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Poland seeks allies to block EU carbon caps: report

by Staff Writers
Warsaw (AFP) Aug 6, 2008
Poland said Wednesday it was trying to gather support from fellow European Union members to block Brussels' curbs on carbon dioxide emissions, which Warsaw claims will hurt its economic growth.

"We are trying to find allies, especially among fellow EU newcomers," Michal Boni, a senior aide to Prime Minister Donald Tusk, was quoted as saying by Poland's PAP news agency.

"It's possible to build a blocking minority, and we're working on it," he said, referring to rules that allow a handful of the EU's 27 members to freeze union-wide decisions.

Warsaw is concerned about planned EU caps on emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the main gases held responsible for global climate change, and which is produced by burning coal.

The caps, set for each EU member state by the bloc's executive European Commission, are meant to encourage EU industry to switch to cleaner energy sources.

Poland had asked the commission for a 2008-2012 carbon dioxide quota of 284.6 million tonnes per year, but Brussels reduced it by 26.7 percent to 208.5 million tonnes.

Poland, which has a population of 38 million, generates 96 percent of its electricity in power stations fired by coal, much of it from the country's still-plentiful Silesian reserves in the south.

Polish experts say the country lacks the financial resources for a rapid switch to less-polluting fossil-fuel power stations, nor will it be able to turn to other energy sources fast enough to meet the needs of its economy.

Like several other ex-communist states that joined the EU in 2004, Poland has complained that Brussels is failing to take into account the needs created by rapid growth as it tries to catch up with its richer west European members.

Poland and several fellow newcomers have already launched legal action against the commission to try to get their quotas hiked.

Boni said it was time to step up resistance, because France, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, was pressing to settle the issue.

"The French presidency is trying to close this chapter. So we need to be even more active in defending our cause, which is economic development," he said.

"Negotiations are ongoing. It's a matter of finding a model which combines an effort to improve the climate with the energy security of different EU countries and economies," he added.

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EU and UN to link carbon trading registers by December: Brussels
Brussels (AFP) Aug 6, 2008
The European Commission on Wednesday said the EU will link its carbon trading market to the United Nations' scheme by December at the latest.

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