The buzzword in the Brussels energy and climate bubble is 450, a number that is dividing European Union lawmakers and making coal-dependent Poland fume over upcoming reforms to the world’s biggest carbon market.
Negotiators representing the 28-nation bloc and its member states will meet on Nov. 8 to overhaul the Emissions Trading System, the EU’s flagship climate-policy tool to reduce greenhouse gases.
Discussions have stalled over a new modernization fund, with some lawmakers pushing to restrict financing just to utilities that emit less than 450 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour, a move that would make aid unavailable to coal-fired power plants.
Coal-reliant Poland is fighting the measure, with Prime Minister Beata Szydlo threatening to intervene at the next meeting of EU leaders if the overhauls cut funding to the country’s existing plants. Western European companies including Siemens AG and Eni SpA have joined environmental lobbies supporting an emission limit for aid to align EU policy with more ambitious climate goals.
“There is a risk that the ETS modernization fund for eastern member states may unintentionally support considerable investments in carbon-intensive electricity production,” Ronald Busch, managing board member at Siemens, said in an interview. “Setting a CO2 limit would bring investments in line with Europe’s climate ambition.”
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