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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Stresses the Role of Markets in Mitigation

Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary30 May 2012: Speaking at the Carbon Expo 2012 in Cologne, Germany, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres underlined that "there is no other option" but to move towards a low-carbon economy. Noting her frustration with the slow pace of the intergovernmental negotiations on climate change, she called on industry to step up its engagement in the international, negotiated response to climate change, in order to speed up the transition to a low-carbon society. 

Addressing this annual international trade fair and conference for emissions trading, carbon abatement solutions and clean technologies, Figueres said carbon markets are going through a “new era of creativity.” She acknowledged that “the only way to optimize the global investment in mitigation is via the markets,” underscoring signs of emerging market schemes. While welcoming the continuation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), she emphasized that it will not be the exclusive market mechanism.

Figueres provided on overview of recent developments in the climate negotiations regarding mitigation. She stressed that parties at the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, agreed to work on modalities and procedures for a new market mechanism. She indicated that at the May Bonn session, a call for submissions on the new market mechanism was agreed and encouraged the sector to engage actively by submitting suggestions. Figueres further highlighted calls in Bonn for robust standards for markets to enable the delivery of real, permanent, additional and verifiable emission reductions. Cautioning against potential fragmentation of market mechanisms and emissions trading systems, she stressed the need for ensuring linkages among markets providing for liquidity and fungibility.

Figueres further urged industry leaders to step up their involvement in fighting against climate change, noting it plays a critical role in both helping to provide the necessary resources and in creating the international response. She encouraged them to call on governments for more national policy action and to explore opportunities to transform their activities in the market in a “push for governments to take more ambitious political decisions.” [UNFCCC Press Release] [UNFCCC Executive Secretary Statement]