UpdateEC offers industry friendly climate package

21 January 2008 17:55  [Source: ICIS news]

(Recasts intro and adds detail in paragraphs 2-3)

PARIS (ICIS News)--Energy-intensive industries will be given special treatment to help them compete internationally under plans to revise the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), European Commission (EC) president Jose Manuel Barroso late on Monday.


Speaking in London, Barroso said energy-intensive industries should continue to be given their ETS allowances free of charge and importers should be required to also obtain allowances.   


“Sectoral agreement” would also help energy-intensive industries to face international competition from countries without low carbon measures, he added.


The EC will propose changes to the EU ETS on Wednesday and energy-intensive industries are worried that revisions to the scheme would leave European companies unable to compete with countries with less strict environmental legislation.


Reuters reported this weekend an anonymous commission source saying Europe’s steel, aluminum and cement industries would be introduced more slowly into a new system for auctioning permits to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) from 2013.


A spokesman for Barroso refused to confirm the report but promised Wednesday’s package would offer a “balanced solution that protects the climate, keeps industry in Europe and offers a future to industry in Europe”.


He said “the status quo” could not continue if European industries were to remain competitive but did not clarify what special dispensation, if any, would be offered to industries threatened by international competition.


European energy-intensive industries, including the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), wrote a letter last week to Barroso saying they “supported the objectives of the ETS legislation”.


But said that “given the great importance of the energy intensive sectors, cost-efficient measures are needed to improve both the competitiveness and the environmental impact of such European sectors”.


The group had suggested tailoring the allocation of free emission allowances to sector-specific performance indicators instead of using auctioning and instead of “introducing emission caps indifferent to our best potentials”.


Its cause is supported by EC vice-president Gunter Verheugen, who also wrote to Barroso last week, urging him to propose a climate package that backed the EU’s growth and jobs agenda.

By: Philippa Jones
+44 20 8652 3214

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