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Germany to Defy EU Rejection of its CO2 Plan

Date: 04-Dec-06
Country: GERMANY
Author: Vera Eckert

Brussels said Germany's targets for greenhouse gas emissions were too generous to industry.

"We will resist these decisions with all available means. As the economy minister said already on Wednesday, we find them unacceptable," a spokesman said from Berlin.

"Reports that we would be prepared to face a law suit are correct," he added.

Germany has said it will put climate change at the top of its agenda during its presidencies of the Group of 8 and EU next year.

Joachim Wuermeling, a high-ranking economics ministry official said Germany planned not to implement the EC's changes.

It was up to member states how they fulfilled their Kyoto Climate Protocol targets, he said.

Germany felt relaxed about a possible law suit if the EC sued as it could take years to be resolved, which was not in the Commission's interest, he said.

The ministry was contacted after markets digested the scale of cuts required under the EC decision and focused on detailed stipulations, which in the case of Germany, the EU's biggest polluter, met with heavy resistance.

Economy Minister Michael Glos had said on Wednesday the Commission's decision infringed on the competencies of member states.

In a bid to boost its emissions trading scheme (ETS), the Commission cut the emisisons permits quotas proposed by Germany to 453.1 million tonnes per annum in the 2008-2012 period.

The cuts for the EU's single largest polluter came as part of EC rulings on 10 member states.

They were 6 percent below targets proposed by Berlin at the end of June and 2.5 percent below another reduction offered by Germany last Friday.

Brussels also threw out special rules for new industrial power stations that Berlin has suggested to encourage the construction of state-of-the art plants with low CO2 output.

The rules say that new plants will be exempt from having to cut CO2 emissions in the first 14 years of operations.

The EU said that such exemptions ran counter to the ideas behind the ETS, which demands wholesale CO2 reductions.

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