COP21: Carbon pricing text agreed in climate deal

9th December 2015


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  • Mitigation ,
  • Carbon Trading ,
  • Politics & Economics ,
  • Global

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IEMA

Agreement has been reached on the market mechanisms such as carbon pricing to be included in the deal on climate change being negotiated in Paris.

A small group of ministers led by Canada and the Democratic Republic of Congo met on Tuesday to focus on the issue. The proposed text includes provisions to link national emissions trading schemes and rules to account for the transfer of international emissions reduction units.

The proposals had been set out in a letter to UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres from the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) in October. IETA's director of international policy Jeff Swartz said: "The leadership shown here, particularly by the EU and Brazil, which worked together on the proposed text, is a positive step for the wider negotiations."

IETA stressed that the text is not a done deal and negotiations are ongoing.

Campaign groups spent yesterday pushing to get remaining issues into the draft climate deal as negotiations enter the final days. Over the past two days, negotiations have been mainly going on behind closed doors. There are eight groups looking at particular topics, including adaptation, forests and finance.

An international business group is calling for business to be specifically mentioned in the text of a deal. The Major Economies Business Forum on energy security and climate change, which comprises business groups from across the globe, including the US and Europe, is pushing for a climate agreement that recognises the role of the business community in tackling climate change.

Norine Kennedy, vice president of environment, energy and strategic international engagement at the US Council for International Business, said: "We're not looking for paragraphs and paragraphs but we want recognition that business is part of the solution."

There were references to business in previous versions of the draft agreement. However, the current draft does not specifically mention business anywhere, other than an implicit mention of private finance, she said: "It's not clear to us now how all the business initiatives are going to be mainstreamed. How do we keep the momentum going after Paris from non-state actors, whether it's cities, regions, other NGOs or business?"

Business involvement at COP21 was unprecedented and far higher than in any previous UNFCCC meetings and actions to tackle climate change would continue regardless, Kennedy said. However, this is the "tip of the iceberg" compared to what could be achieved if the working relationship with the business community was recognised by the UNFCCC, she added.

"We're not looking to negotiate, we understand very well that this is an inter-governmental process, we certainly see a tremendous benefit being able to inform the process, giving them access to technical expertise," she said.

A group of NGOs under the umbrella group Climate Action Network (CAN) is calling for the first review of national carbon emission reduction pledges to happen before 2020. The idea for regular reviews of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) is generally accepted, but there is disagreement over the detail, such as how often reviews would happen and when they would start.

The current draft text identifies 2024 as the starting point for reviews. But the NGOs argue that this would make it impossible for global temperature rises to stay within 2°C, let alone 1.5°C, for which there is growing political momentum at the COP after pleas from countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Many countries have signalled that they are open to including a goal for a 1.5°C aim in the text, including the US and the EU. Celine Charveriat, director of advocacy and campaigns at Oxfam, said: "Finally there is recognition that 1.5°C is the safe threshold for the world's poorest and most vulnerable. But this 1.5°C goal cannot be an empty shell. We cannot have a Paris outcome that does not have a pathway to reach that."

Saudi Arabia is actively opposing the 1.5°C goal, according to Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN. The kingdom is scared of the widespread growth of renewable energy, while its economy is still dependent on fossil fuels, he claimed.

A new text is due for publication at 1pm. Click here to see the draft text and other UNFCCC documents.


IEMA has been running a campaign in the run up to the talks #IEMANoCOPOut, including webinars on key issues. Click here to watch a webinar by Chris Large (partner at Global Action Plan) and Rebecca Vowles (Interserve Support Services - head of sustainability communities) on behaviour change.

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