Western Climate group sees carbon cuts and savings

Wed Jul 7, 2010 6:09pm EDT
 
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By Allan Dow

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A coalition of U.S. states and Canadian provinces planning a cap-and-trade market to curb carbon emissions, can meet their environmental goals and reap modest cost savings, a study released on Wednesday said.

The analysis by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) said the effort to foster a clean-energy economy can significantly reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases linked to climate change and achieve about $100 billion in net savings by 2010.

California, British Columbia and Ontario are key members of the 11 states and provinces in WCI, which aims to cut emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 through the cap-and-trade system, as well as through complementary policies such as energy efficiency regulation.

Cap-and-trade systems, which are already in place in Europe and the U.S. Northeast, place a cap on pollution and let power plants and other big producers of greenhouse gases buy and trade emissions credits.

The systems count on market efficiency to drive pollution cuts for the cheapest price.

The analysis released on Wednesday expects carbon to trade around $33 a ton in 2020, with world oil prices at that time at $112.05 a barrel and coal at $27.38 a ton. An earlier report for the BCI estimated carbon at $24.

Carbon is now trading in Europe for about $20 a ton

The first stage of the BCI cap-and-trade system is scheduled to begin in 2012, but not all the members will ready to participate until later.   Continued...