Global News: Climate Fund Will Miss Deadline, Japan CO2 Scheme, Australia Carbon Tax

International delegates are likely to miss a March 2011 deadline for creating a transitional committee to design a climate-aid fund for developing nations.

Reuters reported that groups of Asian and Latin American and Caribbean countries have yet to select delegates for the committee, which is scheduled to meet for the first time in Mexico City on March 14 and 15. 

The committees task is to begin designing the structure and operation of a fund, which is expected to reach $100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing nations in mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

Agreement on the fund was one of the only major accomplishments of the annual climate change conference held in December 2010 in Mexico City. 

The committee is to have 40 seats. Europe and Africa reportedly have chosen their delegates. But the Asian group said it will be unable to pick before April, and the Latin American and Caribbean group said its unlikely to be ready by mid-March.

Japan Wants New Carbon Offset Scheme

Japan is proposing a new carbon offset scheme to be developed globally that would work alongside the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which has been criticized for being too slow and complex.

Japan is already moving forward with bilateral deals to invest in clean energy projects in developing countries in exchange for credits to meet its domestic targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The US has suggested a similar plan.

According to Reuters, many developing countries support Japan’s proposal, which bypasses the complexity of developing CDM-approved projects. But there is concern that not all countries will have the same access to bilateral agreements. 

If Japan’s idea is adopted globally, it will be a third mechanism for the international exchange of carbon credits–adding to the CDM and Europe’s established carbon market. Japan said it is in the process of determining how bilateral agreements could be tied in to the existing carbon market systems. 

Christiana Figueres, the head of the U.N. climate change secretariat, said, "I’m not going to say it’s impossible but I think it’s very complicated to do that."

Australian Climate Plan Revives ‘Carbon Tax’ Idea

Australia’s Labor-led government is moving ahead with plans to price carbon emissions into the economy through a carbon tax, and is being hammered for it by opponents.

Australia is one of the highest greenhouse gas emitters in the world and relies on coal for 80% of electricity. The country is the largest coal exporter in the world. 

"We cannot be stranded with a high-pollution economy as the world changes," said Prime Minister Gillard. Putting a price on carbon is "the cheapest, fairest way to cut pollution and build a clean energy economy," said a spokespersn from the prime minister’s office.

Many economists see a carbon tax as the most efficient way to  incentivize polluters to shift to clean energy sources and replace outdated technology. It’s a non-starter in the US and other democratic countries for political reasons, but that could change if a major country like Australia embraces it.

Read the New York Times story at the link below.

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