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BY VLADIMÍR TURANSKÝ

"Crying over emissions"

The European Union distributed more emissions quotas to states and companies for the 2005 to 2007 period than they were able to use. Despite this, industrial concerns complain every year that the quotas are insufficient.

The European Union distributed more emissions quotas to states and companies for the 2005 to 2007 period than they were able to use. Despite this, industrial concerns complain every year that the quotas are insufficient.

In 2005, even though we were awarded lower emissions quotas than we had asked for, we still only produced about five million ton of emissions, or one-sixth of the maximum. The same totals are expected for 2006, even though we won't know until we have the official estimates in about two months.

The European Commission recently told us that from 2008 to 2012 we will only be allowed 30.9 million tons in carbon oxide emissions per year, rather than the 41.3 million we had asked for. Slovakia's arguments against this decision are specious. The government says we shut down the Jaslovské Bohunice nuclear plant as asked by the EU, and that if we hadn't, we wouldn't have a problem with emissions totals. (Nor would we have been allowed to enter the EU, but that is apparently a minor point).

We will have to make up the shortfall of electricity from Jaslovské Bohunice somehow, but the government has not decided whether it is better to import it (involving price and distribution network capacity issues) or build new local capacity. The same government is now telling Brussels that we need higher emissions limits because we will have to build coal-fired power plants to replace Bohunice, when in fact nothing of the kind has been decided.

Industrial representatives should lobby for higher quotas more sensibly as well, and not use false data, such as the claim that the cost of a ton of emissions is 24 euros. It is in fact 3.5 euros and will soon fall again, but even at that low price, Slovak firms have no interest in buying emissions quotas.

On the other hand, Slovakia produces 28 percent less in emissions than allowed by the Kyoto protocol, and Brussels should take note of this. The EU should stop hounding countries with a clear conscience, and go after the real polluters, such as China, India and the US.


- Hospodárske Noviny, January 18

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