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Report launch: Clearing the air

by PhilLee — last modified Nov 30, 2010 12:00 AM

Today Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland launch an in-depth report about the available alternatives to carbon trading in climate change mitigation and climate finance. Marco Cadena from our Cancun delegation attended the launch.

Speaking at the launch, the report's author, Sarah-Jayne Clifton, outlined the aim of the report:


The report aims to provide real solutions for the establishment of financial framework for climate change mitigation and finance, in an attempt to allow the initiation of genuine low-carbon development in both developing and developed countries. The report analyses the different sectors involved and the provided alternatives. 


Here's a summary of the key points:


A worldwide feed-in tariff in the energy sector would bring down the costs of renewable technologies to an affordable level for everyone.  In addition to the feed-in tariff, a stronger taxation on carbon and energy would trigger energy savings. 


Instead of large-scale industrial agriculture, an expansion of small-scale sustainable farming would lead to emission cuts on a broad level. This would also a tackling of the increasing global demand for large-scale agriculture with particular attention given to the meat and dairy industries

A broad global agreement on universal standards within the heavy industry sector would be the very first step in applying the best technology available worldwide. 


Actions taken in tackling emissions from deforestation and forest degradation need to be monitored and measured to address the main collective issues and to achieve a just solution across the board. This also calls for the protection of the rights of the local communities and the expansion of community forest management. 


Real solutions for climate finance 

A Taxation placed on all international transactions of leading financial institutions and corporations would provide extra income, and would have no financial effect on the general public. 


A Carbon and energy tax would generate $200bn from which climate finance could be easily funded.  The fossil-fuel subsidies are around $700bn per year, worldwide. The producer subsidies consist mostly of funding from Northern governments to fossil-fuel producing companies. The redirection of this money to climate finance would have minimal affect on the citizens in developed countries. 


Later in the evening there was a side event to discuss the report. Several representives from Friends of the Earth member groups were there to share their thoughts and take question. 


The people included Ricardo Navarro from El Salvador; Siziwe Khanyile from South Africa; Samuel Nnah Ndobe from Cameroon; Karen Orenstein from the USA; and the report's author, Sarah-Jayne Clifton from England.  


During the event delegates from developing countries were able to voice their concern regarding the efforts that are being made in pushing the World Bank's lead on handling climate finance for mitigation. 


Members of the panel outlined that previous experience has shown that the World Bank is an unreliable institution, who continue to invest in fossil-fuels which are affecting the natural environment and local communities. 


Siziwe Khanyile pointed out that the World Bank lent almost $4bn to South Africa for coal-fired power station development. Only 1% of this funding was actually spent on renewable energy projects. This example clearly shows that the World Bank lacks experience and sound judgement in promoting funding for development of a low-carbon economy. 


Samuel Nnah Ndobe highlighted the problems associated with the UN REDD programme. In his summary, he states that through the REDD scheme forests will become cheap commodities. To date UN REDD is the biggest forest protection program, however Indigenous communities and developing countries are not necessarily benefiting from it.  


Samuel added: "The debate shifted from climate change to financial mechanisms, which through carbon trading would create the possibility for the continuation of carbon-dioxide emissions and dependency on fossil-fuels." 


Sarah-Jayne Clifton gave a briefing providing a more in-depth look at carbon trading. Clifton outlines that trading with carbon emission credits is not helping to tackle climate change at all, as it provides nothing but a shelter in which industrialized countries can aviod responsibility. 


Sarah-Jayne pointed out that only developed countries benefit form the current carbon trading scheme and that there needs to be solutions implemented that are beneficial for everyone. Moreover, a market based on speculation does not provide a secure alternative to fossil-fuel dependency and it does not provide incentives to reduce emissions in developed countries. 


In conclusion, Sarah-Jayne confirmed the report provides real solutions to climate finance, that will allow both the developed and developing world to implement just and transparent solutions for the procurement of the necessary climate funds. 


Read the report: clearing the air

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