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Britain Urges Global Carbon Trading To Spur Eco-Healthy Growth

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has also unveilled a 15 billion-dollar aid package to boost education in poor countries over the next decade. Photo courtesy of Jerome Delay and AFP.
by Gerard Aziakou
New York (AFP) Apr 21, 2006
Britain's finance minister Gordon Brown on Thursday made a strong pitch for a global carbon trading market as the best way to protect the endangered environment while spurring economic growth.

In a speech at the United Nations focusing on the environmental challenge, the chancellor of the exchequer, citing his country's experience, said: "The innovation of carbon trading offers us a way to reinforce economic and environmental objectives simultaneously."

He said he would urge the powerful Group of Seven club of nations in Washington Friday "to discuss not only how we ensure greater security of energy supply but support alternative sources of energy and greater efficiency of energy use, so reducing carbon emissions is an energy and thus an economic imperative as much as it is an environmental imperative."

The G7 ministers and central bank chiefs will meet before the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund hold their annual spring meetings over the weekend in the US capital.

"Carbon saving can be a way of making money and increasing returns on investment," Brown said. "It makes economic opportunities of a climate-friendly energy policy real and tangible."

Brown cited Britain's progress in cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent to 18 percent below 1990 levels by 2010, exceeding the 12.5 percent target under the Kyoto protocol.

The Kyoto protocol sets legally binding targets for developed countries to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming by 2012.

Britain's plans call for stricter emission caps on industry, steps to encourage use of biofuels, tighter building regulations, and measures to improve household energy efficiency.

Brown said London was now proposing that to extend and strengthen a European Union-wide carbon reduction scheme beyond 2012.

He said efforts were under way to link it with other initiatives around the world, including in the United States, Australia, Canada and South Korea to "make it the driver for a deep, liquid and long-term carbon trading system."

"Our ultimate goal must be a global carbon market" to make the environment "a driver of future economic growth."

However he made it clear that a global consensus for environmental change required all countries to share in the benefits from action to address it.

"For this to happen, developed countries must be prepared to support, with public investment, through grants or loans, developing countries in their efforts," Brown said.

In this respect, he said he would propose to the G7 Friday a "new public-private partnership, a World Bank-led facility, a 20-billion (16.5 billion euros) dollar fund for developing economies to invest in alternative sources of energy and greater energy efficiency."

"I believe it is by providing in these ways for a flow of public and private investment funds for developing countries that we will be able to bring these countries into the global consensus on climate change that I am calling for today," he said.

He said that new alternative energy technologies, for instance, could not only help meet Africa's growing needs but also develop new exports to the rest of the world.

He recalled that during his African tour last week, Britain began discussions with Mozambique and South Africa on a new partnership with Brazil, the world's largest producer of renewable biofuels, on how to make southern Africa a leader in biofuels output as well.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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