31 mayo 2013

Policy makers and business leaders agree in the urgent need for climate action

Carbon markets see innovative growth in new domestic initiatives

Barcelona, May 31 - The 10th anniversary edition of Carbon Expo concluded today on a high note after three days of presentations and conversations on the current state of the carbon market and outlook for the future. With over 2,200 visitors from 110 countries, the Expo is one of few opportunities for national government officials from both developed and emerging economies to meet with representatives of the private sector, civil society and the media to discuss policy issues and talk business in an informal setting.

The need for action remains on the top of the agenda, as emphasized by the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete, in his opening remarks.

"We need to act, and we need to act now. We must raise our level of ambition before 2020 and those of us who have responsibilities in this matter cannot stop putting every possible effort in mobilising both the public and private sectors," said Mr. Cañete.

Despite a troubled carbon market, participants expressed a strong belief in a market-based approach to emissions mitigation, and an understanding of the need for market innovation and adaptation.

"I am pleased to continue to see a large number of serious participants attending Carbon Expo this year. Those I have spoken with are looking towards the future and building new business models, undeterred by challenges in the market today," said Joëlle Chassard, Manager of the World Bank´s Carbon Finance Unit.

However, while global climate negotiations are going in the right direction, they are not going fast enough, as expressed by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. In fact, the main positive developments today are seen in domestic carbon initiatives appearing worldwide. Ms. Figueres emphasized the importance of these new approaches in her opening remarks on Wednesday. She compared the original carbon market, launched over a decade ago, to a tree.  

"Carbon enthusiasts - myself included - have an unfortunate tendency to stand over this tree that is growing and insist that the growth has to come from the trunk," Ms. Figueres said. "But the fact is that we need to realize that growth is not coming from the trunk now, it's actually coming from an extraordinary number of offshoots that are springing up everywhere."

This sentiment was echoed in the World Bank report Mapping Carbon Pricing Initiatives, released at a press conference on the first day, which describes domestic carbon initiatives around the world that put a price on carbon - either through cap and trade schemes or carbon taxes. Over 40 national and 20 sub-national jurisdictions (as varied as Kazakhstan, China, South Africa and Australia) have either been implemented or are considering pricing mechanisms. The report also describes the linking that is taking place between markets, such as between the EU ETS and Australia, and California and Quebec. While the European trading scheme faces challenges, the general feeling at Carbon Expo this year was one of optimism that national initiatives will energize the carbon market. As stated by Dirk Forrister, President and CEO of IETA:

"Domestic markets are the ones that people are really paying attention to, that are going to affect price formation, that are going to create the supply-demand dynamics, and that may create connections through linkages."

IETA also launched its report on the sentiment of the carbon market, GHG Market Sentiment Survey 2013, describing the results of interviews with market actors. 96% of those surveyed support structural reforms of the EU ETS, and 39% feel that ambitious targets must be set by the EU before 2015 to meet climate goals.

Finally, in commemoration of their roles in founding Carbon Expo ten years ago, Ken Newcombe and Andrei Marcu were presented with gifts by IETA and the World Bank.

"Carbon Expo has become the social network hub of the carbon market, just in time to play that role for all of climate finance as the challenge of climate-proofing growth escalates," said Mr. Newcombe, CEO of C-Quest.

The next Carbon Expo will take place in Cologne on May 28 ¿ 30, 2014.

Press contact of The World Bank:
Isabel Hagbrink

Press contact of IETA
Cedric Ammann

Press contact of Fira Barcelona:
Marta Juvell / Adam Sedó
mjuvell@firabarcelona.com  / asedo@firabarcelona.com mailto:flecha@firabcn.es