For use of information media - Not an official record

Geneva, Switzerland, 5 December 1996

The UNCTAD secretariat is releasing today two new publications on greenhouse gas emissions trading entitled "Legal issues presented by a pilot international greenhouse gas trading system" (UNCTAD/GDS/GFSB/Misc.1 and Misc.2). These reports discuss the principal legal, institutional and organizational aspects of a pilot international greenhouse gas (GHG) trading system, and options for its implementation. They identify, for the first time, key elements of international and domestic legal regimes and institutions needed to support an appropriate regulatory framework, monitoring, certification and enforcement of the pilot trading system. These include the scope of the international agreement and domestic implementing legislation, an international emissions trading body, a monitoring agency, and rules governing compliance and enforcement.

These publications are being released at a crucial time when negotiations among the parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) on a protocol or another legal instrument, have swung towards agreeing legally-binding emission targets and timetables, with emissions trading as a distinct possibility. The reports provide the basis for defining an implementation strategy for a pilot GHG trading system and for early action among countries interested in the establishment of an international GHG emissions trading regime. The UNCTAD secretariat has been alone among major international institutions to have taken a consistent line in pursuing work on the development of an international trading system for greenhouse gases as the most cost-effective and equitable way of controlling manmade emissions of greenhouse gases. (Five studies on the subject were published by the UNCTAD secretariat between 1992 and 1995).

The new reports are being released in London on the occasion of the Conference on Controlling Carbon and Sulphur: International Investment and Trading Initiatives, 5-6 December, at The Royal Institute of International Affairs, the premier body of its kind in the UK. The Conference is organised by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the British Institute of Energy Economics, and the International Association for Energy Economics, and supported by the Japanese Environmental Agency, and MITI of Japan, the US Department of Energy, US Environmental Protection Agency, and a grant from UNCTAD´s greenhouse gas trading project (INT/91/A29). Carlos Fortin, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD, will deliver the opening address to the Conference, and Frank Joshua, head of UNCTAD´s GHG project, will discuss the lessons from the project for the implementation of a pilot GHG trading programme.

These publications were made possible by the financial support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Government of Norway.