The United Nations official who is convening international climate change talks has a message for big oil-and-gas companies that claim to support tougher carbon-pollution policies: prove it.
Christiana Figueres on Thursday responded to Shell, BP, and four other companies that jointly called for wider adoption of carbon pricing—a broad term for policy plans such as carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems. "The world wants to be proud of your actions at this time of crisis and I look forward to your giving us every reason to be," Figueres, whose formal title is Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, wrote in an open letter.
The companies, in a May 29 letter to Figueres, called on governments to introduce national and regional carbon-pricing policies where they don't already exist, and for creation of an international framework to eventually link national programs. They offered to "open direct dialogue with the U.N. and willing governments," a pledge that arrives ahead of high-stakes international talks in Paris late this year to finalize a global climate accord.
In response, Figueres' letter notes that she has worked with the companies during her U.N. tenure and says she's "confident" that their effort is genuine, but adds: "I hope you can understand that governments and civil society also need to be reassured of your sincere commitment."