Coal industry lobbying manipulates emissions plan

Corporate lobbying appears to have paid off as the Spanish Ministry for Industry has announced extra pollution rights to coal-fired power stations, at the expense of cleaner gas-fired ones.

In the final government plan to reduce carbon emissions, the Ministry has given precedence to the coal-fired plants following heavy pressure from Spain’s biggest power company, Endesa, as well as the coal industry.

The government’s original National Allocation Plan (NAP) gave coal-fired power stations the right to emit a total of 148.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over three years, but this has now risen by nearly five million to 153.2 million tonnes.

To balance this change, combined-cycle plants were given a lower emissions allowance, and the reserve for new power stations was reduced.

“Some of our suggestions for Spain’s NAP were taken into account,” Endesa stated. “The total amount of emissions rights allocated to our company will support planned investments in further generation facilities under the 2005-2009 strategic plan.”

Spain is currently producing approximately 40% more carbon dioxide that allowed under national emissions limits set by the Kyoto Protocol, meaning that Spanish power companies will have to count on other countries emitting less than their individual allowances in order to sell excess emissions rights to them.

By Jane Kettle

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