UK negotiator: Countries must resolve the carbon market dispute to step up ambition

Diplomats will try to make progress on the last unresolved issues of the Paris Agreement in online events run by UN Climate Change next month.

By Chloé Farand

Countries have a collective responsibility to agree on common rules for a global carbon market, to drive greater climate ambition beyond 2021, according to the UK’s lead climate negotiator. 

Under the Paris Agreement, countries have agreed to create a new carbon trading system to cut emissions at lower cost. But designing a common set of rules has proved contentious in recent rounds of climate talks and remains one of the last unresolved issues of the Paris Agreement rulebook.

Australia and Brazil have continued to push for a trading system with loopholes that would allow initial double counting of emissions reductions and trading of Kyoto-era credits — red lines for many other countries.

After failing to land a compromise at the last UN climate talks in Madrid, Spain, last year, negotiators are under pressure to resolve the issue at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, UK, in November 2021.

Although no climate talks are being held this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, diplomats are hoping to drive progress on the issue during informal consultations next month as part of a UN Climate Change catch-up plan.

“There is a deal possible,” Archie Young, who leads the UK’s climate negotiating team, told Climate Home News, saying “genuine progress was made in Madrid”.

As lead negotiator for the host nation, Young has a key role in brokering a compromise. “We will do everything that we can to bring parties together to enable and facilitate those conversations using our full diplomatic network,” he said.

“But achieving that deal is not simply the responsibility of the UK as an incoming presidency. It’s the responsibility of all the parties that hold strong views on the issue to work together to understand each other’s positions, find compromises, and identify where the right resolution lies.”

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