EC emissions reductions irk Lithuania

  • 2006-12-06
  • Staff and wire reports
VILNIUS - Lithuanian officials expressed dissatisfaction with last week's decision by the European Commission to cut permissible levels of carbon dioxide emissions during the 2008 's 2012 period. The move would ensure that the emissions-trading system develops according to plan and that EU commitments to the Kyoto Protocol are met.

According to the decision, Lithuanian factories will have their annual volume of permissible emissions halved to 8.8 million tons of carbon dioxide. In 2005, Lithuania's industry produced 6.6 million tons even though the maximum permissible amount was 13.8 million tons, the Baltic News Service reported. The difference between the volume produced and not produced was sold as quotas on the market, boosting a few companies' revenue stream.

Vytautas Krusinskas, an Environment Ministry official, was quoted as saying that new levels are "too tight for us to fit into taking into consideration the closing of the Ignalina nuclear power plant and forecasts of economic growth."
Andrius Romanovskis, head of Lithuania's business representative bureau in Belgium, has reportedly proposed to take the matter to court.

Other critics of the plan include Germany, France and Sweden. Germany, the continent's largest producer of carbon dioxide, which is blamed for global warning, saw its maximum allowable output of CO2 cut from 482 million to 452 million tons.
German Economy Minister Michael Glos said the EC's decision was "totally unacceptable" and that it would lead to higher energy prices in Germany, the EU's largest economy.

Even in environment-friendly Sweden there was skepticism. "The commission's decision, and particularly its argumentation, must now be analyzed before the government takes any measures," Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren was quoted as saying.

But EU officials defended the decision. Environment Commis-sioner Stavros Dimas said the lower limits were crucial to strengthening the EUs trading plan and global emissions-trading scheme. "It's the best hope to achieve an agreement by all the big emitters, including the United States," he said. "We have to make it stronger and functioning in the best possible way."
The EC is hoping to reduce greenhouse gases to 8 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, as the bloc promised in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change.