Coalition calls for worldwide carbon price to avert climate crisis

A group of 200 organisations including national governments and global businesses has echoed calls for an international carbon pricing system to put the world on the path to meet a 2C climate change target.

Putting a price on carbon pollution is one of “the most potent and efficient strategies” being used to reduce carbon emissions, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) has said. Supported by the likes of the World Bank, BT, Coca-Cola and the UK Government, the public-private alliance calls for businesses and governments to work together to harness the full potential of carbon pricing.

“Climate change has been a growing crisis for decades, and we’re running out of time,” World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim said. “We need to rethink how to bring the private and public sectors together to move immediately on both mitigation and adaptation. This coordination will allow us to have the largest possible impact now, and stimulate the market to generate more investment in things like sustainable energy in the future.

“One effective tool to combat climate change is carbon pricing, which translates carbon pollution into a price that businesses, governments, and consumers can factor into their investment decisions. Carbon pricing provides the most stable and predictable path for transitioning countries’ economies toward lower-carbon output.”

The CPLC highlights encouraging global action: more than 60 governments and 1,200 businesses are now pricing carbon emissions. But current price levels and coverage are “not nearly enough” to help achieve the Paris Agreement objectives, the group claims.

The CPLC aims to expand carbon pricing to cover 25% of global emissions by 2020 – double the current level – and 50% within the next decade. To achieve this goal, the coalition puts forward suggestions to encourage private sector action. Businesses should look to engagement internal stakeholders on the benefits of carbon pricing, the group said, and engage with industry peers to bring new voices to the table.

Success stories

Seven of the world’s 10 largest economies, including Britain, have introduced a price on carbon. And in a major step for the process, China announced that it will launch a national Emissions Trading System (ETS) in 2017, covering power generation and several key industrial sectors, making it the largest carbon pricing initiative in the world.

In a recent interview with edie, Norway’s Climate and Environment Secretary explained how his country aims to support its carbon-neutrality drive by offsetting emissions through the EU ETS, the single largest international carbon pricing instrument.

The business sector has also taken up a leadership role on the issue in recent times. Consumer food multinational Unilever, for instance, implemented an internal price on carbon last year of €30/tonne for significant capital expenditure projects. And waste management firm Veolia will look to use an internal carbon price a lever to prepare the implementation of the Paris Agreement in the countries where the firm operates.

“I hope that by sharing these success stories, we can inspire others to discover their own solutions and move with the speed and scale we need to finally address climate change,” Kim said.

George Ogleby

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