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WBA Making Carbon Count Conference, Brussels

11 December 2017

Twenty years ago, on December 11th, 1997, the world’s nations adopted the Kyoto Protocol, the first international commitment to combat climate change by reducing Green House Gas emissions. The Paris Climate Change Treaty, adopted in December 2016, has given new impetus to the global commitment to face the existential challenge of climate change.

It is therefore fitting that on this important anniversary, WBA, in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee of the European Commission, meet to discuss and analyse the current status on carbon pricing, carbon markets and how these could influence European policies on resource management and recovery. The call for a carbon price is strengthening with the recently formed Carbon Pricing Leadership Initiative among others, arguing the case (including major oil companies, countries, the IMF and World Bank). By pricing in the externalities of carbon emissions, many believe we may have an instrument to increase the speed with which we reduce emissions and collectively achieve the target of limiting the rise in global temperatures to less than 2°C by the end of this century.

As the European Commission determines what a future Emissions Trading System will look like post – Paris, it is also finalising the Circular Economy package. Whilst the two policies seem to be disconnected, they are potentially synergic as pricing-in the value of avoided carbon emissions, or the cost of carbon emissions, could have a significant impact upon the markets for secondary raw materials from waste. WBA is especially keen to explore this hypothesis with regards to food waste, but carbon pricing potentially affects most waste streams.
The questions we will be asking in this meeting are: could carbon pricing boost the Circular Economy? What mechanisms are needed? Who pays and who benefits? How would financial markets adjust and long-term investments be impacted? What political pressure is needed to enable the cost of externalities to be recognised and used as a driver to greater resource recovery?

For more information