Skip to comments.EU nations voice objections to climate change plan
Posted on 03/03/2008 11:11:55 AM PST by Tailgunner Joe
BRUSSELS (AFP) Several former Eastern-bloc European Union nations on Monday criticised proposals from the European Union's executive arm for new measures to slash the continent's greenhouse gas emissions.
While most ministers and officials representing the 27 EU countries gave broad backing to a package of measures proposed by the European Commission, some warned it could lead to job losses and rising energy costs.
The main split appeared to be between former Soviet-bloc states in eastern and central Europe -- traditionally heavy users of coal -- and older members.
French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo stressed the need for Europe to show the way in tackling climate change, i to encourage the developing world in particular to follow suit.
"It's extremely important that there be a political deal" before the key international talks on finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol begin in Poznan, Poland on December 1-12, he said.
In January, the European Commission set targets for EU member states to slash greenhouse gases, calling on them to boost renewable energy use while also unveiling plans to make industry pay for the right to pollute.
The proposed strategy is supposed to put the European Union on track to meeting a target of cutting the bloc's overall greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.
Under the plans, the use of renewable energies like biomass, wind and solar power will rise to 20 percent of all energy forms. Biofuels will also have to make up 10 percent of fuels used for transport.
In their short submissions in a round-table discussion of the package, many member states argued that their individual circumstances should be better taken into account in setting emissions targets.
The plan "would have a negative impact on the living standards of Poles and for the competitiveness and for our businesses," said Polish Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki, warning energy costs could rise by 50-70 percent.
Coal-rich Poland specifically called for the package to afford a bigger role for investments in cleaner ways of extracting energy from fossil fuel.
Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria, decried the Commission's plan to use emission figures from 2005 to work out national targets, rather than 1990, when they had huge emissions from largely coal-fuelled industry.
Their concerns were not shared by older EU members to the west.
EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas argued there was insufficient data available from 1990, when many of these countries were under Soviet influence.
Netherlands Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer recognised as "legitimate" the concerns of some member states, but stressed it was important "not to lose our common goals".
Some countries, such as Poland and Slovakia, warned energy intensive industries could be pushed outside the EU into less regulated nations, taking jobs with them and jeopardising the global emissions reductions.
However, British Environment Minister Hilary Benn rejected this argument.
"We shouldn't let the threat of carbon leakage undermine what is we are trying to do," he argued, adding that climate change itself posed a greater threat to EU industry.
German Development Minister Mathias Machnig called on member states to work towards the higher agreed goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent from 1990 levels if there was broader international agreement to do so.
The environment ministers later turned their attention to car emissions, highlighting a split between Germany, whose automakers tend to turn out big heavy vehicles, and France and Italy, which produce smaller cars.
Their disagreement is over how to apportion emissions cut targets between carmakers.
Talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol were launched after marathon debates in Bali in December, and are set to culminate in Copenhagen from November 30 to December 11, 2009.
Are they kidding? This is a SNL skit isn't it.
All Hail Europa. All bow before wisdom of its leaders.
Not to mention freezing in the dark if this sunspot theory proves out.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.