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Brussels, 26 October 2007

Emissions trading: Commission announces linkage EU ETS with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein

The European Commission announced today that it has come to an agreement with the countries in the European Economic Area on linking their respective Emissions Trading systems, making it the first international agreement of its kind for emissions trading. The newly linked systems will cover 30 countries across the European continent..

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "Today marks another significant step in the evolution of the EU ETS. It is a major step towards a global carbon market and sends an important message in view of the negotiations in Bali later this year."

Linking with Emissions Trading Schemes of non-EU countries

As part of the review of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the Commission is considering the option of linking the EU ETS with other credible emissions trading systems in the world, at national or at regional level. Given the global nature of climate change and the urgent need for significant action to reduce emissions, the Commission is working towards establishing a global carbon market from which all countries would benefit. However, in linking systems with each other, a number of criteria must apply: systems must be mandatory and set absolute limits on emissions, as well as have robust registry systems and stringent monitoring and compliance provisions in place.

The linkage of the EU emissions trading system with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein is taking place through the incorporation of the EU ETS Directive (Directive 2003/87/EC as amended) into the European Economic Area agreement. The Decision of the European Economic Area Joint Committee on incorporation was taken today. The next step is for national approval procedures to be fulfilled in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The Commission will work closely with the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) Surveillance Authority in its assessment of EEA National Allocation Plans, using the same methods as for EU plans.

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