Nordics, Baltics, move towards CO2 trading

Ministers reach "broad agreement" to develop a pan-Nordic market for CO2 emissions quotas

Environment and energy ministers, assembled in Stockholm for a three-day Nordic Council meeting, have reached "broad agreement" on the desirability of a pan-Nordic market in traded carbon dioxide quotas, the Norwegian newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad reports. Such a market would be part of a common Nordic energy policy, and in particular a harmonisation of Nordic energy taxes, as agreed in principle by the Council more than a year ago. Towards that end, the various parliaments are to draft environmental energy audits next year. "The aim is to find regulations that will make the environmental costs of electric power production visible", Norwegian MP Erik Dalheim told the paper. "Rules for environmental costing are necessary in a free electricity market. Otherwise, we risk blatant 'environmental dumping' of energy in the Nordic region." In that case, the argument continues, coal-fired energy would determine price levels, making investments in alternative energy and even hydropower unprofitable. As it stands, coal-fired power is still the cheapest alternative. The five Nordic countries are keen to extend their sphere of influence in what they term the "adjacent areas," taking in the Baltic states, parts of Russia and sometimes other eastern European countries. In energy policy, the so-called "Baltic Ring", currently a hot talking point, would take in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia as well as the Nordics.

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