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EU Pollution Push in Disarray on Debt Crisis Distracttion

• Ewa Krukowska & Alex Morales via Bloomberg.com
 

Europe’s program to halt climate change is in disarray with lawmakers in the region expressing concern the drift is undermining the planet’s most significant effort to combat global warming.

Representatives of political groups in the European Parliament’s environment committee tomorrow are set to discuss dates of new votes to revive a plan the full assembly rejected. It would have boosted the cost of greenhouse-gas emissions. The rebuff left the cost of pollution near a record low, leaving companies with less incentive to reduce emissions.

The situation “reflects a sea-change against climate policy,” said European Green Party Co-Chair Reinhard Buetikofer, who supported the plan. The effort to limit carbon gases “is not being perceived as an opportunity by industry but rather a burden,” he said, adding that the decision “destroyed the foundation of common European climate policy.”

With a recession in the countries sharing the euro in its second year, efforts to clean up the environment and spur renewables are taking a back seat to programs that bail out the most indebted countries and put people back to work. They herald a wider struggle to set new climate protection and renewable energy policies, and threaten to keep prices near historic lows in the Emissions Trading System, or ETS.

The region’s recession crimped manufacturing output, reducing pollution in the process. The EU’s failure to mop up surplus permits sent prices lower.

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