The Kyoto Protocol on climate change has not yet gone into effect, but the first sale of greenhouse gas credits negotiated within the treaty’s proposed framework is officially a done deal. Slovakia (of all places) has sold emissions credits equivalent to 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide to a Japanese trading house, which declined to reveal either the identity of the buyer or the value of the deal. However, experts say the amount of CO2 in question would have been worth $1 million if it had been sold on an emissions market outside of the Kyoto framework. The trade in greenhouse gases enables companies that can’t reduce their emissions below specified levels to buy credits from industries that can, or from eco-right-on projects such as wind farms or reforestation efforts. If Kyoto is approved, the market could reach $60 billion per year. Meanwhile, in other global-warming news, a three-day conference in the U.S. concluded yesterday with experts saying that the Bush administration plan to study climate change for many more years is unlikely to result in significant new information unless the proposal is substantially revised and better funded.
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