Industry and environmental lobbies are keeping busy as the EU leaders prepare to discuss legally binding emissions cuts.
Current EU president France aims to have a deal on the climate package struck with the member states and the European Parliament in December, but several countries have voiced concern, asking ‘What will the EU’s green energy ambitions cost industry – especially given the global financial storm.
French MEP Françoise Grossetête predicted: “There will be strong tensions in the Council. The Germans have taken extremely tough positions but it’s not only them. It’s also the Poles, and there are lots of other member states wanting amendments.”
Germany wants energy-intensive industries to get free allocation of the permits needed to make the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme work unless non-EU states accept similar curbs.
Analyst Christian Egenhofer said this might be to sacrifice revenue: “When politicians discuss changes to the package, loosening the commitments, they very often forget that they are now facing increasingly tight budgets. If you look where additional money could be coming from into state coffers, it is clearly the auction receipts from emissions trading schemes.”
The French have outlined potential compromises, but Britain – among the countries hardest hit by the banking crisis – is among those urging the EU to stick to its climate policy, boost efficiency and reduce energy dependence.