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Ministers in Paris discuss Lithuania’s outlook after nuclear plant shutdown

2008-10-01

On 1 October, in Paris, Lithuanian Environemnt Minister Artūras Paulauskas met Jean-Louis Borloo, the French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development and Planning. The meeting was also attended by Vytas Navickas, the Lithuanian Minister of Economy, Aleksandras Spruogis and Anicetas Ignotas, secretaries of the ministries of Environment and Economy, respectively.

It was the second meeting of the Lithuanian Environment and Economy ministers with Mr J. L. Borloo.  The first meeting was held at the end of June in Vilnius. On that occasion, the guest from France presented his country’s priorities for the European Union chairmanship.  There was an exchange of opinions on further EU position regarding climate change and energy issues.  These issues were also discussed in Paris on the 1 October meeting.

According to Artūras Paulauskas, the Lithuanian Environment Minister, Lithuania supports EU legal proposals in climate change and energy sectors and positively evaluates French efforts to ensure that all European countries come to a consensus on those issues.  However, the minister noted these proposals disregard Lithuania’s exceptional situation in terms of electric energy supply as well as the socio-economial effects of the Ignalina nuclear power plant closure at the end of 2009.

Once the operation of the nuclear plant, which today generates close to 70 percent of the country’s electric energy, is stopped, the amount of greenhouse gases emited to the atmosphere will increase by 5 million tons per year, in comparison to the 2005 levels.  This will be due to increased energy production by thermal power plants.  Whilen other EU countries are finally taking steps towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Lithuania will be forced to increase such emissions twice, as well as to double energy prices for its population, the minister said.

There are two ways to moderate these effects, Mr Paulauskas suggested. First, until a new nuclear power plant is built in Lithuanian in 2018, the country’s thermal plants that will have to increase energy output in the meantime could be granted free greenhouse gas quotas. Another possibility would be to increase the number of auctionable emissions for the country.

Minister Arturas Paulauskas also noted that during preparation of EU legal acts, the efforts to reduce released greenhouse gases by the Member States of the Union were not properly considered. When EU countries’ obligations to carry out certain actions in order to reach the 2020 goals were defined, the year 2005 was selected as a baseline year; which does not enable a proper assessment of the countries’ advancement made since 1990. As a result, for countries with greater improvement in the area, the obligations were set too high.

Public information department, tel. +370 5 266 3660

1 Oct 2008

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas