Posts Tagged ‘European Parliament’

Eurofer sues the European Commission over BF benchmark

In July the European steel producers’ association, Eurofer, submitted its long-awaited legal suit against the Emissions Trading System (ETS). But whether or not its complaints carry legal weight, the suit is unlikely to be resolved for another two years. By that time steelmakers will already be facing the costs of phase III of the ETS. The only certain way to manage the costs of carbon trading therefore remains investment in energy efficiency and emissions reduction technologies. While the benchmark may be technically impossible to achieve while maintaining production levels, the difference in costs faced by the most and the least efficient European plants could have a significant impact on competitiveness.

SBB 22 July The European steel producers’ association, Eurofer, has filed a legal challenge to the European Commission’s carbon dioxide emissions benchmark for hot metal production. Eurofer claims that the EU’s wrongly-determined benchmark could cost the industry an additional €600m ($862m)/year from 2013 to 2020.

The benchmark – in C02 t/tonne hot metal – decides the number of free carbon credits each integrated steelmaker receives from 2013. It is meant to represent the average of the 10% most efficient plants.

However, the commission’s benchmark is technically unachievable, comments Eurofer director general, Gordon Moffat. “Nowhere in the world is there a steelworks that could operate its plant at the level of this benchmark,” he tells Steel Business Briefing.

At issue is the use of blast furnace off-gases to produce electricity. Eurofer wants all the steelmakers’ CO2 to be included in the benchmark.

In contrast, the commission argues that steelmakers should not be given free credits for electricity generation. It has calculated the amount of carbon dioxide that would be released if natural gas, rather than BF gases are used to generate power, and reduced the benchmark by that amount. Eurofer notes that the EU’s emissions trading directive allows free allocations to be given to electricity production from waste gases.

“The benchmark rules have been approved by EU member states and the European Parliament after a thorough consultation analysis. We are confident that court will side with us,” DG Climate Action spokesman, Isaac Valero-Ladron tells SBB.

Poland is also separately suing the commission over the benchmarks. Unless the European Court of Justice decides on fast tracking, the case could take two and a half years, Eurofer notes.

Eurofer plans to sue EC over carbon emissions

European steel producers have campaigned hard against the European Commissions proposed emissions benchmarks. Now Eurofer intends to launch a legal challenge in what may prove to be a final attempt to oppose them.

SBB 5 April European steel producers’ federation Eurofer has commenced legal proceedings against the European Commission’s (EC) benchmarks for carbon dioxide emissions. It will go to court if the benchmarks are adopted by the EC in mid-April, it tells Steel Business Briefing.

The benchmarks will set the number of free carbon credits steelmakers will receive in 2013-2020. For emissions over this level, companies will have to provide their own credits. The low level of the benchmarks could add €5bn to the €6bn cost of the Emissions Trading System for steel companies, Eurofer says.

The benchmarks are technically unachievable by even the most efficient integrated steelmakers, Eurofer complains. The best performing facilities in industries subject to international competition should receive free carbon credits to cover their emissions, says Eurofer director general, Gordon Moffat.

The EC is confident that it can defeat any legal challenge, a spokesman for its climate action unit tells SBB. The reason the benchmarks are lower than steelmakers would like is related to the use of blast furnace waste gases to generate electricity. Power companies will not receive any free credits in 2013-2020 while the steel industry will receive credits to cover 85% of the carbon dioxide in waste gases used to generate electricity, the spokesman points out. When the benchmarks come into effect in 2013, the steel industry could have 370m spare allowances to use in 2013-2020, he adds

Attempt to block GHG benchmarks fails

The European steel industry has claimed that the benchmarks set under the European Emissions Trading System could drive industry out of the continent. Whether or not its claims are true could now be put to the test as another attempt to block the benchmarks has failed.

SBB 18 March A proposal which questioned the legitimacy of the European Commission’s proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) benchmarks has been soundly defeated at the European Parliament’s environment committee, Steel Business Briefing learns. The proposal received nine votes in favour and 43 against. The benchmarks will decide the number of free carbon credits steelmakers receive in 2013-2020.

When the proposals were debated in February they received little support, as previously reported. The outcome was foreseeable, Eurofer agreed. Nevertheless, its position remains the same and it is still considering a legal challenge if the benchmarks are adopted by the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, the European Commission held a stakeholder conference on its ‘2050 Roadmap’ yesterday. This suggests a decrease in GHG emissions is possible beyond the 20% cut by 2020 the EU has already agreed. It is intended to pave the way for a more detailed proposal to be voted on by the European Parliament in June.

One of the most controversial proposals would set aside carbon credits to fund renewable energy projects. Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard brought up the idea herself, suggesting she could push for it to be included in any proposals.

