In an effort to combat global warming, Great Britain has set up the world’s first national greenhouse gas emissions trading plan. Under the plan, emissions credits will be traded like any other commodity; British companies that agree to participate can directly reduce their own use of fossil fuels, or they can buy part or all of their reduction quota from another company. According to the targets mandated in the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change, Great Britain must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5 percent of 1990 levels by the year 2012. The government hopes it will be easier to reach that goal under the new system, which is based on one pioneered in the U.S. to reduce acid rain by allowing companies to trade credits for cutting sulfur dioxide emissions. Other countries that are considering adopting the U.K. model include New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

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