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EU Wants Australian States in Energy Drive

  • November 20th, 2006
  • Posted by 7thmin

eu-industry-scape.jpgEuropean leaders want to engage Australian States in a stepped-up carbon trading system, as part of their campaign for much tougher moves on climate change, beginning next year.

The European Commission has endorsed a plan (13.11.06) to increase the impact of its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS); by demanding that its member countries reduce the level of free carbon emissions they will permit; expanding it to new energy sectors and gases other than carbon dioxide; and extending it to other countries.

Its Energy Commissioner, Stavros Dimos, said: “Climate change is the gravest challenge facing mankind and emissions trading is the most efficient policy instrument for tackling it … We now need to see how much we can further improve the scheme”.

Amid anxiety that progress in reducing oil pollution will still not be enough to meet targets set for the second phase of the international Kyoto agreement (2008-2012), he has told the 25 EU governments they need to impose tighter caps on total emissions allowed.

He said auctioning rights to scarce allocations of carbon waste would increase the effectiveness of the system, together with extension of pollutants covered, to include nitrous oxide (NO2) from ammonia production and methane from coal mines.

A supporting document on Climate Strategies presents figures indicating that present allocations by the 25 European countries would not cause a squeeze on output of gases.

The allocations are just close to actual emissions, and on a ten year projection will be only slightly below levels actually produced – due to expansion of the power industry.

The European Commission believes a better outcome can be produced, in terms of reducing climate-change pollution, with new Europe-wide legislation due in the second half of 2007.

It would help ensure very effective reductions in pollution during the projected third stage of the Kyoto standard, starting in 2013.

The European Commission announced it would seek to link its Emissions Trading Scheme to those of outside partners, specifying ones being planned by California and the North-eastern States of the Unites States, and Australian states.

The national governments of the two countries have not joined the Kyoto accord on climate change control but State authorities have acknowledged the standards that it set as goals.

A statement from the Commission said such an extension would it encourage companies to transfer clean technologies to different countries and would lead to emissions reductions taking place where that was most economically efficient.

Under ETS, total amounts of pollutant gas, linked to climate change, which can be produced, are set by law; the pollution then becomes a production cost to industry, which has to pay for allocations of output.


J.M.D. Barroso, President of the European Commission, A European Strategy for Energy: Closing Speech, Lisbon conference, SPEECH/06/649; 30.10.06

Climate Change Strategies, Research Reports; European Commission, Brussels, (19.11.06); further information Climate Strategies research group, [email protected] (19.11.06)

Communication on European Union Emissions Trading Sscheme (EU ETS), (COM/2006) 676; European Commission, Brussels ; see (19.11.06)