April 21, 2016 / 3:36 PM / 3 years ago

Carbon pricing campaign stepped up ahead of climate deal ceremony

Smoke billows from a factory during sunset in the northern Spanish town of Torrelavega, March 12, 2005. REUTERS/Victor Fraile

LONDON (Reuters) - A group of world leaders and international banks on Thursday urged more countries to launch schemes that put a price on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among leaders calling for faster action on carbon pricing, along with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, ahead of Friday’s New York signing ceremony for the climate deal agreed in Paris last December.

Some 40 nations and more than 23 cities, states and regions already have a price on CO2 emissions covering about 12 percent of global emissions, but the group called on fellow world leaders to increase coverage to 25 percent of global emissions in the next four years and 50 percent within the next decade.

“To deliver on the promises of the historic Paris climate agreement, a price on carbon pollution will be essential to help cut emissions and drive investments into innovation and cleaner technologies,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in the group’s joint statement.

The landmark Paris Agreement was a commitment by nearly 200 countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 with the aim of limiting the rise in the global average temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

The role of carbon pricing in efforts to curb rising emissions blamed for global warming gained prominence last year after several multinational companies, including oil majors, said it is needed to spur investment in low-carbon energy.

“We now need to make carbon pricing levels consistent with the Paris Agreement objective, to broaden the scope of covered emissions and to initiate the convergence of carbon pricing schemes,” French President Francois Hollande said in the statement.

The President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria were also among the 11-strong group behind Thursday’s statement.

About 60 world leaders will attend Friday’s ceremony in New York to open the period for signatures on the Paris Agreement, which is designed to stave off the worst effects of global warming, such as drought, desertification and rising sea levels.

Reporting By Susanna Twidale; Editing by David Goodman

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