UK Points the Way in European Emissions Trading
sels, Belgium - The UK government has set the standard for other EU member states with its proposal for a national plan for emission trading, WWF said today.
The British government published its draft National Allocation Plan on Monday, setting out how allowances for greenhouse gas emissions will be allocated to operators of UK installations from 2005 to 2007, the pilot phase of the EU emission trading scheme. This scheme sets a cap -- or maximum allowance -- for emissions of greenhouse gas from a range of industries, including electricity generation, oil refineries, the iron and steel and minerals industries, and pulp and paper manufacturers.
"While there are still details to be worked out, the UK government has set the benchmark for its colleagues in the EU," said Stephan Singer, WWF’s Head of the European Climate Change Unit. "Other countries must follow suit with similarly stringent targets if Europe is to meet Kyoto obligations and gain from the system in the longer term. The European Commission must ensure that this is the case."
The most positive elements of the draft plan are:
• Support for a CO2 emission reduction of 20 per cent by 2010, in line with the UK's domestic target and exceeding the UK's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
• A focus on the electricity-generating sector, which has both the technical and financial means to make the necessary reductions. This focus has been clearly set out in WWF's PowerSwitch! scenario for the EU, which aims to switch the electricity sector from using coal to renewable energy sources. The benefits were illustrated in a recent report on the financial impacts of climate change policy on the sector.
"It is essential that the National Allocation Plan drives the development and adoption of low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency," said Dr Singer. "The rules for new installations are a key part of this and so far unresolved by the UK government. By basing targets for new plants on ambitious performance standards, a clear incentive for investment in clean energy can be created."
WWF also commends the UK government on providing opportunities for the public and representatives of all sectors to comment on the draft plan, while maintaining environmental integrity. Other EU member states should follow this approach.
"Cuting-edge companies are prepared to take action and are set to gain from a clear and reliable emission trading regime if all countries have these ambitious targets," added Singer.
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