Countries, states sign deal to fight global warming

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LISBON, Oct 29 (Reuters) A coalition of European countries, US states, Canadian provinces and New Zealand will sign a partnership today to slow global warming through an international carbon trading market, officials said today.

At least 16 US states plus New Zealand, Australia and seven Canadian provinces are investigating following a European Union's lead by launching a carbon trading scheme, as one policy tool in the fight against climate change.

Carbon markets allow countries and companies to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets by shopping around for the cheapest carbon offests, but some analysts say that wide differences among proposed schemes will prevent market links.

The International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) hopes to become an international forum for governments which are carrying out tough measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are said to cause global warming.

''This cooperation will ensure that the programs are more compatible and are able to work together as the foundation of a global carbon market,'' ICAP said in a statement today.

ICAP also hopes such a forum will help boost demand for low-carbon products and services that will allow for cost effective reductions in global warming emissions.

The partnership will be signed today by more than 20 founding members, including the President of the European Union Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, Prime-Minister Gordon Brown and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The United States is the world's largest producer of the heat-trapping gases that many scientists link to extreme weather like violent hurricanes and rising sea levels.

REUTERS SKB ND1844

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