The EU’s biggest polluter, Germany, is fuming over demands from the European Commission for strict cuts in EU countries’ greenhouse gas emission plans. Others are angry too over the Commission’s attempt to restore the credibility of the bloc’s commitment towards the Kyoto Protocol against global warming.
Brussels demanded a nearly seven percent cut in the total allowance that 10 EU states were proposing for 2008-2012. France withdrew its plan at the last minute after indications it too faced rejection. Only Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions cap was accepted by the Commission.
Countries’ plans form the basis of the EU’s emissions trading scheme. This imposes a cost on emitting the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming through carbon markets. These limit emissions overall but let participants exceeding their caps buy permits from those within their limits. The scheme’s first phase came close to collapse when governments gave industry more permits than needed. Carbon prices crashed and it became cheaper to pour out carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.