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EU court rejects Poland appeal to alter distribution of carbon credits

The EU General Court [official website] on Thursday ruled [text] against Poland in an appeal [materials] challenging the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) [EU backgrounder] mechanism for distributing free-carbon permits. Poland had claimed that the law was inequitable in its effect as it failed to take into consideration the energy portfolio of each of the individual member states when it created its carbon-efficiency benchmarks. The ETS is a cap-and-trade system which many feel has the potential to create an economic hardship on the eastern European nation which is largely reliant on carbon-heavy coal as an energy source. In denying [Reuters report] the Polish claim, the court recognized the potential to harm those eastern nations which are largely dependent on coal but did not determine that impact was the result of an inequitable enforcement of the law.

The EU's cap-and-trade system model of limiting carbon output has created controversy both in and out of Europe. In December 2011 the EU's highest court upheld [JURIST report] carbon-dependent fines against airlines for emissions. Enforcement of penalties against airlines began in 2012 after the scheme was upheld by a lower EU court despite claims by the US which alleged that the scheme violated international treaty [JURIST reports].

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