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European ParliamentAn epic year of European Union environmental policy-making came to a close just before Christmas 2008, with a series of deals at an EU heads of state summit and a European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.

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Climate changeThe European Union was hoping that, with the arrival of the Obama administration in Washington DC, negotiations on a deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol after 2012 might become significantly easier. But the signals in the last few days on both sides of the Atlantic have made it clear that US support for the EU's climate change agenda will not be automatic.

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Climate changeThe British government claimed a first on 19 November. It staged a carbon auction, selling permits to emit CO2 to UK participants in the European Union's emissions trading system (ETS), writes Stephen Gardner. The sale raised £54 million for Alistair Darling's beleaguered Treasury – or four million allowances at £13.60 each.

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Climate changeThe European Union has limited expectations for the forthcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP14), which will attempt to build on the previous COP in Bali and make progress on an international climate deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, writes Stephen Gardner.

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Barack ObamaEurope's climate negotiators are hopeful, writes Stephen Gardner. Barack Obama's election has given them a much needed optimism boost ahead of COP14 – the 14th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which kicks off December 1 in Poznań, Poland.

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WoodlandThe European Union should build into international climate negotiations a goal of stopping the destruction of global forest cover by 2030, the European Commission said October 17. This could be done by using auction revenues from emissions trading to boost afforestation, by allowing more forestry carbon credit trading, and by requiring companies to ensure their timber purchases were legally sourced, writes Stephen Gardner.

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The primary and presidential election process in the United States may be long and arduous but one thing is for sure: the next American president will be in favour of emissions trading, writes Stephen Gardner.

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The future of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism is unclear, with significant implications for emerging carbon markets, writes Stephen Gardner.

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Smart grids promise a greener, more energy-efficient Europe, but the road to intelligent electricity generation and distribution will be long and expensive, writes Stephen Gardner.

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Eurocorrespondent.com managing editor Stephen Gardner is also a special correspondent for International Environment Reporter, published in Washington D.C. by the Bureau of National Affairs. BNA has recently launched a website dedicated to tracking climate change and the evolution of relevant legislation. To see details of Stephen Gardner's articles on the climate.bna.com website, click here.

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