Only a third of EU member states have met the deadline for presenting their plans for cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
Just five of the European Union's 15 members managed to submit their plans for cutting carbon dioxide emissions to the EU Commission by the March 31 deadline. The EU executive had called for all member states to hand in their proposals for reducing greenhouse gases in preparation for the launch of the world's first multinational emissions trading system (ETS) on January 1, 2005. Brussels has to approve each of the national plans before it can begin setting up the trading system. Under the ETS, companies will receive an allotted amount of emission rights. If they succeed the amount, they will be allowed to buy "credits" from companies who fall below the emissions limit.
So far only Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Ireland have made the EU deadline. The Commission says it is confident that the 10 laggards will present their plans in a few weeks, and ETS will go ahead as planned. If a country can prove its plan was sent before the deadline, it is likely to escape a Commission infringement letter, which is basically a warning that legal action is pending. The ten new EU member states are also included in the new system and must hand in their allocation plans by May 1, when they become members of the European Union. (EUobserver.com)