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Monday, 20 November, 2000, 19:18 GMT
Pollution trading goes online
CO2e carbon commerce web
Controversial: carbon commerce on the web
Greenhouse gasses can now be traded online by governments and companies who want to buy their way out of trouble without cleaning up their act.

Protesters in The Hague
Protesters in The Hague build their "global warming dike"
Many environmentalists are deeply unhappy about the situation.

The launch on Monday of CO2e.com, described as the world's largest market place for greenhouse gas emissions, was announced at Monday's climate change conference in The Hague.

The launch caused a stir.

There is much resistance against plans to allow countries that cannot, or refuse to, meet their internationally agreed emission targets to buy emission credits from countries that can.

The emissions bank

One point of contention is the way CO2e.com is expected to facilitate companies who want to bank reductions in emissions now, to set against future legal obligations on gases.

The negotiations have not led to a narrowing of the loopholes. They are as wide as they ever were

Bill Hare
Greenpeace
Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that sets down principles and targets for trimming carbon-gas pollution, there is a provision that allows for the possibility that companies will be able to do this.

However, there is no guarantee that The Hague climate change conference will reach agreement about the contents of the protocol.

Greenpeace spokesman Bill Hare urged the negotiators to show more backbone.

"The negotiations have not led to a narrowing of the loopholes. They are as wide as they ever were," he said.

Environmentalists deplore the inclusion of loopholes for rich nations and companies, and insist that the goal of the talks in The Hague should be to force polluters to make the vast majority of greenhouse gas cuts at home.

Industrial countries at loggerheads

Industrial countries are clashing on the issue, with many - notably several European countries - agreeing with the environmentalists.

CO2e.com will be one of the prime catalysts to enable companies and service providers to participate in one of the world's new markets

Carlton Bartels
CO2e.com

However, the US and other countries - most notably Japan, Australia and Canada - are trying to water down the Kyoto agreement, so avoiding the need to make domestic sacrifices and cut emissions from fossil fuel.

But regardless of whether or not emissions trading is capped, the coming of CO2e.com means the trade in greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) can no longer be avoided.

The site, which describes itself as a "global hub for carbon commerce", is about to turn the trade in greenhouse gases into one of the fastest growing commodity markets in the world, CO2e.com's backers said.

"CO2e.com will be one of the prime catalysts to enable companies and service providers to participate in one of the world's new markets," chief executive Carlton Bartels said.

CO2e an information source

Steve Drummond, global leader of climate change financial advisory services for PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has taken part in the development of CO2e.com, insisted that CO2e.com will not just be an online marketplace, but also an information resource educating companies about their environmental responsibilities.

"We have developed a nine-step process that caters to all types of users in all types of industries," he said.

"From requesting emissions measurement to developing an entire emissions reduction project requiring design, engineering and finance expertise, through the execution of trades, CO2e.com makes those specialist resources directly accessible," he added.


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17 Nov 00 | Politics
14 Nov 00 | Climate change
14 Nov 00 | Science/Nature
28 Oct 00 | Science/Nature
22 Sep 00 | Talking Point
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