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Nations, States, Provinces announce carbon markets partnership to reduce global warming

Oct 29, 2007 - M2 PressWire

LISBON, PORTUGAL - A coalition of European Union countries, the European Commission, U.S. states, Canadian provinces, New Zealand and Norway today announced the formation of the International Carbon Action Partnership ( to fight global warming.

ICAP will provide an international forum in which governments and public authorities adopting mandatory greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade systems will share experiences and best practices on the design of emissions trading schemes. This cooperation will ensure that the programs are more compatible and are able to work together as the foundation of a global carbon market. Such a market will boost demand for low-carbon products and services, promote innovation, and allow cost effective reductions so as to allow swift and ambitious global reductions in global warming emissions.

The ground-breaking international and interregional agreement was signed today by European Union members - including Portugal, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, and the European Commission - U.S. and Canadian members of the Western Climate Initiative, northeastern U.S. members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as well as New Zealand and Norway, who joined on behalf of their emissions trading programs.

Leaders attending the summit included: President Jose Socrates, Council of the European Union and Prime Minister of Portugal; European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso; Governor Jon Corzine, New Jersey; Governor Eliot Spitzer, New York and Premier Gordon Campbell, British Columbia. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, participated with video messages. ICAP will open lines of communication for sharing valuable information, such as research, effective policy initiatives, lessons learned and new developments. By working together to establish similar design principles,

ICAP partners are ensuring that future market systems, in conjunction with regulation in the form of enforceable caps, will boost worldwide demand for low-carbon products and services, provide a larger market for innovators, and achieve global emissions reductions with certainty at the swiftest pace and lowest cost possible. The new partnership supports the current ongoing efforts undertaken under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which all ICAP members agree has the central role in fighting global warming.

Global warming is a problem that requires a global solution. ICAP will facilitate such a global solution by:

* Rigorously and accurately monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions and working to determine reliable sources appropriate for inclusion in a globally linked program.

* Encouraging common approaches and furthering partners' ability to link together to expand the global carbon market, helping to prevent leakage.

* Creating a clear price incentive to innovate, develop and use clean technologies.

* Encouraging private investors to chose low carbon projects and technologies, generating the flow of money needed to support a shift to a low-carbon future.

* Providing flexible compliance mechanisms that ensure reliable reductions at the fastest pace and lowest cost.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, United Kingdom: "The launch of the International Carbon Market Partnership is a truly significant step forward in the global effort to combat climate change. Building a global carbon market is fundamental to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while allowing economies to grow and prosper. Trading emissions between nations allows us all to reach our greenhouse gas targets more cost-effectively. And it therefore allows us to reduce emissions more than we could by acting alone."

Prime Minister Jose Socrates, Portugal (EU Presidency): "An efficient global carbon market will be a powerful tool in the fight against climate change, as it will generate a robust price for carbon. This will offer businesses the certainty and guidance they need to promote investment in low carbon technologies, their deployment and dissemination. The launch of ICAP today will bring us a step closer to this goal."

Foreign Secretary David Miliband: "Co-operation between Europe and other economies involved in this initiative will be a critical motor in driving a successful global response to climate change. That response will require new coalitions of top-down and bottom-up action.

This initiative, which powerfully reflects both of these realities, takes us a significant step closer to building a low-carbon global economy."

John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform, United Kingdom: "This initiative is an extremely important contribution to the global effort to solve the urgent problem of climate change. Business tells us they want clarity on what they will be asked to do, and that they prefer a market-based approach. That is why the global carbon market will be fundamental in the move to a low carbon economy, and why ICAP is such a valuable forum, with its practical emphasis on collaborating and sharing experience and expertise."

Governor Jon Corzine, New Jersey: "My background as the former head of Goldman Sachs has given me a unique perspective on many market-based solutions to important public problems, such as environmental degradation. But it is my life in public service that has helped me understand that it will take the courage and commitment of a core set of leaders, like those of us gathered today, to drive implementation of smart, feasible, and measurable policies needed to address an issue as urgent as global warming."

Governor Eliot Spitzer, New York: "Global warming is the most significant environmental problem of our generation, and by establishing an international partnership, we are taking the vital steps to address this growing concern. In the absence of federal leadership, New York is implementing a greenhouse gas emissions trading program that will achieve a 16 percent reduction in power plant emissions by 2019. Today, we continue that work by joining the International Carbon Action Partnership, or ICAP, where we can begin working with our global partners, share experiences and address issues of program design and compatibility, thereby strengthening our markets."

Premier Gordon Campbell, British Columbia: "Tackling global warming requires international cooperation and collaboration unlike anything we have seen before. It is vitally important that as we design our own market systems we coordinate with other provinces, states, nations and continents. The partnership we have signed today opens the door, for the first time ever, to jurisdictions around the globe to share ideas and new technologies, and ultimately will lay the foundation for a compatible market-based system to trade carbon offsets and credits worldwide."

For more information, please visit

Notes to Editors:

1. Cap and trade - or emissions trading - schemes are a cost effective way of achieving certain emissions reductions at the lowest cost. The UK has been a leader in this area, as well as in other areas of climate change policy. The UK ran a pilot greenhouse gas trading scheme from 2002 -2006 that achieved nearly 20 million tonnes of CO2e emissions reductions. The UK set its cap or target for 2008 - 2012 of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme at 13% below its 2005 emissions. It was able to do so by trading emissions with its European partners and by investing in emissions reductions in the developing world.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is currently being reviewed and there are many greenhouse trading programmes being developed around the world. It is crucial that these are all designed to be compatible with each other if we wish to develop the global carbon market through linking schemes in the future. ICAP provides this opportunity by sharing best practice and experience.

2. Carbon markets are just one, albeit an important, policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Other measures include energy efficiency policies, a target to make all new homes in the UK zero-carbon by 2016, public engagement strategies, and information campaigns.

3. The UK's Climate Change Programme (, the Energy White Paper ( and the Climate Change Bill ( set out the broader climate change policy in the UK.

4. The Act on CO2 public engagement campaign aims to increase understanding of the link between individual action in the home and transport and climate change, through carbon dioxide emissions. It is also designed to raise awareness of the different actions people can take in their everyday lives to help tackle climate change.

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