17 November 2017
COP 23 Side Events Address Climate Finance in Asia-Pacific, Environmental Integrity of Carbon Markets: 16 November Highlights
Photo by IISD/ENB | Angeles Estrada
story highlights

Canada highlighted its plans to charge US$100 per ton of CO2 by 2022.

GCF Executive Director Howard Bamsey said that all the climate funds will have an opportunity to showcase achievements at COP 24.

Linkages between biodiversity conservation and climate change were also addressed.

16 November 2017: Side events on Thursday, 16 November, addressed: climate finance, during an event hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF); how to ensure that carbon markets maintain environmental integrity; and linkages between biodiversity conservation and climate change.

A side event titled, ‘Asia-Pacific Climate Action: Making Finance Flows Consistent with a Pathway towards Low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and Climate-Resilient Development for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ considered climate finance in the Asia-Pacific region, including regional action to access debt capital markets. Speakers highlighted: green bonds as a promising new instrument, and the need to enable developing countries to gain access to international capital markets to finance climate action; challenges faced by the GCF in the region, such as lack of supporting regulatory environments to enable reliable returns for investors, and the need for more innovative insurance remedies; that the Asia-Pacific region will require US$26 trillion in infrastructure investment between now and 2030; that finance communities should make commercial banks more amenable to financing renewable energy projects, and less open to financing fossil fuels; green banking as a “paradigm shift” from a business-as-usual approach; and that the cost of implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) will be about US$5.6 trillion, and the potential of the green bond market to fund NDC implementation. This event was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

A side event titled, ‘Strengthening Collaboration to Support Countries in Implementing the Paris Agreement: A Joint GCF-GEF Event,’ discussed synergies between the GEF and the GCF to scale up climate resilient finance. GCF Executive Director Howard Bamsey underscored: the GCF’s commitment to simplify modalities for accessing finance and reduce transaction costs; support to build institutional capacity for readiness in selected countries; and that all the climate funds would have an opportunity to showcase achievements at COP 24. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF, emphasized political leadership as the most essential element to inspire climate action, and building a practice for collaboration focusing on partnerships and multi-stakeholder engagement, including with indigenous peoples. Speakers highlighted that: the GEF could help improve infrastructure to facilitate sustainable tourism and access for researchers; the need to simplify the GCF’s and the GEF’s mechanisms, given the increasing number of climate finance players; and the GCF and GEF should focus on resilience and adaptation, and engage with the private sector in innovative ways. This event was organized by the GCF and the GEF.

Singapore said it will introduce a carbon tax in 2019 on large emitters, covering about 80% of total emissions.

Another side event brought together signatories of the Ministerial Declaration on Carbon Markets, to discuss the importance of operating carbon markets while ensuring environmental integrity. The Ministerial Declaration on Carbon Markets was first introduced by New Zealand during the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015 to ensure that carbon markets have a role after 2020. At the COP 23 side event, Singapore became the 20th signatory to the Declaration, and said it will introduce a carbon tax in 2019 on large emitters, covering about 80% of total emissions. Canada highlighted its plans to charge US$100 per ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2022. New Zealand stressed that cooperation between countries using market mechanisms is an important way to deliver climate change contributions and scale up action.

A high-level breakfast event titled, ‘One Action, Five Outcomes: Aligning National Actions to Amplify Achievement of Global Goals,’ encouraged guests to champion actions that achieve multiple outcomes at the national, regional and global levels, particularly on poverty eradication, climate change, disaster risk reduction (DRR), land degradation and desertification, and biodiversity goals, by conserving, sustainably using and restoring biodiversity and ecosystems. Speakers highlighted: a Protected Area Network Fund in Palau where funds are derived from tourist levies; plans to convene a special meeting to address biodiversity and climate change during UNFCCC COP 24 in Poland; capacity building for developing countries through the Japan Biodiversity Fund; the need to engage finance ministries in addressing biodiversity conservation; and efforts to combat land degradation in Zambia by encouraging every household to plant at least one tree. The event was organized by the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). [IISD RS Coverage of High-Level Breakfast]

Other side events addressed, inter alia: how agroecology can help countries achieve their climate commitments; the impact of the expanding oil and gas sector in Uganda on climate resilience; and Kiribati’s actions to adapt to climate change. [ENBOTS Coverage 16 November] [IISD RS Coverage of Selected Side Events] [IISD RS Coverage of COP 23]

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IISD Reporting Services is producing ‘ENB on the side’ (ENBOTS), providing coverage of selected side events, special days and other events held at the UN Climate Change Conference. This Daily Update brings you the highlights.

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