EU Emissions Scheme Risks Becoming 'Pointless'

Oct. 23, 2006
Complaints arise that members are giving more pollution permits than industrial plants need.

The EU's innovative emissions trading scheme risks becoming "pointless" because members are giving more pollution permits than industrial plants need, the EU environment commissioner said Oct. 23. "If member states put more allowances into the market than are needed to cover real emissions, the scheme will become pointless and it will be difficult to meet our Kyoto targets," commissioner Stavros Dimas said.

Member states are in the process of notifying the European Commission how many emissions allowances they will hand out to industrial polluters over the 2008-2012 period, the second phase of the landmark scheme. The allowances are the cornerstone of the quota trading system which was launched at the beginning of 2005 to help member states meet their greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The aim of the scheme is to encourage industrial polluters to reduce their emissions. They are allowed to sell any unused quotas to companies that have surpassed their allowances.

However, Dimas said that member states that had filed their plans with the commission so far had allocated more emissions permits than polluters would probably emit, based on real emissions from 2005.

"I have to say that many of the national allocation plans that we received so far do not seem to take sufficient account of the real level of emissions from installations," he said.

"Much to my regret, taking together the first 17 national allocation plans that have been notified to us proposing emissions caps, that is about 15% above the emissions levels in those case," Dimas added.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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