Carbon trading plans gain pace Down Under

Australia and New Zealand have announced plans to set up carbon trading schemes with the hope of persuading other countries in the region to follow suit.

In a move to create a trading scheme akin to the European ETS, the Asia-Pacific scheme was given a stamp of approval by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark last week.

After meeting with Australian leader John Howard, Clark said the leaders had discussed each other’s efforts to battle climate change and that the item had been placed at the top of the agenda’s list for last September’s APEC summit in Sydney.

Clark confirmed that the two countries are working side by side on creating a scheme that will be compatible and designed so that an analagous system is put in place where notes can be compared, and measure results that are verifiable.

She also said that the new carbon-trading scheme will be designed to serve as models for other countries from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies.

One facet of the carbon-trading scheme is to encourage businesses by taking responsibility, by granting businesses permits to cover the amount of greenhouse gases they produce.

This would encourage businesses to trade permits, which would in turn allow companies that are not using all their allowance to sell them to those that will exceed their quota.

The plan is to set up the greenhouse gas emission trading scheme by mid-2008.

This past World Environment Day, New Zealand was one of three countries that declared the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Costa Rica and Norway declared the same goal.

Dana Gornitzki

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