopted Nov. 23 in the Polish capital set out steps toward the next agreement on reducing emissions blamed for increasing the Earth’s temperature. Envoys aim to adopt the package in 2015 and bring it into force from 2020, replacing the Kyoto Protocol.

“Some developing countries don’t trust markets, period,” Marcu said. “Others understand they are a very critical part of the 2015 agreement, but don’t want to prejudge that deal.”

Developed nations’ focus on promoting carbon markets around the world is “unbalanced,” Jiko Fatafehi Luveni, a Fijian delegate representing the Group of 77 developing nations and China, told delegates at the Warsaw conference on Nov. 19. Those countries should instead tighten their own emissions-reduction targets, she said.

China Exchanges

Beijing opened last month the third of seven carbon exchanges planned in China, which the government has said are a precursor to a national trading system as soon as 2016. China joined India at this month’s climate talks in Warsaw in resisting longer-term commitments until the U.S. and Europe agree to a heavier burden.

“There’s momentum behind markets” from nations including China and states such as California, though it’s too early to say whether envoys will agree a framework, David Abbass, a spokesman for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, said by phone yesterday.

Having a framework doesn’t require nations to put markets in place if they don’t want to, Marcu said. “It’s about protocols for integrating them” should they wish to.

A framework should first get information from countries to build the accounting system that will be developed, he said. It won’t set accounting rules and can be adjusted according to the progress of negotiations for the 2020 deal, Marcu said.

“Although a single global pricing architecture would always be preferable, politically that isn’t a current reality,” David Hone, climate adviser to Royal Dutch Shell Plc in London, said in an International Emissions Trading Association report last month. “Nevertheless, that shouldn’t be cause to lose sight of the goal of global carbon pricing, particularly given that without it the emissions issue is unlikely to be resolved.”

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