Industry opposes Dutch climate targets

EU trade bodies warn against short-term targets, seek dialogue with governments

Leading European industry bodies are urging governments not to force cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2010. Instead, they want a longer-term strategy to introduce emission reductions from 2020, and more consultation.

Industries are reacting to Dutch Presidency proposals to reduce EU emissions of six greenhouse gases from 2005 and to allocate individual targets for each country. The proposals met with stiff resistance from EU governments in a meeting earlier this week (ENDS Daily 20 February).

The Presidency will try again to forge agreement at the Environment Council from 2-4 March. The Council coincides with the start of talks in Bonn to draw up a global legally-binding agreement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases under the UN Climate Change Convention.

The Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE) wrote to Dutch environment minister Margreet de Boer yesterday asking her to engage industries in a "systematic dialogue" to draw up a climate change strategy. UNICE says that 2005 and 2010 are "impracticably close deadlines" for emissions reductions. It suggests that the UN and EU develop a "flexible and adaptive pathway to 2020 and beyond".

UNICE also proposes several principles that it says should guide a long-term strategy, amongst which is that countries should be free to choose policy mixes that suit their needs. Daniel Cloquet of UNICE told ENDS Daily that it has also urged "close examination" of the proposals made by the USA for target setting only from 2010 and the use of international tradeable emissions systems.

The Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) today sent a parallel statement to environment minister John Gummer, also calling for closer dialogue, and stating that the Dutch Presidency's proposals "do not appear to be based on an adequate assessment of the trade-off between environmental and economic impacts."

But an industry body that represents companies, such as renewable energy suppliers, that stand to gain from measures to combat climate change told ENDS Daily today that the Dutch Presidency proposals do not go far enough. The recently formed European Business Council for a Sustainable Energy Future, E5, says it wants stronger targets, particularly for carbon dioxide emissions.

Follow Up:
UNICE, e-mail: main@unice.be; CBI, tel: +44 171 379 7400; E5, tel: +49 228 604 920.

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