EU to host industry talks ahead of setting 2030 climate goals

LONDON Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:34pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - The European Commission will hold three meetings this summer on how to ensure the bloc's industries can compete in global markets while meeting goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it said on Wednesday.

The meetings aim to gather views on rules determining if companies can continue to receive free carbon permits under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) beyond 2020, when current measures expire.

They will also include how EU governments can fund the development of new technologies to help drive deep cuts in the heat-trapping emissions blamed for warming the planet.

The announcement follows the failure last month by EU leaders to agree on the bloc's 2030 energy and climate goals, instead setting an October deadline amid divisions over whether to firm up the plan well ahead of global talks on tackling climate change.

"The results of the consultations will provide input to the European Council's October 22-23 discussions on the 2030 climate and energy framework," the Commission said on its website.

The Commission in January proposed an EU-wide greenhouse gas reduction goal of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, deepening the current 2020 target of a 20 percent cut.

That target would lower the cap on emissions for over 13,000 companies under the ETS, which regulates around half of the bloc's greenhouse gas output and obliges firms to hold one carbon permit for every ton they emit.

Current rules entitle industrial companies such as chemical firm BASF and steelmaker ArcelorMittal receive the vast majority of their allowances for free to help them compete with rivals in regions with less stringent climate policies.

In January the Commission said it would continue the policy after 2020 "if other major economies do not take comparable climate action".

The EU is among a handful of bodies or nations that have agreed to legally-binding emission targets under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol but all nations have pledged to curb emissions under a new U.N. climate pact due to be signed in 2015 and to take effect from 2020.

The Commission said the first webstreamed meeting will be held on June 16, with the other two tentatively scheduled for July and September.

(here)

(Reporting by Ben Garside, editing by David Evans)

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