RIGA - Latvia won a court case challenging European Union limits on carbon-dioxide emissions by energy and manufacturing companies that are stricter than levels sought by the country, reports Bloomberg. The EU General Court, the 27-nation region’s second-highest court, on March 21 annulled a 2007 decision by the European Commission because the regulator missed a three-month deadline to respond to Latvia’s plan.
The commission’s request for information, three months and one day after Latvia’s submission, “was out of time” and the national allocation plan became definitive on March 30, 2007, the court said.
Latvia challenged the decision by the commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, to cut the average annual limit for carbon-dioxide emissions in the Baltic country to 3.43 million metric tons in the 2008-2012 trading period from the 6.25 million tons proposed by the government.
The Luxembourg-based court in September 2009 ruled in favor of similar appeals by Poland and Estonia in the first of a series of challenges to commission decisions on national emissions plans. The court in that case said the commission has “very restricted” authority to review national plans for allocating CO2 permits in the EU emissions-trading system, the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas market.
The EU regulator sought to uphold its decision to award 73 percent of the carbon-dioxide allowances demanded by Poland and 52 percent of those requested by Estonia for the five years through 2012, and said any revisions to the cap would have to take into account economic developments and may turn out even smaller than approved in 2007.
Poland dropped demands last year for a higher cap after the recession reduced industrial discharges. While the commission is still waiting for the court decision on its appeal, Poland agreed that its annual limit of 208.5 million tons should remain unchanged.
Latvia said in its 2007 challenge that the commission’s decision to allow it fewer emission permits than requested “significantly restricted” the country’s sovereign energy rights and was discriminatory against countries with low emissions.