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Emissions Trading focus for Mistra Indigo at the Climate Summit in Paris

November 30th is the starting date for the United Nations 21st conference on climate change, COP21, held in Paris. Several Mistra Indigo researchers are scheduled to participate. Lars Zetterberg will discuss the importance of functioning emissions trading markets.

- Today we see a fast growth of carbon markets in the world. For a long time EU was almost the only one, but now there are major markets both in the US and Canada, and soon China will join as the world's largest emitting market,  says Lars Zetterberg, climate expert from the Mistra Indigo program and researcher at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

Simply put, carbon markets mean that the emitters can meet their emission commitments by buying carbon credits from each other, or implement emission reductions in other countries. Zetterberg thinks this possibility will be an important way for countries to be able to meet their emission commitments.

- At first, when it's still relatively inexpensive to reduce emissions, trade between countries will probably not be a major element but as the level of ambition increases, reductions will become more costly. That is when trade will become an important tool in order to reduce costs.

During the Paris meeting the Mistra Indigo program will togehter with CEPS organize a seminar, a so-called side-event, focusing on who a new agreement will be able to support the emission market. The event is titled “Market mechanisms in the 2015 agreement – what might the outcome mean?”

- We hope to be able to reach negotiators and officials from various countries, as well as the media and opinion leaders. One of course have to be quite humble when it comes to the possibilities of influencing the negotiations, since there already have been extensive preparations in advance of the meeting with regards to the different parties' negotiating position. We are however convinced that the issue of carbon markets will be a part of the negotiations and we hope to sow the seeds for further discussions, after the Paris meeting, says Zetterberg.

He believes that the carbon markets will continue to evolve, with or without UN support, but he argues that the UN can play an important role in facilitating the development.

Regarding the upcoming meeting in Paris Zetterberg is cautiously optimistic. It seems like the US and China are taking the climate issue more seriously this time, and he believes that the Paris meeting may result in a pathway that will speed up the process to achieve the 2-degree target.

- I do not think that the Paris meeting will result in commitments that are sufficient to reach the 2-degree target, but I think there will be a principle agreement for how countries should work towards it in the future. After the meeting there will still remain much work in order to tighten up the parties' commitments, reducing the cost of achieving them and to monitor the compliance of the agreement.

For questions: Lars Zetterberg, lars.zetterberg@ivl.se, tel. +46 10-788 65 57

Updated: 2015-11-18
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