Saturday, 15 March 2008

National vs International

As if to make my point in yesterday's blog The Role of Legislation, there are press reports today about Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, gaining promises from the EU that some of Germany’s heavy industry would be exempted from the legislation to curb global warming. Merkel won the deal in exchange for supporting a move to reduce VAT on some green consumer goods, such as low-energy light bulbs (a move which met with some derision at the Green IT Summit, along the lines of fiddling while Rome burns).

It was only last year that Merkel was seen as the main mover in getting the EU to agree the 20-20-20 plan, i.e. reducing emissions by 20% by 2020. This year, though, with her German Chancellor’s hat on and looking at converting the targets to national and international law, it’s a different story.

To be fair, the reason behind the concessions is that when the European legislation’s carbon trading scheme toughens up in 2013 the cost of carbon will make these heavy industry sectors uncompetitive with companies from other geographies (US and Far East) who don’t have the same constraints.

It just shows how important it is to have agreement on international targets to reduce emissions as well as a means to address them, otherwise it will be a case of chasing polluters around the world as they move to less restrictive regimes. It also shows what a complex environment it will be for international companies to address local emissions targets and compliance legislation, making IT support even more essential.

© The Green IT Review

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