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Over 10,000 metal workers protest EU climate plans

The European steel industry employs more than 400,000 qualified workers and the non-ferrous metal sector another 250,000.
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Dec 2, 2008
More than 10,000 metal workers, most from Germany, protested in Brussels Tuesday over EU plans to tackle climate change, which they fear will hit their industry.

The protesters -- 11,300 according to police, 12,000 according to organisers, some wearing their hard hats and work clothes -- demonstrated around EU buildings in Brussels.

One group held a coffin aloft as a symbol of their industry's possible future.

"One hundred fifty-four coaches arrived from Germany," bringing workers to the protest, said a member of the Belgian CSC Metal workers' association.

The European Metalworkers' Federation criticised in particular the EU's plan to auction off CO2 emission permits to European industry from 2013, saying the proposal "endangers production and jobs in the steel and non-ferrous metal sectors".

European producers "are confronted with increasing international competition from producers who do not meet European norms and are not subject to emissions restrictions," the federation said in a statement.

The European steel industry employs more than 400,000 qualified workers and the non-ferrous metal sector another 250,000.

They are calling for the "polluting rights" to be handed out free and for a social impact assessment of the planned climate change measures.

Last year the 27 EU nations agreed on ambitious targets to tackle climate change: a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a 20 percent cut in energy use and bringing renewable energy sources up to 20 percent of the total.

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Climate juggernaut on the horizon, UN talks told
Poznan, Poland (AFP) Dec 1, 2008
War, hunger, poverty and sickness will stalk humanity if the world fails to tackle climate change, a 12-day UN conference on global warming heard on Monday.

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