One year into Kyoto, Britain denied request to emit more

The European Commission is set to deny Britain's request for higher emissions allocations under the EU carbon-trading scheme, insisting that UK factories and power stations must stick to limits agreed in 2004.

As the Kyoto protocol comes into its second year in force, EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas is set to refuse Britain the right to emit an extra 20m tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Asked if he was going to reject the proposals, Mr Dimas said: “This is what we are doing. … There cannot be this 20 million.”

The UK government has been arguing with the Commission for more than a year over emissions limits proposed in 2004, saying they had been provisional and asking for an upward revision.

But the Commission said the Government’s change of mind came too late, past a September 2004 deadline. The UK should now stick to the 736 million tonne annual CO2 emission allowance for the period 2005-07, approved in July 2004, it said.

Commenting on the first anniversary of the Kyoto protocol coming into force, Stavros Dimas underlined the success of the emissions trading scheme, a cornerstone of the EU’s efforts to keep to Kyoto emission limits.

“In the EU we have seen our ground-breaking greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme take off, with allowances equivalent to 260 million tonnes of CO2 traded in 2005 – worth around 5 billion euros,” the environment commissioner said on Thursday.

As Britain disputes its emissions quota for 2005-2007, the European Commission is already looking beyond that period.

“We will be reviewing the functioning of the emissions trading scheme and proposing any necessary changes. A major task will be to check and approve Member States’ national allocation plans for emission allowances for the trading period covering 2008-2012,” Stavros Dimas said of Kyoto-related plans for this year.

He also announced an upcoming attempt to include aircraft emissions in the ETS.

By Goska Romanowicz

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