Parliamentary secretary for international development assistance Bob McMullan told the advisory group on climate change financing in London, convened by United Nations general secretary Ban Ki-moon, that carbon markets could provide the right economic incentives to cut forest carbon emissions.

The talks, hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, were ordered as a follow-up to the Copenhagen climate change summit last December so finance ministers could consider ways to raise $US100 billion ($A108.8 billion) needed to tackle carbon emissions.

As well as the use of carbon markets, the meeting discussed introducing new taxes on international flights and shipping as well as a so-called Robin Hood levy on all financial transactions to help raise the money.

Mr McMullan said the meeting agreed to have the different options evaluated so delegates could recommend the best way forward at another summit later this year.

‘What Australia has traditionally said, and I said again today, was we think there’s no way to get $US100 billion without looking at carbon markets,’ Mr McMullan told AAP.

‘Internationally, there will need to be some sort of mobilising of private investment in developing countries to deliver these emission reductions without affecting their climb out of poverty.

‘It’s a tricky task.’

British Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said his government will accept two global treaties on cutting carbon emissions if no agreement can be reached on one.

Miliband said Britain was ‘flexible’ about the form a global deal would take as long as it was legally binding.

‘We do not want to let a technical argument about whether we have one treaty or two derail the process.

‘We are determined to show flexibility as long as there is no undermining of environmental principles,’ he said.

More than 180 countries have signed up to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol committing them to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but China and the United States refused to join the agreement, which expires in 2012.

Miliband suggested Kyoto could be extended and a second treaty drawn up to include all the other countries.

‘We are uncompromising about the need for a legal framework covering everyone, but we are willing to be flexible about the precise form that takes,’ the minister said.

‘If we can solve this problem I believe we will be on our way to achieving a global agreement. And today’s first meeting of the group has made a really constructive start,’ Brown said.

The group of 19 financial leaders involved in the talks on Wednesday have been asked by UN secretary general to report back to him by the time fresh climate talks take place in Mexico in November.

Those at the London talks included billionaire financier George Soros and US President Barack Obama’s economic adviser Larry Summers.

© 2010 AFP

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