As COP16 in Cancun, Mexico winds down this week, and high hopes for a world-wide agreement on climate change fade once again, the World Bank has stepped up announcing just yesterday that it will fund carbon markets in developing nations. The pollution credit markets are widely recognized as a way to fund clean energy projects, in turn slowing the decimation of natural resources. While the COP16 conference was meant for the world’s richest nations to address how they would assist developing nations in a sustainable way, it looks like the World Bank tossed the fight and decided to go it alone – a wise decision considering the disappointing history of these meetings.
“We know that the poorest countries will suffer the earliest and the most from climate change,” Robert B. Zoellick, the World Bank president, said in a statement. “They will bear the brunt of changing weather patterns, water shortages, and rising sea levels even though they are the least equipped to deal with them.” The World Bank’s plan is to help developing countries simultaneously mitigate climate change and gain funds to do so by having polluters on their soil pay and trade for the right to pollute.
The list of countries that are expected to participate in the World Bank carbon market program was not released but it is believed that China, Mexico, Indonesia and Chile will be involved in the first round. Other countries will join the carbon market program if it proves to be successful and more funds become available.
The European Union already has a carbon market and there was a fight to bring one to the US until earlier this year, when almost all climate change initiatives stalled in Congress. The World Bank is set to put several hundred of millions of dollars toward this initiative with as much as $100 million going towards making sure the carbon markets are sound, well-run and free of fraud.