to Ratify Kyoto with New Actions
By Gunnar Boye Olesen, OVE / INFORSE-Europe
Just before the 7th Climate Convention Conference (COP7, Oct. 29-Nov.
9, 2001), the EU Commission proposed a strategy to reduce the emissions
of the EU countries to reach the Kyoto targets.
Central in the strategy is a proposal for an EU directive that will make
the burden-sharing of reductions among EU countries legally binding.
According to this burden-sharing, the targets of the 15 EU countries are
different, varying from 21% reductions in Germany and Denmark, to increases
in Spain, Sweden, and other countries.
Another cornerstone in the strategy is a proposed directive to establish
an EU framework for emissions trading and an EU-wide market for emissions.
EU emissions trading is expected to cover 4,000 - 5,000 installations
that are responsible for 46% of CO2 emissions in the EU countries. In
addition to this directive, another has been announced to link Joint
(JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to the proposed EU emission-trading
scheme. It will specify under which conditions credits from
the international JI and CDM projects can be added to the allowances
the EU scheme and can be traded accordingly.
A series of other measures have also been announced as part of the strategy,
Proposal for a framework directive for minimum efficiency requirements
for end-use equipment, such as domestic appliances, motors, lighting and
heating, as well as air-conditioning equipment;
Proposal for a directive on energy demand management, including
national targets for promotion and support of demand management;
Proposal for a directive for promotion of combined heat and power
Initiatives to increase energy-efficient public procurement and
to promote demand for energy-efficient technology from the public sector;
Public-awareness campaign and campaign for take-off, to strengthen
the ongoing campaign for take-off for renewable energy and to include
energy efficiency in the activities;
Strengthen the role of the existing Integrated Pollution Prevention
and Control (IPPC) Directive to increase energy efficiency and reduce
greenhouse-gas emissions, mainly in industry;
Shift the balance of transport modes from roads to rail and waterways
with a package of measures based on the recent White Paper on a
Common Transport Policy;
Proposals for improvements in transport infrastructure use and
rate structures, to integrate environmental costs and reduce congestion.
A framework directive and a directive for harmonising fuel taxes have
Proposal for a biofuel directive, probably with national targets
for biofuel use and with provisions to allow EU countries to reduce petrol-
and diesel taxes on biofuels and on mixtures of mineral oil and biofuels;
Proposal for a framework directive on fluorinated gases (strong
The Commission acknowledges that these measures might not be enough to
reach the target of 8% reduction of greenhouse gases, and expects to continue
the process of developing new measures. It even provides a list of 7 possible
new measures, starting with an initiative on the promotion of heat production
from renewable energy.
NGOs have urged the Commission to present its strategy to COP7, but the
list of proposals is not without problems, and some useful proposals are
The strong emphasis on emissions trading make the entire strategy vulnerable
to problems with this new and untested measure. Emissions trading is also
a measure about which NGOs hold a range of opinions.
The proposal to couple the EUs emissions trading with JI and CDM
projects will make the strategy less efficient in reducing greenhouse-gas
emissions in EU countries. Further, the biofuels directive have been
by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) because it could increase
agricultural pollution. The Danish Folkecenter for Renewable Energy has
fuel-tax reductions should prioritise pure vegetable oils over processed
biofuels and mixtures with mineral oil.
Missing from the strategy are the ideas of a European Sustainable Energy
Agency, efficiency standards for power plants, and measures for renewable
energy for heating, though the latter is included in the waiting
list. Tthese energy measures have been proposed by NGOs in the
preparations of the European Climate Change Program (see Sustainable
Energy News no.
33 and 34).
Read the EU Commissions Communication on the implementation of the
first phase of the European Climate Change Programme (COM 2001-580)