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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Emissions plan goes to Brussels
Gas emissions
Greenhouse gases stop energy escaping from the Earth's surface
Britain is to deliver its plan for cutting greenhouse gases to the European Commission on Friday.

Business leaders say that industry must work with environmental groups to ensure the plan is workable.

The CBI has warned that harsh limits will put British businesses at a disadvantage not only in the EU, but in the global economy.

But environmental experts believe the EU's plan to limit the gases by issuing emission permits is flawed.

"We really must work with environmental lobbies to ensure that we can set an example," CBI director general Digby Jones told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Britain is ahead of the rest of Europe on meeting its [carbon dioxide] objectives anyway. What I'd like to see is business being seen as helping us stay ahead.

"This isn't a 'we're right and they're wrong' - I'd like to work together."

Financial incentive

By next year, all large industrial plants in the EU must match emissions of carbon dioxide with permits issued by government.

If the companies want to pollute more, they will have to purchase spare permits from companies who have extra ones, because they have cut their emissions.

Factory, AP

The idea is to provide a financial incentive for investing in cleaner technology.

But experts say EU governments have been too generous in giving out the permits. As a result, the price has collapsed and that is undermining the plan.

For example, Italy and Austria are allowing industry to increase emissions by about 10%.

>As the British government is set to reveal its plan to limit the emissions, a London-based bank that specialises in environmental investment has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair to urge him not to weaken his position.

James Cameron, of Climate Change Capital, speaking on Today, said the CBI's concerns were "hysterical in tone" and that industry could no longer play an "old-style" competitiveness game when it came to greenhouse gas emissions.


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