8 July 2004 – WWF has called for a wider European framework to meet its Kyoto commitments to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions dramatically. This comes as the European Commission met Wednesday to approve the National Allocation Plans (NAP) on emissions trading of seven EU countries.
The global conservation organization warns, however, that current plans allowing significant increases in CO2 emissions allow industry to contribute further to global warming.
According to WWF, the first round of NAPs was weak due to government inaction and powerful industry pressure. Many countries ignored the Kyoto Protocol’s mandate for deep emission cuts and have allowed big increases in CO2 emissions, which gives more polluting power to the industrial sector. Germany for example, has allocated generous emissions allowances to its coal power sector. Its plan is much weaker than the earlier voluntary agreement between the government and the power sector. The current Spanish government, on the other hand, has shown a strong commitment to reduce emissions substantively until 2012.
“The NAPs we have seen reflect short-term, narrow-minded political concerns and ignore the wider European and global view,” said Dr. Stephan Singer. Head of WWF’s European Climate and Energy Policy Unit. “This has led to business-as-usual allocations and weak targets.”
The pilot phase of the European Emissions Trading Scheme – a key mechanism for the EU to meet its Kyoto Protocol obligations to fight global warning – is scheduled to start in January 2005 in all 25 Member States. The scheme covers almost all 12 000 large industrial climate polluters, such as steel, cement and aluminum, and all fossil-fuel power stations in Europe which will be given a fixed cap of carbon emission allowances by their NAP – representing nearly half of Europe’s CO2 emissions.
WWF urges the European Commission to ensure that EU member states make firm commitments to reduce CO2 emissions through their NAPs and do not further promote the use of fossil fuels for power and heat generation. The European Commission must coordinate with all member states to set the emissions target for the emissions trading system in Europe and develop clear benchmarks for allocating allowances to each of the major sectors involved. WWF also urges the Commission and all European governments to learn from this recent domestic wrangling on emissions allowances in the pilot phase.
“The current chaos in the pilot phase may be a blessing in disguise,” said Dr. Singer. “The pilot phase of emissions trading will allow the European Commission and member states to learn from their mistakes. Eventually, the European emissions trading could be a model for the rest of the world to follow.”
establish the emissions target for the covered sectors, as well as deciding how this target is divided among the various installations covered by the system.
The Emissions Trading Scheme will cover a total of more than 12 000 installations in the EU-25 (combustion plants, oil refineries, coke ovens, iron and steel plants, and factories making cement, glass, lime, brick, ceramics, pulp and paper). In larger Member States some 1000 to 2500 plants are covered, while in most other Member States the number of plants covered tends to range from 50 to 400.