Eurofer has warned that the move is at best market manipulation, and at worst illegal. They could “destroy the system they have created”, it adds.

Eurofer could go to court if GHG benchmarks are adopted

As the European Commission’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions benchmarks come ever closer to being adopted, steel associations seem to be reaching for new route of attack. The last attempt to defeat the benchmarks could now unfold in a court of law.

SBB 25 February Eurofer is considering launching a legal challenge against the European Commission’s proposed greenhouse gas benchmarks if they are adopted, it tells Steel Business Briefing. The benchmarks are currently being challenged at the European Parliament.

A draft resolution to force a vote on the legality of the greenhouse gas benchmarks for industry “will have little chance”, the office of Philippe Juvin, who proposed the resolution alongside six other MEPs, admits to SBB. The resolution will face a vote in the committee in mid-March. “Some members support us, but they are few.”

Many MEPs believe the steel industry has sufficient carbon credits to cover its needs, Eurofer suggests. MEPs are perhaps also keen to draw a line under the issue and move on to other matters. However, Eurofer believes that its case against the benchmarks is strong enough to stand up in court.

The benchmarks will decide the amount of free carbon credits allocated to the steel industry in 2013-2020. Steelmakers may have to buy in credits to cover any emissions over the benchmark figure. Eurofer has complained that the benchmarks are not technically achievable by even the most efficient European facilities.

ETS benchmarks likely to survive EU vote

The European Commission’s proposed benchmarks for greenhouse gas emissions have face strong opposition from steel producers. Attacks on the benchmarks at the European Parliament have been led by MEPs with heavily polluting steelworks in their cinstituencies, particularly in Eastern Europe. However, it seems they have been unable to secure support from other politicians.

SBB 18 February A draft resolution which would have forced the EC to withdraw their proposed benchmarks for greenhouse gas emissions was discussed in the European Parliament’s environment committee yesterday. Although nobody was available for official comment, Steel Business Briefing understands that the motion found little support.

The benchmarks will be used to determine the number of free carbon credits steelmakers receive under the Emissions Trading System (ETS) in 2013-2020. Eurofer has said that the benchmarks have been set too low and are not technically achievable, even by the most efficient European steelworks.

Konrad Szymanski, a Polish member of the European Parliament (MEP), called the benchmarks “discriminatory, disproportionate and ineffective.” However, other than the six MEPs who supported the draft resolution, few were in favour of the motion, sources suggest.

The motion will be voted on by the environment committee in mid March. If it is successful then the European Parliament could vote on the resolution in early April.

Emissions benchmarks face opposition in Europe’s Parliament

The benchmarks which will be used to determine free allocations of carbon credits from 2013 onwards have been a cause of much debate in the steel industry. An attempt is underway to challenge the benchmarks at the European Parliament. However, the benchmarks may have sufficient support to thwart the efforts of energy-intensive industries.

SBB 15 February The steel sector is one of three mentioned in a draft resolution which questions the legality of the European Commission’s proposed greenhouse gas emission benchmarks, Steel Business briefing understands. The draft, which has been submitted to the environment committee, could force the commission to make a new set of proposals.

The use of blast furnace waste gases is one of the issues raised by the resolution; the motion argues that the commission should provide free carbon credits for 100% of the emissions saved by this process. The proposed benchmarks, as they stand, would only compensate for some of these emissions. Other issues in the lime and dolomite, and refining, petrochemical and fertiliser sectors are also being argued.

Six members of the European Parliament have signed their names to the draft. Five were from the environment committee: Philippe Juvin of France, Pilar Ayuso of Spain, Jolanta Emilia Hibner of Poland, Radvilé Morkunaite-Mikuleniene of Lithuania, Theodoros Skylakakis of Greece and Boguslaw Sonik of Poland. In addition, Konrad Szymansky of Poland, from the Industry, Research and Energy committee also added his name.

The draft will be voted on by the environment committee in mid-March and, if approved, by the European Parliament in April.

MEPs suggest EC greenhouse gas benchmarks are illegal

SBB 11 February A group of six members of the European Parliament have submitted a draft resolution questioning the legality of the European Commission’s proposed industrial greenhouse gas benchmarks, Steel Business Briefing learns.

The benchmarks will determine the amount of free carbon credits allocated to the European steel industry under the Emissions Trading System (ETS) from 2013 onwards. Eurofer has said that the benchmarks have been set below what is technically possible to achieve.

The MEPs, members of the centre-right European People’s Party, have raised a number of complaints against the benchmarks. These include the issue of how steelmakers are allocated free credits for the combustion of waste gases to generate power, SBB understands.

The draft was submitted to the parliament’s environment committee yesterday. It will be voted on by the committee in mid-March and if approved, will be put before the European Parliament in early April, SBB is told.