Coal-reliant Balkans seeking EU membership urged to weigh carbon tax

TREBINJE, Bosnia (Reuters) – An EU energy formal urged Western Balkan nations trying to find European Union membership to consider their personal carbon taxes to shelter their coal-reliant power sectors from the unexpected shock possible once they have to abide by more durable climate guidelines.

The European Union has set tackling local weather transform as a priority and aims to decrease internet greenhouse fuel emissions to zero by 2050.

It is also organizing a carbon border tax to clear away any aggressive gain individuals importing to the bloc could enjoy if their manufacturing is less expensive because it avoids the price of reducing pollution.

“Western Balkans coal power producers participate in the solitary European ability current market on an equivalent foundation as EU stakeholders, but they get a absolutely free pass when it comes to spending for their CO2 emissions,” Janez Kopac, the head of the Power Community Secretariat, advised an electricity forum in the Bosnian southern city of Trebinje on Friday.

“Should the carbon pricing system be released right now, all the region’s coal-fired energy plants would go bankrupt overnight,” he mentioned.

The Vitality Local community, proven by the EU and nine aspiring member states, six of which are in the Western Balkans, is established up to increase the bloc’s electrical power plan.

Most Western Balkan international locations have unsuccessful to fulfil the to start with need to meet up with EU industrial emissions benchmarks regardless of commitments their governments made in 2005.

Investigate revealed previous 12 months uncovered that fumes from 16, primarily Communist-period coal energy plants in the Western Balkans, were being liable for 3,900 fatalities on a yearly basis.

However, the location is arranging to add new coal potential, mainly lignite, which is broadly obtainable and low-priced, but extra polluting than other kinds of coal.

The EU applicant Montenegro, is the only regional nation to have released a law to limit the emission of greenhouse gases, as nicely as an emission buying and selling scheme for massive industrial emitters.

Kopac explained it could provide as an example to its Balkan peers, which could acquire the tax and re-commit it into vitality performance, renewable power capacities and a just transition of coal-reliant areas to lower carbon energy.

He mentioned that in 2019 the EU imported 21 terrawatt hrs (TWh) of electrical power up from 3 TWh in 2017.

“Imports jumped mainly because it pays off and the rate distinction is remarkable. But this is becoming a political difficulty for the EU as its customers are closing down their coal capacities and import electrical power from the encompassing region,” Kopac additional.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela enhancing by Barbara Lewis