Researchers from the University of Sussex and the University of East Anglia have called for a reconfiguration of carbon markets.

The carbon market is an approach adopted by the government to control pollution by creating economic incentives for businesses.

The paper, co-written by Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations at Sussex, is called ‘Governing Clean Development: What have we learnt?’

It was released two weeks before the United Nations (UN) summit on climate change, which will take place in South Africa.

Representatives from over 190 countries will meet to discuss the success and effectiveness of the current carbon market initiative, which is due to come to an end before 2013.

The report criticises one of the key initiatives in the carbon markets: a mechanism which purportedly allows richer countries to pay poorer countries to reduce emissions on their behalf, so that poorer countries can invest in development.

However, Newell has remarked that: “The evidence is overwhelming that this has not occurred on anything like the scale anticipated”.

The researchers also asserted that the Clean Developments Mechanism (CDM) requires more effective local and international institutions in order to achieve climate and developmental goals.

It found that the roles of project developers, independent emissions verifiers and government officials overlap in some cases, while some government bodies appointed to oversee the CDM lack transparency.

Newell criticised the market for allowing big corporations to continue with their existing investments, asserting that: “Tackling climate change also means getting tough with businesses that continue to invest their money in fossil fuels in spite of evidence of the effect this is having”.

The CDM has countered these criticisms, claiming that it has delivered “transformative” investment, real emissions reductions and social and environmental benefits as a result of its 3,500 projects in 70 countries.

Newell states however, that: “Reform is vital if the CDM is to credibly position itself as a ‘win-win’ mechanism for climate change mitigation and sustainable development”.

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