Sir, It is unfortunate that Pilita Clark and Ed Crooks present the call from leading oil and gas firms for the widespread introduction of carbon pricing mechanisms in the context of a supposed transatlantic schism (News, June 1). In reality, the prevailing international business view is somewhat more nuanced than it might at first seem.
The anticipated Paris climate agreement will combine a broad range of national and local approaches to combating climate change in what will be a novel form of “bottom-up” global architecture. Carbon pricing instruments (Letters, June 1) can certainly play an important role in spurring emissions reductions in those countries or regions that choose to use them; but it is important to recognise that they are just one part of the policy mix. While carbon pricing may be the most cost-effective climate solution in some countries, other approaches — such as incentive-based systems or efficiency standards — may be a more viable option elsewhere. What’s more, carbon pricing schemes also need to be carefully designed to promote a global level playing field for commerce and to enable future trade-driven growth.
This leads to an important secondary point: the intervention from leading European energy firms is illustrative of a broader effort on the part of the private sector to engage constructively in the development of climate policy. That’s why leading business networks called last month — at the conclusion of the first-ever Business and Climate Summit — for governments to establish a recognised consultative role for the private sector under a future climate accord. Better harnessing of business know-how would be a significant step forward in the way we go about addressing the shared challenge of climate change — irrespective of the specific policy instruments employed.
International Chamber of Commerce