29 January 2007 – The European Union (EU) is working closely with California to bring it into the 27-nation bloc’s trading scheme for greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EU environment chief.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said members of his staff met with Californian officials last week and discussed how to make the state’s planned program fit with a European one that has been operating for two years.
“We are trying to make their trading scheme harmonized in order to have them linked in the future,” Dimas said.
He added that that such a connection likely would take at least two years.
Under the EU’s emissions trading program, companies that produce large amounts of carbon dioxide – mainly power plants burning oil, natural gas and coal – can trade allocations for how much they can release, giving them a financial incentive to release less greenhouse gases.
A deal between the EU and California would be a blow to U.S. President George W. Bush, who earlier this week in his State of the Union speech laid out his own plans for reducing emissions and preventing climate change.
Bush was criticized by environmental groups and some business leaders for not introducing an emissions cap-and-trade system.
Dimas described Bush’s speech, which focused heavily on the environment, as a “positive step,” but said he wanted the U.S. president to go further.
“I would have expected him to create a cap-and-trade system at the national level,” Dimas said. “I really don’t understand why the president didn’t do something that in all probability will be done by his successor.”