(Updates with Hollande comments)
Nineteen governments and nearly 90 businesses on Monday launched a global body intended to strengthen and expand carbon pricing across the globe.
Although it was first announced in October, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition was officially launched on the opening day of UN climate negotiation in Paris by heads of state including France’s Francois Hollande, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto, and Chile’s Michelle Bachelet.
The partnership’s members include governments such as Mexico, Germany, France, Chile and California, nearly 90 global businesses and NGOs including WWF and EDF.
“The goal is to gradually set a sufficiently high carbon price around the world to encourage better behaviour … Let’s be very clear, the idea is not to impose it on everyone. It’s not one size fits all. But what we want to promote is the setting or development of instruments that will little-by-little modify the behaviour of the economic players,” said Hollande.
“This is not exactly in the mandate of the UN framework, but it’s also not an issue that we can do away with … This whole trend towards carbon pricing could not be avoided and must be co-ordinated,” he added, pointing out that this was necessary to alleviate competitiveness concerns for companies in global markets.
“By 2020, most of the G20 might be able to have carbon pricing in place … It’s very important to build up our coalition, as there will be nothing worse than having a huge discrepancy between carbon pricing here and there,” Hollande said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed, adding: “Right now, locally at least we are in a testing phase, but we need to adopt a global approach.”
Ethiopia also joined the coalition, helping to represent Africa.
“Markets should not adversely affect the flow of trade to countries like mine … The issue of fairness should be embodied in these discussions, [and] business should not be allowed to take carbon pricing as permission to continue to pollute with impunity,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Hollande said the world also needs to challenge the idea of fossil fuel subsidies, highlighting the contradiction between putting a price on carbon while continuing to financially support the industry.
The coalition is due to meet next April in Washington DC at the World Bank’s spring meeting.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org