Environment

Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition launch meeting opening remarks

 

Opening remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD 

IETA Pavilion, Le Bourget, France

30 November 2015

 

 

Ministers, CEOs, distinguished guests,

 

For over two decades, the OECD has advocated for strong, credible, predictable carbon prices. It is therefore with great enthusiasm that I participate in the launch of this important leadership initiative.

 

We know that putting a price on carbon is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions.

 

And we are making progress!
 

  • Many countries have already put an explicit price on carbon, or have done so implicitly through taxes on fossil fuels.
     
  • Companies are increasingly signalling their support, gathering momentum since last year’s Climate Summit in particular. We’ll hear from many of you later today on how you plan to advance the carbon pricing agenda.
     
  • Some institutional investors, too, are measuring and publicly disclosing the carbon footprint of their equities portfolios. This is critical as the physical, legal and transitional risks that climate change poses to the financial sector are becoming more and more apparent! This issue now appears to be firmly anchored in the G20 agenda – a clear sign that governments are starting to take the economic consequences of climate risk seriously.

 

And at the OECD, we also look forward to contributing to the Coalition’s efforts to develop and share the carbon pricing evidence, building on our co-authorship of the Coalition’s FASTER Carbon Pricing Principles this year.

 

But our work is not yet done! The latest OECD data show that, based on historic performance, we are not achieving reductions fast enough to achieve countries’ stated targets, let alone the 2 degree goal! We must redouble our efforts!

 

COP21 must send a clear signal that every country will develop a clear pathway to a zero-net emissions future. But it is ultimately domestic policies that will lead us to this global objective!

 

Carbon pricing is the key to this transition, because it drives broad-based action at least-cost. We need to put in place a price on carbon that has a significant economic impact in every jurisdiction!

 

At the same time, we need to remove inefficient subsidies and tax breaks that  support fossil fuels. These act as a negative price on carbon, and account for up to USD 200 billion annually in OECD and selected emerging economies! That’s around five times what governments spend on renewable energy and twice what we need to help developing countries deliver their climate commitments!

 

Targeted technology support and regulations – such as measures to enhance energy efficiency – of course also have a role to play.

 

The OECD is helping governments compare carbon pricing and broader climate policy performance through our recently launched Climate Change Mitigation: Policies and Progress report. The report aims to increase transparency and improve understanding of different trends and progress on climate change mitigation policies across OECD countries and 10 partner economies. Together, these countries account for over 80% of global GHG emissions.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The OECD is committed to continue building the evidence base and showcasing best practices! We join the collective call for all countries, businesses and members of civil society to put a big, fat price on carbon!

 

Thank you.