Poland to appeal against EU's ETS carbon credits proposals

02 June 2011 17:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Poland is to appeal to the European Court of Justice against the EU’s plan to tighten the allocation of free carbon emission permits to industry, the country’s minister for the economy said on Thursday.

Waldemar Pawlak protested that Poland’s chemical industry would face intolerable pressure on costs should the EU’s proposed new emissions trading system (ETS) – which would start in 2013 – force producers to buy carbon-credits permits which are currently free.

“Despite our best efforts, the European Commission has not at all relented in this respect and we must turn to the Court of Justice in the EU to get the decision changed,” Pawlak said.

Poland’s treasury ministry, which holds stakes in many of the country’s chemical producers, estimated the new ETS would force up costs in Poland’s chemical industry by about one fifth.

The economy ministry, meanwhile, said its research had recently identified one major chemical producer which said it would probably leave Poland for a country with cheaper energy costs should the new ETS take effect. It did not, however, identify the company concerned.

“The new rules would be a triumph of ideas over common sense,” Pawlak said, pointing out that Poland was vastly more reliant on coal for energy than most EU countries, meaning its emission difficulties were that much more challenging to overcome.

The heating, cement and paper industries were other sectors that would be seriously undermined by the new ETS, he added.

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said the new ETS system offers a fair degree of “proportionality” in regard to each member state’s available energy resources.

In March, European chemicals trade group Cefic urged the European Commission not to adopt new unilateral greenhouse gas targets that go beyond the originally stated 20% reduction by 2020, as it would adversely affect EU industry competitiveness.

The Polish Chamber of the Chemical Industry (PIPC) said it was preparing to lobby against the introduction of excessive unilateral greenhouse gas targets during Poland’s upcoming six-month presidency of the EU, which starts in July.

“The presidency will probably be the last chance for the chemical industry to win more favourable conditions,” PIPC director Jerzy Majchrzak said.

The European Court of Justice is tasked with interpreting EU law and ensuring its equal application across all EU member states.

For a view on the latest sustainability issues, visit Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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