EU Threatens 50,000 Jobs with CO2 Plan

German steelmakers are concerned

The German steel industry warned Jan. 16 of huge job losses if the European Commission goes ahead with a new emissions trading scheme in its climate protection drive. "If by 2020 all emission rights must be bought at auction, at least 50,000 jobs in the German steel industry are in danger," the head of the industry foundation, Dieter Ameling, told the conservative daily Die Welt in an interview to be published Jan. 17. Currently European companies receive free certificates that cover a large share of their carbon dioxide emissions.

The European Commission plans a new emissions trading system as part of the bloc's commitment to cut greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020. By that date, all free emissions certificates will be phased out, according to plans that are to be officially presented on Jan. 23 in Brussels. "The EU program would make German and European manufacturers the clear losers in the global steel industry," he said."If the law on certificate trading for carbon dioxide emissions is introduced as planned by Brussels, no steel manufacturer will invest in Europe."

The German steel industry calls for a system in which emissions averages are set by sector-by-sector. "Those that do better than the average can sell their carbon dioxide certificates and those that are worse must buy them," he said.

EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen, a German, called in November for special treatment for Europe's energy-guzzling core sectors over their carbon dioxide emissions to protect their competitiveness. He said the "special treatment" should apply to the aluminum, cement, paper pulp and base chemical industries and, perhaps, steel.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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