Carbon trading rules meet socialist sticking point

Progress on market rules for climate credits faces ‘a giant sticking point’ as Venezuela and others push for similar progress on ‘non-market’ tools in Bangkok

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Carbon trading is one of the most mature sections of the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement under negotiation in Bangkok this week.

There are already various markets for buying and selling emission reduction credits across borders, and governments are trying to make sure they fit with the UN framework.

But a small bloc of South American and Caribbean nations (Alba) are against the market approach and calling for equivalent progress on non-market cooperation between governments, such as sharing technology or expertise.

Draft text of the non-market deal published on Wednesday had lots of gaps, while two sections on market mechanisms were more advanced.

“We need to balance the three components,” Venezuela negotiator Isabel Di Carlo Quero told Climate Home News. “[Article] 6.8 is to give an opportunity to other countries that deem that markets are not a solution for the climate crisis.”

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She gave the Amazon Cooperation Treaty, which promotes sustainable development across the rainforest, as an example of the kind of non-market deal that might fit.

A source involved in the talks said countries were willing to accommodate the desire for non-market options but struggling to see how UN involvement would help.

“It is not a lack of interest or engagement, there doesn’t seem to be anybody with a clear idea of how to make it happen,” the source told CHN. “It could be a giant sticking point.”

The deadline for finalising the Paris Agreement rulebook is December, at the UN climate summit in Katowice. An agreed principle is that progress must be “balanced”, meaning any bloc that considers its priorities to have been ignored could try to block the package.

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