New greenhouse gas emission limits
for Scotland's largest emitters were set by the Scottish Executive on Tuesday
24 May. Environment Minister Ross Finnie published the restrictions, which
aim to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2008.
Some 116 Scottish installations,
which account for 40 percent of the country's CO2 emissions, have been
asked to meet the new targets. The companies include electricity generators,
refineries and manufacturing plants.
The aim of the new targets is to reduce
their expected emissions by 6.5 million tonnes over the next three years.
The plan forms part of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU
ETS), which allows organisations to trade in the emerging European carbon
The EU ETS allows member states to set an emission cap for a set
with each participant allocated a tradable CO2 emission allowance.
limit is produced as part of a National Allocation Plan (NAP) and
sets out the total quantity of allowances a country intends to allocate for
those involved. If an emitter manages to reduce emissions below its allowance
level then it
will have a surplus of allowances left over which it can either trade
with other companies, or keep for its own future use.
The EU believes the
element will encourage participants to reduce their emissions so
sell the surplus to others. It is hoped the scheme will help drive
down CO2 levels
in a more cost-effective manner in each member country.
global terms, Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions are small but are still important
in terms of the contribution to climate change.
"Our objective is to strike
a fair balance between the need to protect the environment and the needs of
our economy and society.
"Emissions trading will be a major contributor
to this by offering a flexible and cost-effective way to achieve emission reductions."
UK Emissions Trading Registry (ETR), which enables allowances
to be transferred between participants, comes under the wing of the Department
Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).