World Bank to Help Finance Carbon Markets

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"Multimillion-dollar program aims to stimulate clean energy projects."

As the United Nations climate change talks in Cancún lurch slowly toward an uncertain conclusion, the World Bank is stepping in to help developing countries set up pollution credit markets to help pay for clean development programs.

Robert B. Zoellick, the World Bank president, will on Wednesday announce the creation of a multimillion-dollar program to create trading mechanisms to stimulate clean energy projects and slow the destruction of tropical forests. He will also be announcing new World Bank programs to help island nations that are acutely vulnerable to rising seas and other climate-related.

He said that the dangers of a changing climate were moving at a faster pace than the international negotiations aimed at controlling them and that the most threatened nations could not afford to wait.

The list of countries that will take part in the carbon market initiative was not announced, but they are expected to include China, Mexico, Indonesia and Chile. Other countries were expected to join as more funds become available, bank officials said.

The European Union already has a carbon market, the Emissions Trading System, which barters pollution credits for European industries for climate-friendly projects, mainly in the developing world. Legislation to create a similar national trading system in the United States stalled in Congress this year.

Such programs are controversial because they have been at times poorly monitored and the price for carbon credits has fluctuated wildly. Many poorer nations also complain that their natural resources have been turned into commodities traded on exchanges in wealthy countries.

The World Bank hopes to devote as much as $100M to provide technical support and other aid to help developing countries establish carbon exchanges and other ways of raising private funds to help reduce emissions and adapt to climate changes.

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