Still no emissions plan from Greece

BRUSSELS – Greece, Cyprus and Malta are the only three European Union countries that have not submitted their plans for an EU-wide emissions trading system set to start in January, the bloc’s executive Commission said on Tuesday. Hungary and the Czech Republic, which until recently had also been on the laggards list, have submitted their plans, which detail the amount of carbon dioxide industrial plants will be permitted to emit under the ambitious EU-wide scheme, which aims to fight climate change. «(Plans from) Cyprus and Malta and Greece we have not received,» said Commission spokeswoman Ewa Hedlund, adding that the plans for Cyprus and Malta were «in the pipeline.» The Commission sent a warning letter to Greece in July for failing to submit its plan. The scheme is the key part of the 25-nation bloc’s efforts to meet commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement aimed at slowing global warming. The system allows firms to buy or sell rights to pollute. Member states must outline the amount of emissions allocated to different sectors. These national allocation plans must be submitted to the Commission for approval. Eight plans, including those from Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden, have already been approved or partially approved and more decisions are expected later this month. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom told Reuters on Tuesday the Commission was working with the remaining states to get their plans in. «We are working with member states, we are trying to help them to submit these plans,» she said. «I think that we will see that they will come in also within a reasonable timetable.» Wallstrom’s designated successor as environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, said late last month that the emissions trading system can start in January even if not all 25 nations are ready to participate. Wallstrom said the United Kingdom’s plan had not been altered despite a recent debate about it in Britain. «We have already taken a decision on the UK plan… There has been an internal debate in the UK. But I think they have sort of stood firm,» she said. Britain’s plan, along with those of Germany and Austria, was only partially approved in July, but it agreed to make changes at the time and was not required to resubmit it to the EU executive.