Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: July 7th 2015

07 Jul 2015

Here you will find a round-up of all the latest news and events in market governance from around the world.

Agriculture

  • The Indian tea industry has hit back against Greenpeace claims that 34 pesticides were found in 46 samples from the main Indian tea brands. Sidhharth Sreenivas from Greenpeace India argued that: "We wanted to highlight the issue of high pesticide use in tea, which is an important cash crop for India, and the regulatory lapse regarding that. This issue needs to be highlighted for the promotion of organic culture and collectivisation of small farmers in the tea industry". The Tea Board has refuted the charges amid attempts to certify Indian tea varieties. However, the Tea Board's Trustea Code has only certified around 300 of the estimated 150,000 Indian estates. This is equivalent to 7 percent  of tea produced every year in India. 
  • Brazil is aiming to boost beef productivity by 82% while reducing rates of deforestation in the Amazon region. With possible support from the Green Climate Fund, Brazil will fund forest protection, and identify more suitable varieties of cattle for the region. It is seeking to cut annual deforestation in the Amazon to 3,925 sq. kilometres down from 5,000 sq. kilometres by 2020.

Tea plantation in India. Source: Wikipedia

Carbon pricing

  • Pakistan has announced that is initiating a carbon market with help from China, allowing local industries to sell and buy carbon credits, and build markets in green technology. However the project lacks details on potential emissions reductions, and has received criticism –Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, a Pakistani climate expert, argued that the plan announced wasn't yet integrated across government. He said Pakistan should secure funding from the Green Climate Fund and other financing mechanisms, and quickly implement green technology in Pakistani industry. 
  • The U.S Federal Government has pursued top-down directives around environmental regulations and standards due to resistance from the Congress to concerted climate action. President Obama’s attempts to legislate for a cap and trade scheme to price and cut emissions were blocked, with the administration instead turning to fuel economy and clean energy standards for American industry. According to Michael J. Graetz of Columbia Law School: “politics are making the administration do things in a much more expensive way, than if the Congress had acted to do something about climate change.”
  • China has released details of plans to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 65% by 2030, alongside a peak in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 at the latest. To match this ambition, there is an appetite for new mechanisms that incentivise sustainable markets, alongside reform of existing mechanisms. These include new carbon trading markets as well as pollution taxes. Read more here.

 

Steel factory in China. Source: Wikipedia

Mining

  • Sir Paul Collier, an Oxford academic, has criticised the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which he initially promoted. He argued that: “We thought the problem was overwhelmingly transparency and accountability. It just wasn’t”. Sir Paul argued that exposure of corrupt government practices led to administrations adopting profligate spending of mining revenues rather than accumulating profits in wealth funds adopted by countries like Botswana and Norway. Clare Short, Chair of the EITI Board, countered that transparency was a building block, not a stumbling block. She argued: "Is he really suggesting that transparency about a country's earnings from oil and mining is a cause of failure to save at the peak of the commodity boom? If that is so then logic suggests, he should consider calling for the abolition of democracy."

Climate finance

  • A Clean Development Mechanism project in Himachal Pradesh, India, has reported initial successes in achieving emissions reductions. It has begun the process of reducing carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes per year, with the project having a 20 year lifespan. Local communities and villages get carbon credits through reforesting degraded forestlands, common lands and sustainable forest management practices.