The Environmental Bullying of New Europe

RIGA -- Instead of helping all EU member states to meet their own Kyoto goals, the European Commission is shifting what should be a shared burden onto its newest members, which are already the most environmentally efficient in the European Union. In doing so, the Commission is rewarding inefficiency and reducing the effectiveness of its commitments to clean up the environment.

The Commission’s decision on Latvia’s National Allocation Plan (NAP) for 2008-2012 left only 55% of the CO2 emissions that Latvia requested. Similarly, Estonia and Lithuania received only 52-53% of their requested quotas. Serious cuts were also made to other new EU members’ quotas, prompting Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, as well as Latvia, to launch legal challenges. Yet almost all of the old EU members received more than 90% of the requested quotas.

What is going on here?

The Commission’s approach is misguided. According to its own information, the aim of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) is to help countries meet their 2010 Kyoto targets by using market instruments to encourage companies to reduce their CO2 emissions. Logically, quotas should be linked to each member’s progress in complying with the Kyoto Protocol.