Environmental Levy

Firms Attack French Pollution-Tax Plan

Wasserdampf steigt vor dem farbenprächtigen Morgenhimmel am 10.12.2014 aus den Kühltürmen des Braunkohlekraftwerkes der Vattenfall AG in Jänschwalde (Brandenburg). Am gleichen Tag findet in Cottbus eine weitere Sitzung des Braunkohlenausschusses statt. Vattenfall plante bislang, den Tagebau Jänschwalde nördlich von Cottbus ab Mitte der 2020er Jahre um das Feld Jänschwalde-Nord zu erweitern und zusätzlich 250 Millionen Tonnen Braunkohle zu fördern. Sogar ein neues Kraftwerk ist im Gespräch. Allerdings ist seit Ende Oktober bekannt, dass der schwedische Staatskonzern seine Braunkohle-Sparte in der Lausitz verkaufen will. Was das letztlich für die Planungen zum Gruben-Ausbau heißt, ist unklar. In der Sitzung soll auch der Vorsitz des Braunkohlenausschusses neu besetzt werden. Foto: Patrick Pleul/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
German energy and steel firms are notorious polluters.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The current low price of carbon emissions certificates is a bonus for companies, who can offset their emissions cheaply. If France succeeds in persuading the European Union to impose a minimum price, it could eat into profits.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The right to emit a tonne of carbon dioxide currently costs about €5 ($5.70).
    • At its peak in the summer of 2008 it hit €30.
    • France argues that the low prices means companies have no incentive to reduce emissions.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

German industrial companies are up in arms about French calls to impose a minimum price on carbon emissions certificates to incentivize businesses to focus on energy efficiency.

In particular, German steel makers complain that the proposals make a mockery of the idea that the market can set the price of the certificates.

Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, president of the German Steel Federation, told Handelsblatt that the whole point of emissions trading certificates was that the market can set the price of the certificates.

Besides, he added, significant price increases are to be expected in the coming years. “To avoid billions in costs and ensure that the steel industry remains competitive internationally, an economically and technically feasible allocation is crucial,” Mr. Kerkhoff explained.

The right to emit a tonne of carbon dioxide under the EU emissions trading scheme currently costs about €5 ($5.70). At its peak, several years ago, it hit €30.

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