Members of the European Union are finding out that it is not that easy to implement any type of green-based regulations as what is happening with their Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and Electronic Recycling Law.
A report from ICIS News (subscription required) alerted the green blog that the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) – the US Congress’ “detective” agency – released a study this week stating that the first phase (2005-2007) implementation of EU’s ETS has currently minimal impact in lessening their greenhouse gas emission as well as driving clean technology investments, partly blamed by the the short time frame in the ETS implementation.
With the next US administration also looking to implement its own version of carbon emissions trading, GAO advices that based on the EU ETS experience, the Congress should consider  the importance of historic emissions data availability and reliability;  the need for long-term certainty to encourage investments in less-carbon-intensive technologies; and  the importance of the design and implementation of allocating carbon allowances, which will have significant economic effects.
Many energy intensive industries such as power/electricity companies, refining, chemicals, steel, cement, etc., are afraid that the government implementing any carbon trading regulation will force companies to be less competitive to countries that don’t have any climate policies and will ultimately drive them to relocate production overseas.Meanwhile, the EU Commission is also forced to admit this week that their electronic recyling law under the Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive enforced since 2004 has become costly and burdensome, and furthermore failed to significantly reduce the dumping of electrical and electronic products in landfill as well as the widespread illegal trading of e-waste to non-EU countries.
“Only one third of electrical and electronic waste in the European Union is reported as appropriately treated and the other two thirds are going to landfills and potentially to sub-standard treatment sites in or outside the European Union. The collection target of 4 kg per person per year does not properly reflect the situation in individual Member States.”
Because of this, the Commission is proposing to revise the regulation and instead of the 4 kg/person/year target, mandatory collection targets will be 65% of the average weight of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market including medical devices.
European electronic manufacturers are protesting that they will not be able to meet the targets and that the financial burden of collecting/recycling e-waste will fall on to electronic producers instead.
EICTA, the industry body representing the information and communications technology and consumer electronics industries in the EU, says the new proposal would enable municipalities and business end-users to adopt a speculative approach and sell e-waste to producers at a later date when producers will be obliged to comply with the collection targets.