Carbon excess

 
By Ritu Gupta
Published: Tuesday 15 August 2006

Poor show: Emission targets se The ministry says it received a positive response from prospective investors in India and abroad and states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, had also shown interest. The proposed On June 27, 2006, bbc reported that Germany had made unbelievable cuts to its emission targets for the 2008-2012 phase of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (eu-ets). Germany, eu's biggest polluter, said that it would cut emissions by just 0.6 per cent between 2004 and 2012. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Germany had pledged to cut by 2008-2012 its greenhouse gas emissions by 21 per cent from the 1990 levels.

Under ets, some 12,000 power utilities and energy-hungry industrial installations have been able, since January 1, 2005, to buy and sell permits to emit carbon dioxide, covering 40 per cent of eu's total carbon dioxide emissions.Z would be a focal point for research and development, education and vocational training, logistics and transportation and marketing, said K Krishan, chairman of Bangalore-based Malavalli Power Plant Ltd.

The German decision may trigger a crisis by influencing other eu countries, including the uk, which still have to set their own caps. Environmental groups fear a meltdown of eu climate leadership. "Hearing the German news, I feel more depressed than I ever have been about our ability to tackle climate change," says Michael Grubb of the uk Carbon Trust, set up by the British government to help create a low-carbon economy. "I really believed that Europe would lead the way through the eu-ets, but now I wonder whether this will ever happen," he adds.

Regina Gunther of wwf Germany says that the German targets are unbelievably low. "It is shameful that our environment minister has agreed to this," she adds. Some experts had predicted that Europe would talk big but fail to impose large carbon cuts on its own industry. The decision represents a major success for the German industry. Last year, German industries were so successful in lobbying that their government handed them 21 million tonnes more of carbon permits than they needed. This pushed down the value of carbon in the eu-ets carbon market and made emissions savings less attractive to businesses across eu.

German environment ministry spokesperson Michael Schroeren argued that his nation's carbon targets up to 2012 were stricter than they appeared. He said that the government has acknowledged that last year's carbon emissions from big industry might have been unusually low. Schroeren said that Germany was still committed to its Kyoto targets, but would achieve carbon cuts through other measures. One plan is to cut three million tonnes of carbon by training motorists to drive more economically.

Grubb, however, is not convinced. "The German position is ridiculous. Their emissions had been coming down over a long period of time. Last year's figures are definitely not a blip and this agreement has certainly nothing to do with protecting the climate."

The uk government was waiting for the German decision because in the last phase of eu-ets, British firms complained that the Germans had been given too many carbon permits, conferring a competitive advantage. Sweden has also agreed to a lax cap on carbon dioxide unless Germany and the uk impose much stricter caps.

The German decision comes as the European Environment Agency released figures showing eu's poor performance in achieving its Kyoto targets. eu emissions rose by 0.4 per cent in 2004, relative to the previous year. Emissions of the uk rose 0.2 per cent. In 2004, the combined eu-15 emissions were only 0.9 per cent below the 1990 levels.

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