Inclusion of markets in Paris climate agreement “not the priority” -China’s head negotiator

Published 13:48 on December 5, 2015  /  Last updated at 15:05 on December 5, 2015  /  China, China's National ETS, Climate Talks, International, New Market Mechanisms  /  No Comments

Including language supporting the use of market-based mechanisms in a new global climate agreement in Paris is “not the priority”, China’s top negotiator said on Saturday.

Including language supporting the use of market-based mechanisms in a new global climate agreement in Paris is “not the priority”, China’s top negotiator said on Saturday.

His remarks add weight to observer fears that provisions for international carbon trade risk being squeezed out of the Paris text as major nations come under pressure to seal an overall deal after a week of little progress.

In a press conference, Su Wei said:

“We already have a lot of issues to resolve in the next week, but for China it’s very clear … that markets can play a very important role in terms of achieving policies and actions … We are making immense efforts trying to implement and schedule our plan [to launch a national ETS in 2017]. As to whether there’s going to be inclusion of [market-based mechanisms] in the text of the Paris agreement, we think that’s not the priority.”

China intends to use a domestic market to meet its emission targets, but as the country’s days as a major seller of UN offsets under the CDM is over, the need for an international carbon market framework is less pressing for Beijing, which instead is focusing on issues such as CBDR, climate finance and technology transfer.

“There are a lot of different views about the role of market mechanisms or whether there should be more reliance on non-market mechanisms, that’s still a sticking point in the negotiations, but I don’t think that kind of difference should be standing in the way of a successful outcome in Paris, and I’m sure that parties will find good solutions to that issue.”

On the matter of transparency regarding the efforts and actions of all countries under in a new agreement:

“It’s very clear we have a common understanding that we need to enhance the transparency under the convention and particularly in the Paris agreement. Transparency would be very important to build mutual confidence and trust, and also be very necessary to ensure the implementation of the convention as well as any agreement reached. We think we need a very important and enhanced transparency system built out of experiences and the current system that we have been implementing for years, and this is one of the key issues that need to be resolved in the Paris agreement to be adopted on Friday.”

Some negotiators have raised the prospect that, in order to make the final agreement more ratifiable by certain countries including the US, some parts of it may need to be legally binding while others not. On this issue, Su said:

“If we adopt a treaty, all the provisions starting from the preamble and until the final clause would be legally binding. We cannot just identify one sentence or provision or article is not legally binding. That’s a general of international treaty law, and there’s no doubt about that.”

By Mike Szabo – mike@carbon-pulse.com

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