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John Bowis gives lukewarm welcome to EU climate and energy package

John_bowisJohn Bowis, Conservative environment spokesman in the European Parliament, has given a qualified welcome to the Parliament's adoption of the European Union's Climate and Energy package.

Small businesses and hospitals have been exempted from the Emissions Trading Scheme and carbon capture and storage technology projects have secured funding. But a Conservative amendment - to make coal-fired power stations capture their CO2 in order to be approved - was defeated.

Mr Bowis comments:

"We give two cheers for the Climate and Energy Package MEPs have agreed, Conservative MEPs have striven for ambitious measures to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

We are disappointed that Europe's governments, including Britain, failed to provide a lead to the world and agreed to water down the proposals, particularly on emissions trading. However we have supported the package so that industry has greater certainty and can begin to meet the challenges we have set. We can look to the Copenhagen Climate Change conference next December with the tools in place to reduce the greenhouse gases that threaten us.

It is disappointing that the Emissions Trading Scheme has been watered down in key areas, such as the amount of emission allowances to be allocated by auctioning and by the complex methodology agreed for allocating free allowances. It is also sad that governments would not commit to earmarking some of the revenues generated from auctioning for tackling climate change. That money will now disappear into the Chancellor's coffers rather than supporting eco-innovation and new technologies, supporting adaptation in developing countries and protecting forests around the world.

There have been welcome improvements on Renewable Energy, where our demand for rigorous sustainability criteria on biofuels has been agreed.

It is time to act on our commitment to cut emissions by at least 20% by 2020. It is a start. At Copenhagen we must set higher targets for the future."

It is noteworthy that Mr Bowis accepts so readily that limiting carbon emissions is worth such a cost. It is understandable to worry about money going into "the Chancellor's coffers" when Labour have been so profligate in the past - but is eco-innovation and public funding of new technologies a good use of taxpayers' money? Over to you ...


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