Brussels (AFP) Nov 4, 2009
The European Parliament's environment committee on Wednesday approved a list of 164 industrial sectors that will win free carbon emissions permits for the next five years if no global deal on climate change is negotiated next month.
Members of the powerful committee voted 39 for and 19 against, with one abstention, the parliament said.
A European Union action plan adopted in December 2008 to fight global warming places serious constraints on industry, which must reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions by 21 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.
This constraint and the need to buy polluting rights from 2013 will enter into force regardless of the outcome of United Nations talks in Copenhagen aimed at replacing the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
The EU anticipates issuing free polluting rights to avoid seeing key industrial actors relocate to more favourable locations such as China or India.
The European Commission had drawn up the list, covering such industries as coal mining, oil and gas drilling and the production of cement, aluminium or copper, but also the manufacture of underwear and wine-making.
The list, with a lifespan of five years through to 2014, has still to be approved by the full parliament and by member states in the European Council, at which point more sectors could be added.
Greens MEP Yannick Jadot said the decision was "playing with fire" with just 33 days to go until talks for which the EU, the United States, China and India appear no closer to finding agreement.
"It's another bad signal sent out by Europe," said Jadot. "We are playing with fire here and the dangerous laxity being shown by the EU puts in doubt its capacity to mount and meet ambitious climate objectives."
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