Germany wants deeper carbon emissions cuts and global ETS links

17 August 2012 19:19 Source:ICIS

Germany has criticised EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard's stance on deeper carbon emissions cuts for the bloc and wants to instigate a plan at national level to link carbon-cutting measures with those of other regions.

Germany renewed its call for deeper targets at a press conference by its environment ministry (BMU) on Thursday.

Environment minister Peter Altmaier said increasing the European emissions cap target to 30% would be the right thing to do and that Germany would support it.

He said the increase needed to be agreed at EU level before the next round of international climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar, at the end of this year.

EU member states have already agreed to offer a conditional reduction target of 30% by 2020 at UN-led climate treaty negotiations, provided other major economies also agree to tougher cuts.

But Hedegaard has recently said that she expects a formal agreement on such ambitious targets to be made only after the Doha Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) kicks off in November.

Altmaier said: "The discussions so far about the proposals by Commissioner Hedegaard are not encouraging, as they are on all sides strongly characterised by stereotypical prejudices and preliminary decision making."

Other measures

In parallel, the EU should also discuss its internal emissions reduction targets to 2050, Altmaier said.

Germany has previously asked for tougher emissions targets to be put back on the negotiating table (see EDCM 24 May 2012).

The country wanted the EU's climate "roadmap 2050" to be put on the agenda of an environment ministers' meeting to resume the debate on whether the bloc should work towards emissions reduction targets beyond its present commitment of 20% less than its 1990 level by 2020.

The EU's "Roadmap Towards a Low-Carbon Economy 2050" is set to provide deeper emissions targets for the bloc and to tackle the issue of oversupply in its emissions trading system (ETS) phase III, which will run from 2013 to 2020.

A deeper target could help support carbon prices in the ETS.

However, opposition by other member states, notably Poland, early this year led the then Danish EU presidency to leave the topic off its agenda.

In March, Poland blocked the adoption of the roadmap, which includes targets of 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050 (see EDCM 8 March 2012), having rejected in June last year a proposal to increase emissions targets to 25% by 2020.

International ETS links

Altmaier said on Thursday that the BMU is to form a subdivision entitled "climate protection" that will bundle all relevant offices on the subject in future.

He said countries globally are increasingly following the EU's example in setting up their own ETS and proposed linking up with their systems to achieve "synergy" with them.

Australia, California, China, South Korea and New Zealand, for instance, are all in the process of setting up or operating an ETS.

"The EU has to gain clarity [on] how its own ETS should develop in the coming years," Altmaier said.

He added that the BMU will shortly take the initiative and kick off a comprehensive national discussion and assessment, with the aim of producing an agreed position at government level in Germany by the end of September. MLDB

By Marie-Louise du Bois