When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

26 May 2008

Cap and trade: the way to go

“The US is very promising. All three [presidential] candidates are interested in climate change, all three want international engagement, all three favour a cap-and-trade approach [on emissions], which augurs well for the continuation of the carbon market,” said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the parent treaty to the Kyoto protocol, in an interview with the Financial Times.

The market in carbon was worth $64bn (€40bn, £32bn) last year and is forecast to be worth $3,000bn by 2020 if the US joins it. It was set up under the Kyoto protocol, never ratified by the US, which requires rich countries to reduce their emissions but allows them to do so by buying carbon credits from emission-cutting projects in poor countries, a process known as cap-and-trade.

The main provisions of the protocol expire in 2012, so carbon traders are watching closely the tense international negotiations on a successor, which Mr de Boer is charged with overseeing. They are scheduled to finish by the end of next year.

That all three US presidential candidates are willing to negotiate a new treaty and support the setting up of an emissions market in the US – a policy vehemently opposed by Mr Bush – has come as a relief to carbon market investors.

“There is now, I believe, a global consensus that cap-and-trade is the way to go,” said Mr de Boer.

"U.S. emissions trading waits for Bush to go" (Financial Times, 26 May 2008)

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