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Learning English - Words in the News
06 December, 2006 - Published 15:25 GMT
EU greenhouse gases
greenhouse gasses, a cause of climate change

The European Commission says 10 EU countries will have to change their plans to cut greenhouse gasses. The Emissions Trading scheme was created so that Europe could make the necessary changes on climate change, as required by the Kyoto agreement.

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All ten of the countries in the spotlight today were told that their national allocation plans would need to be revised in some way, in order to meet the EU's proposal to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Some countries, notably Latvia and Lithuania, will need to halve the limits they set, whilst Britain was the only country whose CO2 targets were acceptable.

In publishing his report on the next round of the Emissions Trading Scheme, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said that there needed to be an overall 7% reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. The scheme, which started two years ago, is Europe's way of cutting back on gasses which are linked to climate change.

The so-called 'cap and trade' system sets targets for CO2 emissions and allows countries to buy permits if the target is not met - or sell them if they fall below it. Contrary to what was intended, the price of carbon has been falling of late because many EU countries have been over-generous with how much CO2 they permitted their industries to emit.

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in the spotlight
in the news, being talked about at the moment, receiving a lot of attention right now

the amount or quantity of something that an individual or group is allowed to make or have

waste products given off, or produced, as a result of industrial processes

particularly, especially

to halve
to reduce an amount or number by 50%

stage, step

cutting back

official licences which allow somebody (here, countries) to do something (here, produce or emit high levels of greenhouse gasses)

contrary to
the opposite of

of late
lately, recently NB: ‘of late’ is slightly more formal than ‘lately’

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