Iceland joins EU carbon emissions trading system

The European Union Commission announced a groundbreaking international agreement last week linking Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway with the carbon dioxide emissions trading system of the European Union.

It is a promising development for the EU which hopes to set up a global carbon market.

Global discussions on climate change are scheduled to be held in Bali later this year. According to Stavros Dimas, the EU’s Environment Commissioner, “It is a major step towards a global carbon market and sends an important message in view of the negotiations in Bali.”

To qualify to join the EU’s carbon emission trading system, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland had to set absolute limits on their carbon emissions and set up a strict registry system, as well as mechanisms to monitor compliance.

After joining the trading system, the EU Commission must review the carbon dioxide allocation plans submitted by the three countries. All EU nations have already submitted their plans for the 2008 – 2012 periods.

The content of these plans include quotas on carbon emissions for energy intensive industries. It is hoped that these industries, which are responsible for an estimated 50 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions in Europe, will be able to impact the environment with more responsible practices in the future.

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