The next stage in the world's CO2 emissions-trading scheme will begin in two years. Everyone agrees that the rulebook is complicated and that the costs for industry will be enormous. But nobody knows if the system will really help the environment -- or merely create a burdensome bureaucracy.
When the third stage of the European emissions trading program starts in 2013, it will actually cost companies real money when their plants emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. The invisible greenhouse gas, which flows out of chimneys by the ton, will become a cost factor for the first time. Businesses are beginning to prepare for the new reality, and it's high time that they did, following the establishment of key parameters shortly before Christmas by the EU executive, the European Commission.