Mixed reaction to environment committee's votes

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Mixed reaction to environment committee's votes

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There are those who say they must have got it right – because some on the side of industry said the environment committee’s vote was too much, and the environmentalists said it was not enough.

The panel had a fine line to tread – on the one hand being tough on the causes of climate-change, but at the same time not so tough as to batter European industry already staring a Great Depression in the face.

Emissions trading expert at WWF, Delia Villagrasa said: “Glass half-full or glass-half empty depending how you want to see things. I think that on one of the proposed legislations, (that is) how much countries have to do in reducing their emissions, the vote went quite well. Parliament has given a clear signal to the member states that they should do a fair bit of reduction.”

The votes resulted in softer measures for manufacturers, but countries which rely on heavily polluting coal-power, like Poland could be hit hard.

Karl-Heinz Florenz from the European People’s Party group said: “European industry has now to run in this worldwide market with very, very heavy lead shoes, and the United States are running with jogging shoes, and it is not fair!”

But a leading Conservative member on the committee said that for all the trouble in the financial world, climate change remains the single greatest global challenge.

Avril Doyle from the European People’s Party group said: “I think we have a very good broad platform and we will take it from here. I look forward for the negotiations ahead. It is not the last word, but it is a very good start.”

The environment committee had come under increased pressure to water-down environmental measures which, through their cost, might impair European industry’s competitiveness against countries with fewer such constraints.