Commission tells Member States to cut emissions - But CO2 emission plans still reward big polluters, say NGOs | WWF

Commission tells Member States to cut emissions - But CO2 emission plans still reward big polluters, say NGOs

Posted on 29 November 2006
Massive CO2 emissions: The power sector is the biggest climate polluter. Tough caps on CO2 under a strong ETS can trigger a switch from dirty coal power to clean and efficient alternatives.
© WWF Germany / Andrew Kerr
Environmental NGOs welcomed today’s European Commission decision that Member States should lower emission quotas for big polluters. But CAN Europe, Greenpeace and WWF criticised the lack of Commission resolve to set the bar higher for the worst offenders.

The Commission released decisions on 10 National Allocation Plans (NAPs) submitted by EU Member States for the next phase (for 2008-2012) of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS): Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. According to NGOs, today’s decision to lower quotas is a step in the right direction, since significant cuts are necessary in order to meet the EU’s Kyoto Protocol targets and to ensure that this trading mechanism functions effectively. However, the Commission did not require significant improvements to the way allocations are granted.

“Tighter caps are essential for the credibility of European climate policy, but the rules for how emission allowances are given to individual plants are equally important. The National Allocation Plans must reflect the principle that those who pollute more have to pay more. At the moment this is not the case”, said Delia Villagrasa, Policy Expert at WWF. “Member States need to change their plans to reflect a sound allocation structure which will lead us to much deeper reductions for phase III, after 2012.”

“Today’s decisions are an attempt to protect the system against the worst damage Member States were about to inflict on the EU’s flagship policy on climate change. The Emissions Trading Scheme should not sanction pollution, but must be used as a tool to make reductions to meet our Kyoto targets,” said Matthias Duwe, Director of Climate Action Network Europe, a coalition of green groups.

“With 17 country plans still to be assessed, it remains to be seen whether the Emissions Trading Scheme will deliver real CO2 cuts in Europe. The decision announced by the Commission today is still not strict enough on Member States that seek to shelter their polluting industries from tough emissions standards,” said Mahi Sideridou, EU Climate Policy Director of Greenpeace.

A report prepared by WWF and CAN-Europe analyses National Allocation Plans for phase II of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme of twelve countries, responsible together for over three-quarters of the EU’s emissions. The report points out the major deficiencies regarding caps, allocation rules and over-use of external credits.

According to the report, the German plan is extremely protectionist: coal fired power plants are basically exempted from reductions until after 2020. France has even given its installations higher allowances than in the first ETS period - a fact only becoming visible when comparing the same installations in both trading periods. No auctioning whatsoever was foreseen in France and Spain, and the latter intends to cover up to 70 per cent of its electricity emissions by buying external credits. The UK’s National Allocation Plans scores as the best of a very bad lot.

For further information
• Matthias Duwe, Director of Climate Action Network Europe, tel. +32 2 229 5224
• Delia Villagrasa, WWF expert on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, tel. +32 486 440223
• Mahi Sideridou, EU Climate& Energy Policy Director, Greenpeace, +32 496 122094
Massive CO2 emissions: The power sector is the biggest climate polluter. Tough caps on CO2 under a strong ETS can trigger a switch from dirty coal power to clean and efficient alternatives.
© WWF Germany / Andrew Kerr Enlarge