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EU climate chief calls for new carbon mechanisms

More money for poorest nations, pilot projects

07.09.2010 |Reuters

BRUSSELS/GENEVA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Europe's climate chief called on Friday for a major reform of the U.N.'s carbon crediting mechanism, including more money for the poorest countries as well as a number of new pilot projects.

Connie Hedegaard said that U.N. talks in Cancun, Mexico, later this year should agree to reassure carbon markets that the current CDM mechanism would continue beyond 2012, when the first period of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol climate treaty expires.

"We want the CDM mechanism to be modernised, refined," she told reporters in
Geneva at the end of 46-nation talks focused on raising new funds to help developing countries curb global warming. "It must be more streamlined, more simple".

The U.N.'s CDM, or Clean Development Mechanism, allows rich nations to invest in carbon-cutting schemes in developing countries, such as in wind turbines or solar panels, and then claim credits against their own Kyoto targets back home.

"Environmental integrity of CDM must be improved, and its use as an offsetting mechanism should be increasingly focused on least developed countries," she told ministers in notes for the Geneva Dialogue on Climate Financing.

She also called for progress on new carbon market mechanisms, with pilot projects set up to show how such mechanisms would work in the real world.

"When successful, parties or regions that have domestic carbon markets should consider recognizing units from these mechanisms for compliance in their domestic trading systems," she said.

Hedegaard told reporters that her call to focus the CDM more on the poorest nations was partly because an unreformed system risked rivalling projects by less poor developing nations as they sought to rein in their own emissions in coming years.

"If I was Brazil I would not accept that the developing countries coming in and take the low-hanging fruits" of the easiest cuts in carbon emissions, she said.

She also said that there could be more focus on sectoral mechanisms, such as
setting targets for the amount of carbon emitted in producing a tonne of steel or aluminium in factories in developing nations.

In her notes, she said "a major goal for Cancun should .... be to anchor the improved and new carbon market mechanisms in the future agreement, as means
to reach ambitious mitigation objectives and generate financial flows on a larger scale to developing countries."

(Reporting by Pete Harrison in Brussels and Alister Doyle in Geneva; editing
by Jane Baird and Keiron Henderson)

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