UN carbon market panel picks Barbados scientist Sealy as chair

LONDON Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:37am EST

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LONDON Feb 18 (Reuters) - A panel overseeing the United Nations' carbon market has elected a scientist from the Caribbean as its new chair with a German climate policy expert as deputy, the U.N.'s climate change secretariat said.

Hugh Sealy, an environmental scientist and chemical engineer from Barbados, was elected to head the Clean Development Mechanism's (CDM) executive board.

He takes over at a time when the U.N. programme, which has transferred more than $315 billion in climate finance from rich nations to poor ones since its 2005 inception, has stalled.

Supply of the tradeable credits it generates has ballooned while their prices plummeted after many rich nations declined to use the market to help meet emissions goals.

Sealy, who teaches at St. George's University in Grenada, was vice-chair of the board for the past 12 months. He takes over from Norway's Peer Stiansen.

Germany's Lambert Schneider, a researcher in carbon markets, climate and energy policy, was elected vice-chair, the secretariat said on Monday.

They will serve as panel's chairs until 2015.

The CDM lets companies, governments and individuals fund greenhouse gas reduction projects in developing nations, and in return they receive carbon offsets that can be used against their own emissions targets or sold for profit.

The offset prices have crashed by 95 percent over the past five years to below 0.40 euros ($0.55).

While Sealy and Schneider, like past board chairs, are tasked with helping to reinvigorate the CDM, they face a hard task as the world's top emitting nations continue to bicker over who should take on more ambitious targets.

DNV GL, the largest auditor of CDM projects, last week said it is exiting the market due to low offset prices.

($1 = 0.7298 euros) (Reporting by Michael Szabo; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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