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Global Warming

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Carbon Trading
Carbon Trading is the central focus of the UK emissions reduction policy framework. The idea is that heavy polluters are given permits to emit a given quantity of greenhouse gases and are fined if they exceed their permit quota. The permitted quantity is set to reduce emissions by a given percentage. Some industries find it easier to reduce their emissions than others and so have 'spare' permit allowances which are then traded.

The EUs 'Emissions Trading Scheme' is the largest scheme in the world to reduce emissions and is the EU commitment to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon emissions by 8% below the 1990 emission levels by 2012. Each member state has a cap on carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon emissions are calculated by the amount of fossil fuel used at each industrial unit and permits to emit granted.

In 2005 European lobbyist managed to get generous caps set for 20 member states that were actually above emissions - so collapsing carbon trading price from 25 euros / tonne to 4 euros/tonne. Until to 2008 industries covered by the scheme are: steel, iron, glass, cement, paper and power plants. Across Europe these industries generate annully over 360 million tonnes of carbon. Other industries will come under the scheme in 2008, and airlines from 2011.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an emissions offsetting scheme developed under the Kyoto Protocol. It is intended to help industrialised countries reduce the costs of meeting their targets by achieving reductions elsewhere - cheaper than if they cleaned up their own. One tonne of carbon dioxide emissions saved has the same effect anywhere in the world and it is cheaper to abate in the South, such as India and Africa, than in Europe. Installing a renewable energy source in Africa is cheaper than cutting emissions at home. CDM projects are intended to help the transfer of renewable energies to other countries, represent real carbon savings and for projects that would not otherwise have taken place.
Companies that cannot meet the emissions targets set out in their permits, can buy permits and also earn emissions credits through CDM projects.
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Produced by Environmental Practice at Work Publishing Company Ltd. Copyright 2007