Electricity industry body calls for constructive dialogue on emissions trading

A European electricity industry body has announced its willingness to take part in constructive discussions on greenhouse gas emissions trading as it regards such schemes as useful for facilitating cost-effective emission reductions, but states that the introduction of trading schemes should not present shocks to national economies.

Eurelectric, the Union of the European Electricity Industry, has published a position paper in which it states that during the initial period – from 2005-2007, any trading schemes set up at EU level must be voluntary, with incentives to encourage companies to take part. Schemes should include all greenhouse gases, and allocations must provide planning certainty, avoiding any sudden distortions of the market, and penalties should be limited to what is required to promote the desired behaviour.

There are a number of key issues that need to be addressed, says Eurelectric. These include: equality of effort between sectors, the impact on competition, and the involvement of accession countries. Allocation of emission targets needs to be transparent, should not introduce distortions between member states and industry sectors, should recognise and award early action and should ensure reasonable certainty for the future, says Eurelectric.

There is also concern that companies should not face double penalties for their greenhouse gas emissions. “It must be clearly stated that if a greenhouse gasses trading scheme is set up at the European level, entities entering into such a scheme – whatever the nature of the scheme is, ie voluntary or mandatory, should not face any additional burden, such as an energy/CO2 tax or emission limit values for greenhouse gases under [Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control],” says Eurelectric.

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