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EU must signal greater green ambition as Doha starts

26 Nov 2012 18:03:00 | edcm

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Carbon prices were steady on the first day of the Doha climate summit, as traders have low expectations of the meeting's impact on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

On the first day of the Doha summit, the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) released an analysis showing a 'collective failure' of developed countries to follow through on financial pledges made to developing countries. Countries have previously agreed to pay $100bn (€77bn) to developing nations by 2020; but where this money will come from is still unclear (see EDCM 23 November 2012). This is one of the key challenges facing the summit, while the IIED's research highlights the challenge this poses and undermines the EU and other developed nations' credibility to meet it.

"The wealthier nations promised in 2009 to provide developing countries with $30bn by the end of 2012, and said this should be "new and additional" finance balanced between support for adaptation and mitigation activities," it said in a statement. "But so far, only $23.6bn of the $30bn promised has been committed."

The IIED called on developed nations to pay the outstanding amount before the end of the year in a bid to signal their previous pledges' sincerity and inject the international negotiations with ambition and trust.

"The poor track record of rich nations in meeting their fast start finance pledges has raised serious concerns that these countries will also renege on their bigger promise to ensure that $100bn flows to developing nations each year by 2020 to help them to respond to climate change."

The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) called on negotiating nations to create a global climate policy framework that safeguards existing emissions markets and to create new schemes to deliver sufficient incentives for the needed climate investment.

"Right now, too much private capital is sidelined, waiting for clearer policy signals from governments," the IETA said in a statement.

To create such a framework, according to the IETA, nations would need to clarify and outline how to establish the new market mechanism; provide "continuity" for and greater access to existing carbon market structures, such as the Kyoto Protocol's joint implementation (JI) or clean development mechanisms (CDMs), to expand demand for certified emission reductions (CERs) or emission reduction units (ERUs); as well as creating a CDM "reserve facility" that would raise the price of CDM-generated CERs and boost market confidence in the mechanism.

"In recent weeks, many international businesses emphasised their strong belief that carbon pricing signals, like produced daily by carbon markets, are critical for business to do its part in meeting climate goals," IETA CEO Dirk Forrister said in a statement on Monday. "IETA's issues agenda for Doha is aimed squarely at furthering that objective."

The call to strengthen the CDM was issued on the same day as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which oversees the Kyoto carbon market mechanisms, said that the CDM Board had approved its 2013-2014 management plan.

According to the UNFCCC, the plan "focuses on providing simplicity and predictability in the operation of the CDM and ensuring the integrity of CERs; ensuring the CDM makes a growing contribution to the sustainable development of all host countries; further expanding the geographic reach of the CDM; and promoting the use and safeguarding the reputation of the CDM as a mechanism for low carbon development".

A new report by environmental lobby WWF also warned that the European Commission's energy roadmap's five decarbonisation scenarios are too low to meet its carbon-reduction targets, as they fail to prioritise renewable integration and energy efficiency.

Last year, the European Commission adopted the communication energy roadmap 2050, expressing its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050.

But WWF's report shows that without further action the EU will only reach a 40% emissions cut by 2050.

"The energy roadmap only considers a relatively narrow range of decarbonisation options, all with roughly similar levels of renewable energy by 2030, and a significant residual fossil fuel liability through to 2050," the report stated. The Commission, which is expected to publish new decarbonisation scenarios in the short term, was not available for comment. MLDB/MM

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