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EU outlines plans to expand Emissions Trading System

The European Union outlined ways to widen its system for trading air-pollution credits, seeking to break the international deadlock over climate change, Bloomberg reported.

The EU said it may add pollutants to its system of carbon- dioxide caps on power plants and factories and create links to countries such as the U.S. starting in 2013. New gases to be covered might include methane from coalmines and nitrous oxide from ammonia production. “Climate change is the gravest challenge facing mankind and emissions trading is the most effective policy instrument for tackling it,'” EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement today in Brussels. “The better its design, the easier it will be for other countries to adopt similar policies.”
The EU last year imposed carbon-dioxide quotas on 11,400 power plants and factories. Under the system, businesses that exceed their limits must buy permits from companies that emit less or pay a penalty. The emissions-trading system is part of an EU pledge under Kyoto to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 8% in 2008-2012. Existing caps cover an initial period from 2005 through 2007 and new allowance grants will be for 2008-2012. The EU says pollution-permit trade may facilitate a global accord to cut greenhouse gas releases after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. The 141-nation treaty doesn't impose reduction targets on developing countries where emissions are growing and is opposed by the U.S., the world's biggest polluter.