Greece raises Kyoto emissions quota

Greece plans to raise slightly its annual quota for heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions in its 2008-2012 plan for the second phase of the European Union’s carbon trading scheme, an environmental official said yesterday. The quota will rise 1.75 percent to 75.7 million tons annually from 74.4 million previously, including reserve allocations for as yet unbuilt power and industrial facilities. Excluding reserves, the quota will decline 3.1 percent to 68.9 million tonnes from 71.1 million previously. In June, the Greek government published its proposed carbon emissions scheme for 2008-2012 seeking public comment. It expects to formally submit its new quota allocations to the EU within the next few weeks. «The goal is to submit the new action plan as soon as possible with some slight changes from our previous proposal,» a Greek Environment Ministry official told Reuters. «But the total quota amount will be unchanged from our earlier proposal.» Environmental groups have criticized the Greek quotas, saying they do not go far enough, and that Greece will exceed its overall targets for greenhouse gas emissions – as prescribed in the Kyoto Protocol on global warming – within a year. «What we have seen of the Environment Ministry’s scheme is not good,» said Dimitris Ibrahim of environmental group Greenpeace. «The new quotas represent only a minimal cut in emissions.» Under the Kyoto Protocol Greece is allowed to increase emissions by 2008-12 by 25 percent on 1990 levels, a target the country expects to meet by buying credits from overseas using Kyoto’s so-called flexibility mechanisms, the draft says.