The Commission on Monday (15 may) said there could be many reasons why most EU countries fell short of planned CO2 emission quotas and refused to review down the number of allowances for the next trading period, which starts in 2008.
Official data published on 15 May showed a group of 21 EU countries, including big polluters such as Germany, were left with 44.1 million tonnes extra CO2 pollution credits in 2005, according to the Commission.
Of the major EU polluters, only the UK has emitted more than its quota, forcing it to buy over 30 million tonnes extra allowances on the EU carbon market. But this was not enough to offset the general trend for countries to be left with surplus allowances. The news has pushed carbon prices down, calling into question the credibility of the EU scheme.
Pressed by journalists, a spokesperson said the Commission would not revise guidelines stating that the EU-25 as a whole should aim for a further 6% cut in CO2 emissions for the 2008-2012 period compared with the first period (2005-2007).
He indicated that the January 2006 guideline document states emissions should be cut by "at least 6%" compared with the first trading period "because we knew emissions data would come in May".
"It is for the member states to use these figures for the second round of [national CO2 allocation plans]", he said, adding that the objective was to "see member states moving towards their Kyoto target".