Media Climate

February 09, 2014

World Bank move to boost carbon pricing

tgf6dg8z-1374734815The World Bank Group, businesses groups, and investors have called on governments and corporations to support carbon pricing to cut green house gas (GHG) emissions and reduce the worsening impacts of climate change. The group has been organizing a statement on carbon pricing and has consulted partner countries, governments, and business associations including the World Economic Forum, UN Global Compact, the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), CDP, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). More than 250 companies have also joined the statement with the private sector becoming increasingly vocal in its support for carbon pricing. Google, Walmart, and Shell, are among the corporations that have already implemented “shadow price” on GHG emissions to avoid risks and develop opportunities that can increase energy and resource efficiency, reduce emissions, and deliver a competitive edge. The energy giant GDF Suez joined the statement and sees carbon pricing as a cost-effective way of addressing climate change while letting businesses choose how they lower their emissions. The company’s statement in support of the initiative said: “We at GDF Suez support carbon pricing because we believe there is a need to address risks linked to climate change, and we support action to address emissions reductions cost effectively. We are in favor of market-based approaches and emissions trading which allow business the flexibility to reduce when and where it makes the most business sense.” Software company Microsoft, which already uses shadow carbon pricing, has described similar benefits from its internal carbon fee model. In a recent report Microsoft said: “We’ve found over time that the more we can integrate sustainability goals across the business, the better position we are in to respond to changing economic, social and environmental conditions. Our carbon fee model supports a culture of innovation and efficiency.” Organisations are pledging their support by sending authorized emails to the World Bank Group with the names of confirmed supporters being added to the groups website and related communications. Supporters will be featured at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in New York in September and are welcome to send quotes describing their efforts to advance and implement carbon pricing. Rachel Kyte, the World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, addressed delegates at an environmental conference in Pori, Finland last month to promote the groups stance and cited Australia’s scrapping of their carbon tax as a dangerous move. Australia scrapped its flagship climate change policy, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott citing high energy costs. The decision means the Australia has no official plan in place to achieve its target of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5-25 per cent on 2005 levels by 2020. Kyte said: “The question I would ask if I was Australian was would I want to be in the Pacific when every one of my trading partners is on track to have an emissions trading scheme or an economy that prices carbon in within the next 2-3 years?” Countries are currently negotiating the text for a legally binding global climate change agreement, due to be signed at the UNFCCC COP21 summit in Paris in December 2015.