Climate Finance Can’t Afford Carbon Markets

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Ben Lilliston
Communications Director
(612) 870-3416
blilliston@iatp.org

Climate Finance Can’t Afford Carbon Markets

Influence of market speculators too risky for the future of the planet

TIANJIN, China - A high-level advisory group to the
United Nations will outline its draft proposals this week for financing efforts
to combat global climate change. Carbon emissions markets are expected to be
central in their recommendations. But carbon market prices would likely be too
volatile to provide a reliable source of finance, and other options should be
considered, according to a new analysis released today by the U.S.-based
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

The United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory
Group on Climate Finance (AGF) will present key elements of a draft report on
October 7 at the U.N. global climate talks in Tianjin. The AGF will present a
final report in Cancun, Mexico at the next Conference of the Parties (COP 16) meeting
in early December.

The IATP paper, “Trusting in Dark
(Carbon) Markets
” by Steve Suppan, warns that carbon markets are
vulnerable to excessive speculation by big financial firms. Those same firms
wreaked havoc on agriculture markets in 2007-08, contributing to a sharp rise
in global food prices and an increase in global hunger.

“The big financial players are lobbying governments to scale
up the trading of carbon,” said Suppan. “But there is no independent evidence
to show that carbon market price signals spur industry to make long-term
investments in greenhouse gas–reducing technology. These big players are also
lobbying for regulatory exemptions that would promote the carbon price
volatility that delays or even drives away these investments.”

IATP President Jim Harkness and Senior Program Officer
Shefali Sharma are in Tianjin to monitor the U.N. climate negotiations. IATP is
co-hosting an October 5 side event in Tianjin on climate finance proposals.

“Agriculture, particularly in developing countries, is the
sector most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and badly needs
transparent and predictable climate finance,” said Harkness. “A transition
toward more sustainable practices will make agriculture, and livelihoods
dependent on it, more resilient to climate change, reduce greenhouse gas
emissions and strengthen global food security. We need to consider alternative
climate finance proposals to make this happen.”

IATP has authored a series of papers on climate change,
including “Speculating on Carbon,” “The New Climate Debt” and “Climate and
Agriculture,” among others. For more, go to IATP’s climate and agriculture
website: www.iatp.org/climate.

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The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.

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