There is a warning that the EU’s ambitious targets on climate control are being threatened by the tumbling stock-markets and worldwide banking crisis.
France, Germany and Austria have called for the EU to relax its targets on carbon-dioxide reduction because of the extra cost industry will have to pay for cleaning itself up.
After a meeting of the 27 energy ministers in Luxembourg, the Green MEP’s Claude Turmes said lobbyists from ‘every dirty industry were trying to profit from the economic crisis.’
France has already made moves to get the EU to ease restrictions on CO2 emissions for heavy industries like steel.
Jean-Louis Borloo, the French Minister for Ecology and Energy said: “There’s a paradox – because while the financial crisis is in everyone’s minds, this is a structural response to other crises, or crises of this type which are attacking us.”
The EU wants to cut carbon dioxide emissions to a fifth of 1990 levels by the year 2020. To that end earlier in the week, MEPs voted to charge polluting industries for permits to produce CO2 from 2013.
Germany says without protection, heavy industry will simply re-locate out of the EU to other countries where it would continue to pollute.