U.S.-Canada carbon trading group eyes 2012 start

Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:23pm EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A coalition of U.S. states and Canadian provinces that have banded together to cut greenhouse gases will launch their carbon cap and trade system in 2012, according to a draft plan released on Wednesday.

The Western Climate Initiative's system will be phased in starting with industrial process emissions, with emissions from transportation and other fuels added to the system in 2015. It also will include emissions from electricity imported from sources outside of the group.

The WCI launched in 2007 has set a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Cap and trade systems set limits on the emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane linked to global warming, but allow major polluters to comply by purchasing offsetting credits from sellers who have not used their total emission allowances.

But the document released in advance of the WCI's scheduled meeting July 29 in San Diego, indicated the group's members were still wrangling over important details on issues such as how emission allowances will be apportioned between its members.

"My initial assessment is that it's a bit underwhelming," said Matt Horn of the Pembina Institute, a Canadian environmental group.

The group was established by U.S. governors, spearheaded by California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, who were tired of what they saw as the Bush administrations inaction on climate change and global warming.

It includes the U.S. states of California, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.   Continued...

<p>The full moon sets behind a wind farm in the Mojave Desert in California, in this January 8, 2004 file photo. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files</p>