European Parliament vote: a big step towards climate protection
Brussels, Belgium - WWF welcomes today's European Parliament's vote for a credible "cap and trade" system to achieve European Kyoto climate targets.
Today, the European Parliament paved the way for a practical implementation of the Kyoto climate treaty through national measures in Europe. These will help to cut carbon pollution and save the climate.
The parliament's decision explicitly demands mandatory participation by all big polluters in such a cap and trade system, and rejects attempts to exempt, for example, the cement and chalk industry while endorsing strong compliance by the industrial participants. The proposed cap and trade system (commonly referred to as "Emissions Trading") aims at setting absolute emission greenhouse gas reduction targets for all sectors of energy intensive industries such as steel and chemistry as well as for the big emitters from the power sector, such as all coal-fired power stations. These sectors represent about half of European climate pollution. In case targets by polluters are overachieved, trading of permits may take place across Europe to those industries who did not manage to achieve their targets in a timely or cost-effective manner.
"This important vote helps to join together environmental and economic effectiveness. It is a defeat for all those heavy polluting industries who were fighting for exemption from the cap and trade system and for weak voluntary agreements," said Dr Stephan Singer, Head of WWF's European Climate and Energy policy unit in Brussels. "But there is still lots of work ahead of us to make sure that loopholes in such a cap and trade system are eliminated."
Following the vote of the European Parliament, the Environment Council must also accept this cap and trade system at its meeting next week (17 October). "WWF is concerned that key industrial climate polluters will influence governments to allow 'Hot Air' carbon trading from Russia and equally damaging projects from developing countries into the European system. This would fully undermine the integrity of a useful cap and trade system", warned Singer in Brussels.
"Today's vote was an important step forward, but now we need ambitious absolute emissions reduction targets, to be agreed by Member States," added Singer. "Strong targets will endorse the rise of clean manufacturing from renewable energies, they will support energy saving products and make unsustainable industries like the coal industry, much more expensive."
For further information:
WWF Head of European Climate Unit
Tel.: +32 2 743 88 17
Press Officer, WWF European Policy Office
Tel.: +32 2 740 09 25