EU offers climate change support to business

14 March 2008 17:17  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS news)--The EU will protect energy-intensive industries from unfair competition if there is no post-2012 international agreement on climate change, said European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso said.


The chemical industry, for example, has warned that if the EU adopts much stronger measures to tackle climate change than other nations, this could force companies to relocate outside the EU and produce so-called “carbon leakage”.


Speaking at the end of the EU spring summit in Brussels on Thursday, Barroso said he hoped there would be an international agreement to replace the Kyoto Treaty when it expired in 2012.


However, he emphasised that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) directive, which the EC would present in the coming months, would promise to uphold the interests of energy-intensive industries if international negotiations failed.


Barroso refused to state when the EC would publish a list of the industries it considered as energy intensive.


WWF and other environmental groups criticised the summit’s emphasis on the need to analyse the economic impacts of climate protection on energy-intensive sectors.


“European leaders continue to focus on the dinosaurs in the energy-intensive industry rather than on the potential for innovation, jobs and export opportunities that measures to reverse climate change could create,” said Stephan Singer, head of European climate and energy unit at WWF.


European heads of state and government agreed during the summit to adopt the EC's proposals to tackle climate change.


They specifically highlighted their support for the EU ETS to adopt an EU-wide emissions cap after 2013 to replace the National Allocation Plans (NAPs) that have been in place during phase I and II of the trading scheme.


Barroso said the EC hoped to get political agreement on its climate change bill by the end of 2008. 

By: Philippa Jones
+44 20 8652 3214

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