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Spain: Greenhouse Cuts to Affect Electricity Rates

Spanish Environment Minister Narbona said Monday that meeting targets to reduce greenhouse gases will lead to higher household electricity bills.

As Europe readies itself to cut greenhouse gases in line with EU and Kyoto Protocol obligations, the Spanish government has warned that domestic electricity prices will rise. Environment Minister Cristina Narbona said for the first time Monday that meeting greenhouse gas targets will affect domestic electricity prices, while vowing to limit the impact on consumers. "Without doubt they (prices) will rise," she said presenting a preview of Madrid’s plan for allocating and trading CO2 emission quotas to companies. Although the EU plan for emissions trading does not include domestic consumers, the Spanish government has vowed to work on the principle of "polluter pays." "It is not (only) industry that should act against diffuse excessive emissions," Narbona said. Spain has seen major economic growth since the environmental agreements were made as well as since its 1990 "base year" of 1990 against which targets are measured, making aims more difficult to reach. Spain has vowed to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2012, based on 1990 levels. But the country has already increased emissions by 41 percent since 1990, according to the government’s own figures. (EUobserver.com)