EC sets out post-Kyoto plans ahead of UN climate conference

28 January 2009 12:39  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS news)--The European Commission has unveiled proposals for a post-Kyoto international agreement on tackling climate change, which is due to be agreed at a UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December, according to the EU executive body on Wednesday.

The Commission suggested creating a carbon emissions cap-and-trade system by 2015, which would include all 30 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by linking the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) with other similar systems.

“The market should be expanded to include major emerging economies by 2020 with a view to building a global carbon market,” said the Commission.

The EU executive body also advised that the Kyoto protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – which allows industrialised countries to invest in emissions-reducing projects in developing countries rather than cut domestic emissions – be reformed.

“For advanced developing countries and highly competitive economic sectors, the CDM should be gradually replaced by a sectoral crediting mechanism and cap-and-trade systems,” said the Commission.

It also called for “innovative international funding sources based on countries' emissions and ability to pay”.

The Commission said that significant emissions reductions could cause “global net additional investment…to rise to around €175bn per year in 2020”, with more that half of this needed in developing countries.

“EU member states could use part of their future revenues from auctioning [the purchase of emissions allowances under the ETS] to support developing countries,” said the Commission.

“Tackling the causes and impacts of climate change will require significant private and public investment…though these investments will cost far less than letting climate change continue its destructive course,” said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

The Commission also said that the Copenhagen agreement should provide a framework to help countries adapt to inevitable climate change.

Conservation organisation the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said the proposals contained “some rhetoric in the right direction” but asked the EU to “put forward more concrete commitments and accept a larger role in helping developing nations reduce their emissions and adapt to climate impacts”.

“Europe needs to stop anticipating what the rest of the world might do and concentrate on what Europe should do if it wants to reclaim the reputation of leading in the fight against climate change,” said WWF’s Kim Carstensen.

Carstensen called for “existing and proposed emissions trading initiatives to be supplemented by measures such as emissions performance standards for Europe's power stations".

The UN conference will aim to agree a plan to limit global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures.

EU ministers are expected to respond to the Commission's proposals during the EU summit in March.

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By: Philippa Jones
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