EU Hopes for Emissions Trading Link with California

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"EU aims to achieve a global price on carbon with 'linkable, compatible,' systems."

Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner for climate action, said today she hopes to link the European emissions trading system (ETS) with California's forthcoming carbon market.

Hedegaard pitched the idea of linking the trading programs when she met last week with California governor Jerry Brown and California Air Resources Board (ARB) chairwoman Mary Nichols.

Hedegaard characterized the meeting as an initial discussion, and said she asked Brown and Nichols to consider aligning the details of the California program with the EU ETS as state officials move to finalize the program in the coming year.

"The whole mission is, in due time, to get a global price on carbon, and therefore from a European perspective it makes a lot of sense to make sure that the different systems developed will not be similar, but at least they should be linkable, compatible," she said in Washington, DC.

An ARB spokesman, Stanley Young, said the meeting was "mostly her talking to us," but California is a member of the International Carbon Action Partnership and shares the goal of a global carbon market with harmonized regulations.

"California is not just a very huge American state. It is also one of the largest economies in the world, and it is a very strong signal if they get started," Hedegaard said, noting the stalemate on climate action in the U.S. Congress.

California is looking to partner with other western states and some Canadian provinces through the Western Climate Initiative. Seven states and four Canadian provinces have signed on to the program, which aims to launch a regional greenhouse gas reduction program in 2012.

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