29th Sep 2021

Brussels takes legal action against 15 member states

The European Commission has taken legal steps against 15 EU member states that have failed to submit their carbon emission plans for after 2008 by a 30 June deadline.

In a letter to the 15 countries, sent on Friday (28 July), the commission reminded EU governments that they have missed the deadline and demanded a timeline for when the plans will be submitted, an EU official told DowJones news agency on Monday (31 July).

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The letter also said that the governments must reply to Brussels within a month and is the first legal step in a process that could end up in the Luxembourg-based European Court if member states do not reply.

The member states are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Sweden.

The EU's carbon emissions trade market was set up in early 2005, providing a place where permits to pollute one tonne of carbon dioxide can be bought and sold between Europe's main polluting industries such as the energy sector.

The greenhouse gas exchange is the bloc's main tool for achieving the targets under the international Kyoto protocol on climate change.

Carbon prices fell sharply in April – spreading fears of a market crash - after member states announced they had polluted less in 2005 than had been expected..

"One of the problems in the first period has been that not everyone was ready on 1 January 2005 to put their plans into action," the official said.

The official added that the commission does not want to take the member states to court but rather press for the plans to be finalised by the end of the year to give countries enough time to implement them by 2008.

EU tries to stop C02 credits market crash

The European Commission has asked member states not to announce what they have polluted in 2005 until the deadline of 15 May, in an attempt to calm the bloc's greenhouse gas emission trading market.

Market reacts strongly to low EU carbon emissions

European carbon prices fell sharply on Thursday after member states announced they had polluted less in 2005 than the allowed targets set by the Union's emission trading scheme.

EU states spoiling emissions trading scheme, WWF says

The EU's carbon trading scheme may fail to achieve its goal of cutting greenhouse gasses from Europe's heavy industry unless the European Commission clamps down on the member states' weak allocation plans, warns the environment group WWF.

Brussels hints at rejection of weak green plans

EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas has hinted he might reject some member states' plans on reducing carbon emissions, responding to a call by economists and environmental group WWF for a tougher EU emission trading scheme.

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