Preparing for the Upcoming UN Discussions Around Carbon Pricing

Climate SummitIn late September 2014, 300 Heads of State and Government, Chief Executive Officers, Civil Society Leaders and Heads of UN Agencies will convene in New York for the UN Climate Summit 2014. Integral to the summit, the Private Sector Forum (PSF) will bring the voice of the private sector to the intergovernmental debate, addressing in particular how businesses across sectors are taking action on climate change.

The latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear the importance of putting a price on carbon to help limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In support of this goal, the PSF will be putting a particular focus on carbon pricing, and more specifically, on actions that the public and private sectors can take to achieve an equitable and fair valuation of carbon through long-term strategies, investments and policies.

Through the Caring for Climate initiative, organised by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme and the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Business Leadership Criteria on Carbon Pricing have been developed. The Criteria, which will be featured at the Climate Summit, look at integrating carbon pricing into long-term strategies and investment decisions, responsible policy advocacy, and communicating on progress (a reporting requirement of the UN Global Compact aimed at advancing transparency and accountability, and driving continuous improvement). This Criteria complements the Statement on Putting a Price on Carbon, developed by the World Bank Group and other partners, which has already been signed by more than 20 countries and more than 230 companies around the world, acknowledging strong global support for action on pricing carbon. The World Bank Groups also report in the 2014 State and Trends in Carbon Pricing, that nearly 40 countries, and more than 20 cities, states and provinces, currently use carbon pricing mechanisms such as emissions trading systems and carbon taxes.

A range of resources on climate change and the private sector are available to engage students in these discussions in the lead up to the summit. A report released by the Caring for Climate initiative, Adapting for a Green Economy: Companies, Communities and Climate Change, provides a wealth of information around climate change and its implications, both in terms of risks and opportunities for business. The Climate and Energy Action Hub, part of the UN Global Compact’s Business Partnership Hub, is an online platform where companies can upload and browse partnership project opportunities, and showcase private sector climate projects that have potential for scalability. The Private Sector Initiative – database of actions on adaptation features good practices and profitable climate change adaptation activities being taken up by private companies (sometimes in partnership with NGOs or the public sector) from a wide range of regions and sectors. Adaptation activities may relate either to ensuring the resilience of business operations, or the provision of technologies or services that assist in the adaptation of vulnerable communities to climate change.

UNESCO launched an online database of resources on Climate Change Education (CCE), which provides access to hundreds of resources on good practices, teaching and learning materials, scientific articles and multimedia material from around the world in English, French and Spanish, organised by education level/type of resource. They have also created a special toolkit on how to integrate Climate Change Education into the curriculum which, although created for use by secondary school teachers, provides a range of links to regional resources as well as high quality graphs that can be used in the classroom.

Leading up to the Climate Summit 2014 and to COP 21 (December 2015), we will share opportunities for universities to engage in and follow the debate, as well as resources on climate change and responsible management that can be used in the classroom. Schools can engage in dialogues planned globally through the UN Global Compact Local Networks, which explore climate change risks and opportunities, sustainable development, and climate change adaptation at the local level. Happening in parallel to the Climate Summit, schools in and around New York City can get engaged through Climate Week NYC, or online, following #Climate2014, #climatechange, @UN_ClimateTalks on Twitter.

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