Brussels: European Union lawmakers will vote on Tuesday on whether to support sweeping cuts in carbon emissions from coal plants and tweaks to EU climate change proposals which would ease costs for industry.
Costs of environmental legislation have taken on a particularly acute significance at a time when industry must grapple with the effects of a worldwide economic crisis.
Members of the European Parliament will also consider how to split the burden of curbing carbon dioxide emission between the EU’s 27 nations on what has been dubbed “Super Tuesday” for the sheer volume of environment laws to be voted.
During the morning session, they will set the EU Parliament position on how to spend $40.77 billion or more that EU member states will earn annually from selling carbon emissions permits from 2013.
Until now, utilities have received most permits free, landing them billions of euros in windfall profits. From 2013, they will have to buy them in state-run auctions which will divert the money to member state coffers.
Proposals for spending the billions raised from auctioning emissions permits include forest conservation, spurring the development of green technology and helping developing countries adapt to climate change.
Some lawmakers have proposed raising the limits on carbon offsetting for EU industry -- allowing companies to meet their EU caps on carbon emissions more cheaply by paying for emissions cuts in developing countries.
But other lawmakers hope to scale back offsetting schemes to keep all investments in emissions reduction within the 27-nation bloc.
The afternoon session is devoted to subsidies for an untested technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS), which involves trapping CO2 from power stations and burying it underground, for example in depleted gas fields.
Members will consider selling emissions permits supposedly reserved for new-build factories and power plants to find the 10 billion euros needed to kick-start CCS pilot projects. They will also look at whether to encourage the power sector to apply CCS to new coal plants.