The European Commission is close to proposing rules for an EU-wide carbon dioxide emission trading scheme, it has emerged. Circulated internally by the Commission's environment directorate, the draft directive would establish a highly flexible trading regime from 1 January 2005.
If it passes this next test, the directive could be formally proposed before international talks to finalise the Kyoto protocol resume in Bonn next month. Its emergence would mark a huge about-turn in EU attitudes to emission trading since the protocol was agreed in 1997 and provide an important signal reaffirming its determination to implement it.
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