New York Times

In a move to bolster the floundering European market for carbon offsets, the environmental committee of the European Parliament voted Tuesday to allow the European Commission to reduce the numbers of carbon permits that it auctions in the next three years.

Prices of carbon allowances, which permit companies to emit greenhouse gases, plunged below €3, or about $4, per ton last month, compared to around €30 per ton in 2008 and about €9 per ton a year ago.

Many analysts think that setting a hefty price on carbon will prove the most efficient way to reduce emissions. The European system is the world’s flagship program and its struggles could have negative implications for other countries that are considering similar efforts, including the United States.

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