At Columbia University on the 2nd of December Antonio Guterres gave a hard hitting speech on The State of the Planet, and what nations have to do to avoid climate crisis, poverty and war. This included carbon pricing:
Put global finance to work for climate
The commitments to net zero emissions are sending a clear signal to investors, markets and finance ministers. But we need to go further. It is time to put a price on carbon. To phase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidies. To stop building new coal power plants. (It is time) to integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal policies and decisions. And to make climate-related financial risk disclosures mandatory.
In UK news Boris Johnson has now set a target (NDC for Paris Agreement) of a 68% reduction of carbon emissions (from 1990 levels) by 2030, increasing the proposed reduction from 57%. He hopes to encourage other countries to follow suit when he hosts the Climate Ambition Summit along with Macron and Guteres on the 12th December. Even if this cut is achievable, given that the 10 point plan is, among other flaws, not even demanding carbon neutral housing standards, environmentalist and social justice campaigners are arguing for a 72-75% cut.
Ed Matthew, a Cop26 co-director for the Climate Coalition responded to the proposals by saying that :
“This is important progress but not sufficient. A more ambitious cut is both feasible and necessary to keep us safe, and reflect our massive historic carbon emissions. We must remember, too, that the climate will not respond to targets, it will respond to carbon cuts. It is action that counts.”
One factor which is said to hamper a more ambitious target is that the Treasury is concerned about the effect of emissions cuts on consumers, this despite the fact that the Government is fully aware of carbon pricing policies whch would not penalise the consumer such as the Carbon Fee and Dividend approach to carbon pricing, as shown in the Future of Carbon Pricing Report, June 2020, pp.38-30.
The UN has also published 2020 The Production Gap Report, which reveals that the pandemic has caused nations to plan fossil fuel production increases of 2% pa and to give double the amount of recover funding to fossil fuels than to renewables. In The Executive Summary of the report the UN states that governments must reduce existing government support for fossil fuels and introduce restrictions on fossil fuel production activities and infrastructure.