Calif., U.K. Teaming Up On Environment

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Britain and California are preparing to sidestep the Bush administration and fight global warming together by creating a joint market for greenhouse gases.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger plan to lay the groundwork for a new trans-Atlantic market in carbon dioxide emissions, The Associated Press has learned. Such a move could help California cut carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases scientists blame for warming the planet. President Bush has rejected the idea of ordering such cuts.

Blair and Schwarzenegger are expected to announce their collaboration Monday afternoon in Los Angeles, according to documents provided by British government officials on condition of anonymity because the announcement is forthcoming.

The aim is to fix a price on carbon pollution, an unwanted byproduct of burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gasoline. The idea is to set overall caps for carbon and reward businesses that find a profitable way to minimize their carbon emissions, thereby encouraging new, greener technologies.

Monday's meeting is hosted by Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, and Lord John Browne, chairman of British Petroleum. British and American business leaders planned to use it to also discuss other ways of accelerating use of low-carbon technologies.

The world's only mandatory carbon trading program is in Europe. Created in conjunction with the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international treaty that took effect last year, it caps the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted from power plants and factories in more than two dozen countries.

Companies can trade rights to pollute directly with each other or through exchanges located around Europe as long as the cap is met. Canada, one of more than 160 nations that signed Kyoto, plans a similar program.

  • Francie Grace

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