Written Answers. - Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

344 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government the preparations his Department is making for the impending introduction of a European directive on emissions trading; the way in which his Department will decide on the overall quota allocation for Irish industrial emissions; and the proposed process for the quantification of current emissions and the allocation of quotas for individual companies. [18593/03]

An EU Directive establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC – relating to integrated pollution prevention and control – is being finalised.

In prospect of the formal adoption of the directive, the Government has decided that the EPA will be responsible for implementing the directive in Ireland. The agency is to be designated as the National Allocation Authority to design and implement, by 31 March 2004, a national allocation plan, in accordance with the requirements of the directive, which will determine the amount of greenhouse gas allowances to be allocated to each participating installation. In the development of the plan, the agency will be assisted by a national allocation advisory group, under an independent chairperson, and comprising the chief executives, or senior nominees, of Forfás, Sustainable Energy Ireland, the National Treasury Management Agency and the Commission for Energy Regulation.

The total quantity of allowances to be allocated to the installations engaged in emissions trading in the period 2008-12 must be consistent with achieving our obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to limit annual emissions in this period to 13% above 1990 levels. The Government has decided to engage consultants to advise it on the most economically efficient apportionment of the national target between those inside and outside trading, and derived from this, the quantity to be allocated to the trading system in the pilot phase, 2005-07. The allocation for this period must take account of the progressive reductions of emissions required towards achievement of the national Kyoto obligation while also recognising the "learning by doing" nature of the pilot phase.

The EPA will also be required to issue greenhouse gas emission permits to participating installations. These permits will require installations to monitor their emissions and have this monitoring independently verified. The agency will also oversee the annual surrender of allowances equal to emissions by each installation and if necessary will collect the penalties specified in the directive for non-compliance. I have also asked the agency to pursue the establishment of a national emis sions trading registry to track trades and holdings of allowances.
The costs accruing to the agency from operating the scheme will, to the extent possible, be recouped from those participating. Given the tight timeframe for implementation of the directive, I have asked the EPA to proceed urgently in its new tasks on an interim basis, pending enactment of the necessary legislation.