Economic Sustainability Goes Hand-in-Hand with Environmental Sustainability
Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum, Mexico City, 18-20 October 2017
Mexico City, Mexico, 20 October 2017 – Current pledges by national governments are not enough to reach the goal set in the Paris Climate Change Agreement, but hope remains in the leading role being taken by subnational and non-state actors like cities, companies and organizations, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón told participants on the closing day of the Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum (LACCF) in Mexico City.
This shift to “new actors that in many cases go beyond national government action” represents a “new vision in a politically adverse world,” said Mr. Calderón, pointing to the pledges made by cities represented in the Covenant of Mayors as an example and the commitments expressed by local, tribal and state governments, along with businesses, in the We Are Still In network in the United States.
Countries in 2015 adopted the Paris Climate Change Agreement aimed at keeping the global average temperature rise well bellow 2oC and as close as possible to 1.5oC through concerted climate action in all sectors. Meeting the goal will take a great deal of investment and resources; thus, strong engagement by the private sector and a broad range of actors, including the most vulnerable.
Mr. Calderón called for public policy that provides incentive for emission reductions and contributes to development. Key among this is placing a price on greenhouse gas emissions. And here too, he pointed to leadership coming from subnationals, citing the US state of California’s cap and trade market which is linked to carbon markets in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario in Canada.
Making it more expense to pollute, and in doing so driving investment to renewable energy sources, is good for economies and creates jobs. Vulnerable sectors of society, the poor, can be shielded when needed through transfers of carbon revenues, said Mr. Calderón.
“Climate projects make sense. It is economically sustainable to be sustainable,” said Mr. Calderón citing new jobs in the renewable energy sector. He also called for the removal of subsidies that increase the use of fossil fuels. “We can’t use public money to subsidize pollution” but should be looking for ways to improve public transport, the efficiency of buildings and the layout of sprawling big cities, said Mr. Calderón, who is Honorary Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, President of the Sustainable Human Development Foundation and a Member of the Board of Directors of the World Resources Institute.
This is the eleventh annual LACCF and the second time the event was held back-to-back with the workshop of the Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) – LAC platform, creating the largest climate event in the region: The 2017 Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week.
Also on the closing day, participants heard from Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo, Under-secretary, Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico, who pledged that his country “will continue to make efforts to help our region deliver on our nationally determined contributions” under the Paris Agreement, a “core element” of which is its requirement for transparency and respect for human rights.
“The resounding message that I will take away from this LACCF is that we must all work together,” said Massamba Thioye, a manager in the Sustainable Development Mechanisms programme at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “The recurring message was one about collaboration and coordination of work by state and non-state actors,” he said after conveying regards from UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, who was Mexico’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs 2006–2012.
"The Forum shows that many countries in the region are moving quickly on the domestic policy front and in promoting innovative ways for a low carbon and climate resilient future,” said Miriam Hinostroza, Head of Programme, Low Carbon Development, United Nations Environment Programme DTU Partnership. “The private sector, and especially cities, are at the forefront of climate action and innovation.”
“The forum further concluded on the importance of transparency in ensuring environmental integrity and enhancing countries' abilities to plan effective and efficient climate action towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," said Ms. Hinostroza.
Events like LACCF are important venues not just for inspiring greater climate action but at which to express views that can make their way into international negotiations. Last year when they met in Morocco for the UN Climate Change Conference COP22, countries established the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action to encourage and coordinate this broad engagement.
LACCF 2017 attracted 480 participants from 38 countries. Initially held to encourage and support participation in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol, the event now covers a range of climate action and policy that can contribute to countries achieving their commitments under the Paris Agreement. A clear focus remains on carbon markets, carbon pricing, climate finance and market-based mechanisms like the CDM, which has incentivized the registration of more than 8,000 projects in 111 countries.
Quotes from other co-organizers LACCF 2017
“Developments in the Americas have been particularly prominent; of the eight new carbon pricing initiatives launched since the beginning of 2016, six came from this region. These advances benefit from increasing support from both the public and private sector. Another encouraging step in this direction is the launch just this morning of the Mexican carbon market simulation. We’re proud to back these efforts and stand ready to continue support for cooperation, capacity-building and knowledge sharing on carbon pricing,” said Stephen A. Hammer, Manager, Climate Change Group, World Bank.
“Climate change is already affecting the most vulnerable people in Latin America, and therefore there is an urgent need to implement global measures with a solid technical component. The Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum has become a great tool that helps build and coordinate each year effective actions for our region,” said Emilio Uquillas, Representative-director in Mexico for CAF -Latin American Development Bank.
“The rise of carbon pricing in Latin America is clearly sparking attention from the private sector. One message was loud and clear from this year’s LACCF programme: carbon markets and climate investment will grow steadily stronger, if we get good rules for market cooperation under the Paris Agreement,” said Dirk Forrister, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Emissions Trading Association.
LACCF 2017 was co-organized by:
Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
UNEP DTU Partnership
United Nations Development Programme
World Bank Group
CAF - Development Bank of Latin America
Inter-American Development Bank
Latin American Energy Organization
United Nations Environment Programme
International Emissions Trading Association
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David Abbass, UN Climate Change at:
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