UK calls for clarity on future of ETS

Business, Government and environmentalists have drawn up a manifesto calling on the rest of Europe to take the necessary steps to ensure the future of an effective Emissions Trading Scheme.

The manifesto has the backing of the CBI, WWF and more than 40 other business organisations and NGOs and was published to coincide with this week’s meetings of heads of state in Brussels where climate change will be among the subjects discussed.

It calls for the long term clarity which business craves to allow it to judge the scale of investment required and to make the right, low carbon, investment decisions. This means looking beyond 2012 when the next round of trading will close.

It also asks for mechanisms to expose the full cost of carbon of all business activities and for governments to set out the fully-costed carbon economy.

Finally it requests further harmonisation of rules throughout the EU which signatories claim are essential to create a fair and level playing field for industry.

“Emissions trading is a crucial part of our efforts to tackle climate change,” said Environment Secretary David Miliband. “It already covers nearly half the carbon emitted in the UK.

“We were right to push for ambitious caps last year, and we want to continue to offer ambitious leadership within the EU. This is why it is important that the EU ETS proves to be effective.

“This manifesto not only shows the high level of consensus in the UK around the merits of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme – but also its design post-2012.

“Businesses rightly want long term certainty to influence their investment decisions. EU environment ministers have responded positively to this call by agreeing to challenging emissions cuts up to 2020.

“It will be for heads of state to back up this commitment later this week and agree to stretching targets for tackling greenhouse gas emissions. This will not only cut emissions in the EU, but strengthen Europe ‘s leadership in seeking a global climate deal.”

Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said the document illustrated that British business is backing words with action on the environment.

”The EU ETS is a key part of reducing carbon emissions, but to be effective it needs to work across Europe with demanding targets,” he said.

Sam Bond

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