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Poland hails carbon allowances compromise
by Staff Writers
Warsaw, Poland (UPI) Oct 29, 2012

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Poland says it has achieved a major objective in forcing an EU compromise on carrying over stockpiled carbon trading allowances beyond 2012.

Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec said last week that Warsaw was successful in its efforts to fend off efforts by Western European states to block the right to carry over the "assigned amount units" into an extension of the Kyoto Protocol to be addressed next month in Doha, Qatar.

"We managed to achieve two main objectives -- a common position for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha, and the EU's position that is not threatening the possibility of using AAUs surplus after 2012," Korolec said in Luxembourg following a meeting of the EU Environment Council.

He said Poland aligned itself with other Eastern European members of the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) along with Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania to produce a "significant and positive impact" on the council, which adjourned unable able to resolve on the dispute heading to the Nov. 26-Dec. 7 Doha conference.

Western European nations such as Britain, Germany, France and Spain favor canceling the carryovers of unused allowances into the proposed "Kyoto II" second commitment period of 2013-20, contending it would undermine the European Union's ability to reach the U.N. goal of a 20 percent emissions reduction by 2020.

Poland's effective veto ensured the European Union would go to Doha with an "open mandate" on the allowances issue, which Korolec said was necessary to protect "our right to preserve and dispose of the emissions reductions achieved under the Kyoto Protocol."

Since the signing of the 1997 Kyoto agreement, Poland and other former communist European countries have stockpiled thousands of AAUs due to the collapse of their heavy industries and the resulting drop in their greenhouse gas emissions.

Poland says it needs to retain the credits so it can keep funding its Green Investment Scheme, which injects funding for the development of "green economy" projects such as building insulation, energy savings in public buildings and the production of renewable energy.

Western European states, however, saw Poland's move as a defeat for hopes of reaching a 20 percent Kyoto II emissions target.

Spanish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Affairs Miguel Arias Canete said Madrid wants to see that goal reached but that the lack of a clear directive on AAUs will make the task more difficult in Doha.

Acknowledging "differences do exist" between EU members, Canete said, "We believe they shouldn't be carried over to the next period because they were established for this period, there was certain logic behind this and, therefore, we shouldn't include them in any successive periods."

The mandate adopted by the EU Council last week contained little deviation from goals agreed on earlier this year, calling for medium and long-term emissions reduction targets of 20 percent by 2020 and 80-95 percent by 2050.

The European environment ministers also reiterated their determination to take part in the second commitment period, which begins Jan. 1, and to implement the steps needed to move ahead on an action plan agreed to in Durban, South Africa, in 2011, reported.


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