Environment ministers meeting today (25 October) in Luxembourg will attempt to break the impasse over the issue of whether tradable emissions allowances (AAUs) awarded during the Kyoto Protocol's first period can be held over into a new period beginning on 1 January 2013.
Virtually all other areas of the EU's negotiating mandate for the forthcoming UN climate summit in Doha from 26 November to 7 December have been agreed. But the paragraph on AAUs remains open because Poland is refusing to sign off on anything that will not allow the country to trade its excess AAUs in the future. Poland and other eastern European countries were awarded far larger allowances than they needed in Kyoto's first period. Western European states say allowing these AAUs to be held over would render Kyoto II useless.
Negotiating mandate conclusions have customarily been adopted only by unanimity. But environment campaigners are calling for these to be adopted by qualified majority if necessary, saying there is actually no legal requirement for unanimity.
Ministers will also adopt conclusions reacting to the outcome document produced at the UN's Rio+20 summit in June. A Commission proposal on ship recycling will also be discussed by the ministers. The proposal implements the international Hong Kong Convention, adopted in May 2009 by the International Maritime Organisation. The Cyprus presidency has put forward a proposed compromise text which calls for the EU to put the requirements into place more quickly than suggested by the previous Danish presidency.
A list of European ship-recycling facilities should be published “without delay”, according to the text, and new, stricter rules should apply shortly thereafter. Campaign group Shipbreaking Platform has warned that the Commission's proposal would conflict with a previous regulation implementing the Basel Convention on hazardous waste shipments. The European Parliament has yet to debate the issue.