US criticises EU Move to Limit Emissions Trading

The United States Government has expressed disappointment at Monday's statement of the European Union seeking to restrict the use of emissions trading under the Kyoto Protocol, and force all states to account for at least 50% of their target by domestic emissions reductions.

The US Government says its basic position remains unchanged: it has consistently opposed such restrictions, and will strongly oppose them in future negotiations.

According to the US State Department, market mechanisms, such as emissions trading, are essential to dealing with the global problem of climate change in the most cost-effective and environmentally effective manner. In the United States, emissions trading has been used with great success to control acid rain at a fraction of the anticipated cost.

The US accuses the EU of an attempt to rewrite the Kyoto Protocol – it says the issue of whether emissions trading should be subjected to a quantitative limit was explicitly and thoroughly debated at Kyoto. The European Union favoured quantitative limits at that time but, as part of the complex set of compromises that formed the Protocol, the EU accepted a text that includes no quantitative limit.

The US goes on to accuse the Europeans of double standards: “European nations have asserted an unlimited capacity to trade emissions rights among themselves under their so-called ‘bubble’. In today’s statement, the EU proposes to restrict every flexibility mechanism agreed to at Kyoto other than its own”.

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