EP committee wants to go easy on steelmakers
The European Parliament’s industry committee wants to make it harder to enforce a 30% cut in emissions by 2020 and make some forms of industrial power generation exempt from full auctioning in Phase III, documents published ahead of an extraordinary meeting next week show.
So far, the European Parliament (EP) – together with the Council the main legislator of the EU – has worked to toughen up the proposed directive, tabled by the European Commission (EC) in January.
But these amendments were proposed by the committees of environmental affairs and the industry committee is now muscling in on the debate with two “compromise amendments”.
Making the 30% cut harder
First, the committee wants the EU to carry out a full a new impact assessment before it signs up to cutting emissions beyond the already agreed 20% against 1990 levels, to be reached by 2020.
A main point of the EU negotiating position before Copenhagen is that it could deepen the cuts to 30% if other countries promise to do the same. This would also boost the amount of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) allowed in Phase III (see EDCM 1.219). The new proposal would give all member states, the Council and the EP a say on the 30% cut, making it harder to push through.
The 20% cut would represent roughly 220 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 relative to the Phase II allocation.
Reprieve for the steel sector?
Second, the industry committee said power production from industrial heat or residues from industrial processes should be exempt from full auctioning of allowances in Phase III, otherwise planned for the power sector as a whole. This would include waste gases from blast furnaces, which accounts for around half of the overall carbon emissions from steelmaking.
The compromise could also mean that steelmakers that use environmentally friendly electric furnaces could receive extra allowances, to compensate for the expected carbon-related rise in power prices after 2013.
The new proposals hint that intense lobbying from the steel sector is paying off. Eurofer, the industry association, called for waste gas to be exempt from auctioning in a position paper earlier this month.
Eurofer says European steelmakers’ order books are thinning due to lower demand for consumer goods. The sector is still expected to grow 1.7% next year.
The industry committee is influential in the EP, but any proposal tabled at Monday’s meeting will still have to be negotiated with other committees within the Parliament, as well as the Council, before they can be included in a final directive. IS
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