Schroeder Plays a New Song
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder opened the fifth U.N. World Climate Conference yesterday in Bonn, Germany, with an unexpected call to developed nations to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by 2002. Thus far, only 14 countries, most of them developing, small island nations already threatened by rising sea levels, have ratified the treaty, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2012. In other climate news, an American landfill company and a Canadian power company today will announce what is believed to be the largest trade to date of greenhouse-gas emissions rights. Ontario Power Generation is buying the right to emit 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from Zahren Alternative Power Corp., a company that captures methane from landfills, in a deal valued at less than $25 million, a per-ton rate well below that charged in previous emissions-rights sales. Governments are not yet formally recognizing such international emissions deals, but the companies said they want to show that emissions trading is a viable market mechanism for combating climate change.