Croatia Only EU Member State to Oppose Faster Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Total Croatia News

Another dubious distinction for Croatia.

Croatia was the only one of the 28 EU member states to vote against the proposal to speed up the pace of reducing greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. At a meeting of the EU Council at the ambassador level in Brussels on Wednesday, 25 member states supported the proposal, Croatia opposed it, while Poland and Hungary abstained from voting, confirmed several political sources in Brussels, reports Večernji List on November 24, 2017.

Croatian opposition has not stopped the major political and environmental project – the reform of the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), in which Croatia has been participating since 2013. The purpose of the system is to limit greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, which is released by more than 11,000 installations in the energy sector and energy-intensive industries, through the market cap restrictions and a trading principle.

The newly reformed system will put EU in a better position to fulfil its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030. The permissible quota of pollutants will be reduced by 2.2 percent annually from 2021, as opposed to current 1.74 percent.

Croatia’s move comes at the moment when the troublesome negotiations on the ETS reform, which began in 2015, finally concluded. Main opponents were Eastern European countries, especially Romania, Bulgaria and Poland, where coal power plants are heavily used. However, the compromise has been reached and the central provision remains that no money will be paid from the joint EU budget for fossil fuel power plants, except in one case. Funds for the modernisation of these facilities will only be available to those countries whose GDP reaches 35 percent or less of the average in the EU. These countries will be able to use the European money to move to less polluting fuels.

After the political agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, the deal will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. The Directive will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the official journal of the EU.

Croatia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy says that Croatia voted against the proposal because the legislative text did not unambiguously define the method for calculating auctioning rights for Croatia, which leaves the possibility for subsequent interpretation and which is not the case with other EU member states.

“The proposal puts Croatia at a disadvantage in relation to other member states when it comes to the total volume of emission allowances sold by countries at the auctions. In view of this, Croatia had requested harmonisation of the existing provisions which do not apply to it, since Croatia was not an EU member in 2005,” says the Ministry.

Croatia’s Member of the European Parliament Davor Škrlec said he was not informed about the vote in the EU Council, but pointed out that, when the European Parliament voted on the reform, Croatian MEPs split. Members from the ruling HDZ opposed this more ambitious reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. He added that he was surprised that Croatia would vote against it since funds from greenhouse gases trading can be used to withdraw money to modernise the industry. Škrlec said that the cement industry had been firmly against the faster reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Translated from Večernji List.


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