NEW YORK A greenhouse emissions business group
hopes to shape U.S. climate change legislation to include broad
use of international carbon offsets, like wind and solar power
farms in developing countries, that are not currently in the
leading climate bill.
In a letter sent on Wednesday to Rep. John Dingell, a
Michigan Democrat, the International Emissions Trading
Association, a carbon business group, said clean project
offsets encourage developing countries to participate in
international carbon markets, leading to "greater climate
protection at lower cost."
Dingell, the chairman of the House of Representatives
Energy and Commerce Committee, said in January he hoped to
draft climate change legislation as soon as possible.
In greenhouse gas markets, polluters can buy credits
representing emissions reductions in order to meet limits
mandated by governments where they operate. They can buy those
credits from companies who have cut emissions or ones generated
by clean project offsets.
Offset sellers are worried about the future of the market
after the European Union's Executive Commission proposed in
January a freeze on such sales into the EU's emissions trading
scheme, which is currently the biggest emissions market.
The United States, by most counts the world's top
greenhouse gas polluter, does not regulate heat-trapping
emissions. President George W. Bush pulled the country out of
the Kyoto Protocol on global warming early in his first term,
saying it unfairly left rapidly developing countries without
Rich and poor countries alike are participating in two
years of U.N. talks to launch a climate treaty to widen the
Kyoto Protocol, with commitments for all nations, including
developing countries like China and India.
Some groups, including many environmentalists, have opposed
emissions offsets, saying that the quality of the reductions is
hard to monitor.
But others believe the quality of offsets has been
regulated well through methods used by the U.N.'s Clean
Development Mechanism program and expect that offsets offer
ways to lower the costs of cutting emissions blamed for warming
Milo Sjardin, the North American head of energy consultant
New Carbon Finance, said last month that opening a future U.S.
carbon market to international offsets could reduce the cost of
emissions reductions for average Americans by about $480 per
The leading climate bill in Congress, sponsored by Sens.
Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat turned independent, and
John Warner, a Virginia Republican, limits polluter use of
international emissions allowances, like those traded on
international exchanges, to 15 percent of the required
reductions. The bill would create a board to study the market
for ways to keep costs down, which could include offsets.
For additional stories and commentary on global carbon
markets please visit www.reutersinteractive.com/carbon.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; with additional reporting by
Gerard Wynn in London; Editing by Walter Bagley)