Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Emissions

New members question EU emissions trading scheme

31 March 2003 – Three countries readying to join the EU have raised objections to the EU greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme, casting doubt on whether they would be included from its 2005 start.

Hungary called a meeting of an interim committee, created to give countries due to join the EU soon a say in legislation going through the EU pipeline at the moment. At the Mar 13 meeting, Latvia and Malta joined Hungary in asking for “further clarification” of how the emissions trading scheme would be implemented.

The key concern voiced by Hungary was that there was no need for eastern states to join the scheme in the first phase, which runs until 2008 when the Kyoto Protocol compliance period begins. It would not have any environmental benefit, since contraction in most accession countries in the 1990s have seen greenhouse gas emissions fall dramatically.

Hungary’s objections could have major implications for the scheme. Many central and eastern European countries would have surplus emissions rights to sell into the EU scheme, bringing down the cost for the EU as a whole to meet its KP commitment. The withdrawal of such countries from the EU scheme would mean more costly compliance for the current EU members.

The European Commission has adopted a strategy to make sure its development policy takes into account climate change, commissioner for development Poul Nielson said. Four strategic priorities are identified: Raising the policy profile of climate change, both at home and in developing countries; help developing countries adapt to the adverse effects of climate change; support with cutting emissions of greenhouse gases; and capacity development. An action plan translates the strategy into concrete actions, placing the emphasis on adaptation to climate change, capacity development and research.