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Unilever, Shell, Swiss Re, Skanska Back Carbon Pricing

More than 100 international corporations including food and consumer products company Unilever, energy giants Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil, re-insurer Swiss Re and construction company Skanska have called on policymakers to develop a clear, transparent and unambiguous global carbon price to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The joint statement, coordinated by The Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group on Climate with contributions from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Emissions Trading Association, was issued in advance of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks scheduled to start Monday in Doha, Qatar.

The joint statement, known as the Carbon Pricing Communique, was officially presented to policymakers and representatives of key governments Monday at an event in Brussels co-hosted by the European Commission and The Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group on Climate.

Market-driven carbon prices would offer regulatory certainty and create a level playing field to drive low-carbon investment and innovation, said the businesses in the joint statement. The companies prefer market-based approaches, such as emissions trading, “which offer both environmental integrity and flexibility for business.”

Emissions trading schemes have huge potential to deliver real change and putting a price on CO2 emissions should mean the lowest-cost reduction measures are implemented first, said Shell UK chairman Graham van’t Hoff.

However, carbon pricing schemes in California and Europe have hit snags and prices for United Nations emissions credits have fallen 85 percent in the past year because the market has an oversupply of credits.

The European Commission proposed this month a delay in the EU ETS auction of 900 million carbon emission allowances currently scheduled for sale between 2013 and-2015, in a measure designed to support the market.

California kicked off its first auction to sell carbon credits this month amid political opposition, rule changes and legal threats that have already pushed down trading prices. The California Cap-and Trade Program Greenhouse Gas Allowance Auction sold all 23.1 million year 2013 state-issued pollution allowances at $10.09 per metric ton, according to results published today.

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