EU Warns Germany, Don't Bow to Industry

Debate highlights struggle between German environment and economic ministries

Published: 12-Mar-2004

The EU Commission has warned Germany against doling out too many emissions certificates to industrial companies and power plants, strengthening the position of the environment ministry in its struggle with the economics ministry, which fears that German industry will be hit hard if the total volume of these certificates forces plants to cutback their emissions too much.

If necessary, Brussels would reject Germany's plan for divvying up certificates, which it must present to the Commission at the end of the month, said the Commission's Jos Delbecker on Monday. Environment Minister J├╝rgen Trittin wants to use the certificates to force companies to reduce markedly their emissions in the two years after emissions trading commences.

At the same time, Trittin is pushing forward with plans to increase subsidies to power plants that run on non-fossil fuels, which cost electricity consumers EUR2 billion ($2.4 billion) last year. The bill would cause subsidizes to these generators to double by 2010, increasing their overall share of primary energy for power generation to 12.5%. This would cost energy users EUR5 billion a year in 2010, or EUR0.8 a kilowatt-hour, raising electricity bills by around one-third, said the economic ministry's panel of independent advisors.

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