From: Associated Press
Published October 12, 2006 12:00 AM

European Commission Threatens 15 EU Governments with Legal Action over Climate Change Plans

BRUSSELS, Belguim -- The European Commission threatened 15 member states with legal action Thursday if they do not provide full information on plans to reduce pollution emissions.

All 25 EU nations must get their greenhouse gas reduction statistics into the EU's head office for approval before the next phase of the bloc's emissions trading scheme gets under way in January 2008. The scheme is the heart of the EU's policy to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The European Commission said it sent warning letters to 15 nations, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, urging them to inform the EU of its environmental measures and to explain why they missed a June deadline for submitting their national emissions plans.

It argued that the 15 states had given only partial information on pollution plans. If the 15 continue to ignore the commission's demands, the EU head office warned it would take them to the EU high court, where they could face fines for failure to implement the climate change law.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said reporting the plans is a "crucial part" of fighting climate change.

"To give certainty to the emissions trading market, it is important that the national allocation processes are finalized well before the start of the next trading period beginning in January 2008," Dimas said.

The EU's emissions trading system is a key part of the EU's implementation of the 1997 Kyoto global climate change pact, which commits each of the 25 EU nations to cut carbon emissions by 8 percent from 1990 levels by 2012.

Under the system, national authorities grant their energy and manufacturing companies emissions allowances that they can trade with others on a market-based, stock exchange-like scheme if they have surplus emissions credits.

The plan, launched on Jan. 1, 2005, aims to help industry cut their output of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. The profit motive is expected to lead to substantial cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide, which makes up 80 percent of the EU's greenhouse gases.

Source: Associated Press

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