Thursday, October 09, 2008

EU Propose Old Coal Ban, sets long term climate targets, decides on some auctioning.

Major news from the EU. A coal emissions limit equal to that in California has been proposed from 2015. Coal power plants will have to release less than 500g co2 per KWh. This is thought by many to mean only coal with carbon capture and storage will be permitted. As many believe that CCS is false hope used to deflect attention from the inherent unsustainability of coal, there is general scepticism weather ccs will infact take off. With Russia having its hand on the gas puipeline it looks like renewables and possibly nuclear have the day. Nuclear of course cant proceede without huge safety subsidies and many will question weather it might be wiser to subsidise clean technologies which atleast give us clean and risk free energy.

But coal was only one of the issues voted on this past tuesday (Via Climate Change Corp):

Easy on industry, tough on utilities

On reforming the ETS after 2012, the Environment Committee broadly followed the European Commission's original proposal. However, on the controversial question of auctioning of emissions rights, MEPs said 15 percent of allowances for heavy industry should be auctioned in 2013, rising to 100 percent in 2020. This is a far lighter touch compared with the Commission's starting point for auctioning of 60 percent.

This may represent a weakening of the proposals in some eyes, but Doyle had to break ranks with her own colleagues even to achieve this. Most members of her centre-right European People's Party (EPP) group wanted even more free allowances for industry. Following the vote, German EPP lawmaker Karl-Heinz Florenz was strongly critical, saying “this is going to cost us jobs,” because industry may decide to relocate to lower cost regions.

Other positions on the ETS backed by lawmakers include full auctioning of allowances to the power sector from 2013 (though with some exceptions, for example for district heating), payment of half of auction revenues into an international climate protection fund, inclusion of shipping in cap-and-trade, and a higher exemption threshold for small-scale emitters (up from the Commission's proposed 10,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year to 25,000 tons).

Outside the markets

While the ETS obliges industry to cut emissions, Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi oversaw proposals requiring EU countries to reduce non-ETS emissions by 10 percent overall between 2013 and 2020. This will contribute to a goal of a 20 percent cut by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, rising to 30 percent if an international climate deal is done. Under Hassi's direction, the Environment Committee added new longer-term emissions reduction targets – 50 percent by 2035, and 60-80 percent by 2050.

Lawmakers also agreed that countries should incur potentially steep automatic fines for missing emissions targets: €100 for each excess ton of CO2, with over-achieving countries able to sell their excess entitlements to laggards. Meanwhile, the use by countries of offset credits from the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will be more tightly controlled than originally foreseen by the Commission – spelling more uncertainty for CDM project developers.

Speaking after the votes, Hassi declared it “a good day,” though she warned that the question of carbon fines would be “a hard issue” in negotiations with the EU Council.

Coal plants face 2015 ban

The third part of the package was carbon sequestration, a technology that promises much, but has so far failed to get off the ground, largely due to cost. As a boost to its deployment, lawmakers said that from 2015, new power plants should have an emissions limit of 500 grams CO2 per kilowatt hour. This would have the effect of banning new coal-fired power stations, unless they capture and store their carbon. The Bellona Foundation, an environmental group strongly pushing CCS, called the vote “historic.”

Lobbyists and environmentalists will now spend weeks poring over the complex details of the Committee's votes. But the stage has been set for negotiations with the EU Council, and hoped-for finalisation of the legislation before the European elections in mid-2009.


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At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone have the specific figures for the current proposal for Kingsnorth, and does this therefore mean its dead in the water?

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Calvin Jones said...

unfortunately not, although it would be way higher than 500g/kwhr the environment committe only agreed to the proposal, it still has to go before member states and it only applies after still work to do!


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