EU Calls For Fewer Pollution Permits For Emissions Trading

Nov. 29, 2006
Ten member states need to cut the amount of emissions credits they expected to issue for the 2008-2012 trading period by 7%.

The European Commission called on Nov. 29 on 10 member states to cut the number of pollution permits they planned to issue to energy-intensive industries as part of the EU's innovative emissions trading scheme. The EU's executive arm said that it would accept only the plans from Britain, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia and Sweden to issue emissions quotas if they cut the amount they would hand out. It said that they needed to cut the amount of emissions credits they expected to issue for the 2008-2012 trading period by 7% overall.

"Today's decisions send a strong signal that Europe is fully committed to achieving the Kyoto target and making the EU ETS (emissions trading scheme) a success," environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said.

The trading system, under which industrial polluters can buy and sell emissions quotas, is supposed to be the cornerstone of EU's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. But the credibility of the scheme, which got off the ground in 2005 and is still in its infancy, has taken a beating recently because member states have allotted more permits to pollute than industrial plants need.

Economists, environmentalists and the commission have warned that EU governments risk undermining the basic economics of the bloc's innovative emissions trading scheme.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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