e5 Press Statement in Poznan (COP 14)

Poznan, Dec 5, 2008: The economic crisis must not be abused as a pretext for retrogressive industry policies at the climate conference in Poznan. This demand is brought forth by the Chief Executive Director of the cross-sectoral European business association European Business Council for Sustainable Energy (e5), Sebastian Gallehr. He warns the German chancellor of yielding to the demands of Poland and other states for further free-of-charge emission rights for energy producers in the context of climate protection. Gallehr assumes that Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, will bring up these demands once again at the talk with the chancellor which is scheduled for this weekend and at the joint Polish-German cabinet session on Tuesday.

The European Parliament and Commission are willing to entirely auction emission rights of the third trade period (2013 – 2020). This would mean considerable income reductions for Poland’s energy companies which operate a significantly large number of old coal power plants. But Poland does not stand alone concerning these demands, Gallehr ascertains. In the corridors of the climate conference, a suggestion currently is being discussed according to which all countries whose energy supply contains an allotment off coal exceeding 30 per cent should receive free-of-charge emission rights for several years to come.

Gallehr, whose business council represents about 120 companies and business associations promoting sustainable energy economy, considers this to be a fatal signal to the entire European economy. Of all things, the most outrageous CO2-emitters would procure unjustifiably large profits to the disadvantage of both the environment and European industry. Continuation of the significant Windfall Profits would paralyze the endeavor for efficient, climate-friendly energy generation, distribution and usage throughout the economy.

„Free-of-charge emission rights for power plant operators would definitely not cause lower energy prices, but the signal would be fatal for those businesses that recognise the necessity to transform their production processes towards a sustainability path“, Gallehr said. „Even now, many businesses are irritated because of unjustified high profits to the disadvantage of the general public. We cannot afford to continue supporting technologies which are not fit for the future. This has to be terminated after 2012 at the latest.“
Such incentive policies would create future investment ruins, Gallehr stated. His business association therefore opposes any softening of the EU targets regarding climate protection and particularly regarding emission trade, he said. At the Poznan negotiations, the European Business Council for Sustainable Energy(e5) engages against adverse preliminary decisions and determinations concerning the climate protection accord which is scheduled for Copenhagen.

Gallehr also renewed his demands concerning the European economic stimulus programmes which are currently to be launched. They should concentrate on innovative, resource-friendly technologies and structural measures for energy efficiency. This would support small and medium-sized businesses and, by virtue of an immense job creation effect, initiate the desired boost of consumer demand. He referred as an example the situation of Chancellor Merkel’s nation. A still unpublished study by the German environmental ministry, states that a reduction of CO2 emissions amounting to 40% (based on 1990 emissions) would lead to the creation of 500.000 new jobs. Even now, there are already two million Green Jobs in Germany, Gallehr said. Thus especially Germany should play a leading role in Europe concerning these developments. Europe should, by purposeful economic stimuli, expand its position as market leader by supporting energy-efficient technologies and defend this position against increasing competition from Japan and the USA. In this respect, Gallehr said: „We will only be able to unleash European innovation potential if we concentrate our available technological and financial means in our own region, i.e. the European Union.“ For this reason, his business association advocates a moderate and intelligent employment of project-based climate protection instruments, like the CDM.