Fighting Climate Change: British Style

Experts disagree on the effectiveness of strategies ranging from reforestation and efficient cook stoves to renewable energy projects and low-carbon economies. Environmentalists are pushing for regulation of the erratic carbon offset marketplace.

"Claiming that it will double its Kyoto target –to reduce emissions by 12.5 percent by 2010, Britain has announced plans to become the first country to set a standard on how effective and worthy offsetting projects are. It is poised next month to introduce a climate-change law – another world first, according to environment minister David Miliband – that will propose targets to cut emissions and encourage people to measure their own carbon footprint."

"The new standard will be based on an international system already established by the Kyoto process known as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This, experts say, tends to favor large industrial schemes to reduce other harmful gases like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and methane over smaller projects that tackle carbon emissions."

"A ‘"kitemark,"' or official logo, will be introduced in the autumn to ‘"raise awareness so that consumers understand what offsetting is and how it can contribute to tackling climate change.'"

"Britain is also looking into the feasibility of issuing each individual with a 'personal carbon account', complete with credits that could be traded and redeemed against energy purchases in a similar fashion to a Europe-wide emissions trading scheme which provides a financial incentive for industry to reduce emissions."

"Concern is growing that the British program will not always promote the best projects."

Full Story: Britain helps citizens atone for emissions


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