Climate sanctions sought against US
German party launches effort
The International Herald Tribune, Dec. 19, 2007
The move, after the United Nations climate conference last week in
It also signals a big effort by the Social Democrats to take the initiative on the environment and perhaps reshape it as a foreign policy issue that could affect relations between
Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken the lead on climate change, both domestically and internationally, leaving her junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats, frustrated. The opposition Greens have also lost ground on an issue they had long dominated.
But with three important state elections next year, the Social Democrats, still floundering in the opinion polls, are revamping their program to stem the decline of public support, party officials say.
"Merkel has made climate change a big issue and has tried to bring the Bush administration on board, so far without success," said Ulrich Kelber, deputy parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats and an environmental specialist who is leading the campaign to impose levies on energy-intensive
"We cannot let the
US officials and the American Chamber of Commerce in
Environmentalists inside the Social Democratic Party and in the European Parliament said the idea behind levying taxes went beyond pressuring the Bush administration to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gases.
They also want to widen the European carbon emissions system, which at the moment excludes steel and other intensive energy products imported by EU member states.
Unless such products are included, they said, it was unrealistic to believe that the trading system could reduce climate change significantly.
The EU's emission trading program was launched in January 2005, becoming the first international trading system for carbon dioxide emissions.
It covers more than 11,500 energy-intensive installations across the EU, which represent nearly half of
The installations include oil refineries, coke ovens, iron and steel plants and factories making cement, glass, lime, brick, ceramics, pulp and paper.
Earlier attempts by
Turmes said Verheugen wanted to protect industry and
"What we don't want is a situation where the