ECONOMY

A laggard in submitting emissions plan, Greece awaits EU approval for compliance with Kyoto Protocol

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission has approved five more national allocation plans for its emissions trading system, a spokeswoman said yesterday, leaving just four out of 25 member states left to have their plans assessed. The emissions trading scheme, which officially began on January 1, is a key part of the European Union’s efforts to meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Commission unconditionally approved plans submitted by Lithuania, Malta, Cyprus and Hungary on December 27, the spokeswoman said, while a plan from Spain was approved with some reservations. «We need some more technical information on the size of one installation,» the spokeswoman said of the Spanish plan. Under the system, 12,000 plants, including power stations, steelmakers and other energy intensive industries, buy and sell carbon credits – the right to emit carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main greenhouse gases which trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Countries must submit plans to the EU executive body detailing or allocating the amount of emissions their installations are allowed to generate. The Commission hopes to have the remaining plans from Poland, the Czech Republic and Italy assessed by the end of January or February, she said. Greece submitted its plan on December 30 – more than half a year late. «We’re doing it as quickly as we can,» the spokeswoman said.