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U.S, Canada and New Zealand Start May Ease Carbon Policies

carbonemissionsIllustrating the difficulty that countries are experiencing in their attempts to reduce and set carbon emission goals to lesson their impact on global climate change, several nations including the United States may start to backpedal on their goals.

As an example, Senate Agriculture Committee chairman said the climate bill, currently under discussion in the U.S. Senate, should include an “off ramp” allowing the United States to relax its greenhouse gas rules if other nation fail to control theirs, reports Reuters.

Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa told reporters that he would allow other nations three to five years to act to curb carbon emissions, according to the news agency.

The idea of an off ramp was raised during testimony by farm groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation that says U.S. farmers would be at a disadvantage on the export market if other nations kept their prices low by not curbing carbon emissions, reports Reuters.

The Voluntary Carbon Standard Association, leading verifier of voluntary carbon market offsets, recently announced that it has eased its rules for Canadian projects that aim to cut emissions of greenhouse gases to issue carbon credits, reports Reuters.

The association said it would allow clean projects hosted in Canada to issue the offsets, known as Voluntary Carbon Units, without corresponding cancellation of credits under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, reports the news agency.

Previously, projects in Canada wanting to issue the credits had to demonstrate that they would not be double-counted in a Kyoto Protocol related program, which has happened in other developed countries that have agreed to cut their emissions under the U.N. pact, according to Reuters.

The VCS Board said in a statement “that this requirement is not applicable to Canada because there is no regulatory framework to implement the Kyoto Protocol, none is likely to emerge, and the country is unlikely to achieve its Kyoto Protocol reduction commitment.”

A recent WWF report indicates that Canada is not doing enough to cut global emissions. However, the United States is not doing much better, ranking only number 7 on the G8 Climate Scorecard.

The New Zealand government recently announced against a backdrop of increasing emissions that setting a reduction target for 2020 will be difficult, reports Reuters.

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith said in the article that data showing New Zealand’s total emissions increased 24 percent from 1990 to 2008, has highlighted the scope of the challenge in setting a target for 2020. Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand’s emissions are supposed to be held at 1990 levels in the pact’s first commitment period from 2008-2012.

Smith told Reuters that he was talking with his counterpart in Australia, Penny Wong, about harmonizing New Zealand’s carbon trading scheme with the one awaiting approval by the Australian Senate.

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