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Poland moves to end dispute with EC on carbon

Poland will ask the European Commission for a new carbon dioxide emission permits quota of 208.5 million tons a year, it said in a statement on Tuesday, in a compromise likely to help end a long dispute with Brussels.

Poland had originally requested 284.6 million a year of the permits, called EUAs, under the bloc's scheme to fight global warming. But it was only given 208.5 million by the European Commission.

A European tribunal then ruled that the decision to grant Warsaw the lower amount was unjustified, opening the way for new negotiations.

“We were arguing for more, but the Commission was arguing for an even tighter limit than 208.5 and that's what we have settled for,” a Polish source close to the negotiations told Reuters.

Warsaw had originally sought the higher quota by saying its rapidly expanding economy and growing energy demand would suffer from tighter limits.

But the economic downturn brought a fall in energy demand and much slower economic growth, giving the European Commission arguments to propose still fewer of the permits to Poland for this accounting period, which ends in 2012.

“We agreed for 208.5 because we have signals from the Commission, that they would accept that. Soon we will get new emissions data from the real economy, which could give the EC arguments for further tightening of the limit,” the source said.

Poland, the biggest ex-communist European Union member, relies for more than 90% of its electricity needs on highly polluting coal. (Reuters)