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EU carbon trading could hurt European energy industry: Shell chief

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) April 14, 2008
Plans to make business pay for carbon permits previously distributed for free in the European Union's carbon-trading system could hurt the bloc's energy industry, the chief executive of Shell said in an interview released Monday.

"In the past 20 years the refining industry in Europe has been very difficult," Jeroen van der Veer, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant's boss, told The Times in an early edition of its Tuesday paper.

"But if we have additional penalties because we move away from a system of free allocations to a large extent, then in such a marginal industry that is a real problem."

EU leaders hope to enact a plan to meet the bloc's goal of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide -- the main gas reponsible for global warming -- by 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

A widespread concern among Europeans, though, is the possibility of so-called carbon leakage, whereby heavy industry migrates out of Europe to cheaper, less-regulated countries, taking the pollution and the jobs with them.

"The (oil and chemicals) industries are very international. A lot of our refining is Middle Eastern oil, a lot of which is then exported to the US," the Shell boss said.

He continued: "In Europe our industry is already quite efficient. And if (it) is more energy-efficient than elsewhere, then you should not drive that industry away.

Van der Veer said that a level playing field globally was essential to making the carbon trading scheme work, telling The Times: "If the regional block is big enough, then that is ok. But it gets very difficult for energy-intensive industries."

"What will happen if you have to buy auction rights inside EU but not outside?"

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EDF readies British Energy bid worth 11 billion pounds: report
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