Germany backs plan to shore up carbon price

The cap-and-trade permit system is the EU’s flagship policy for meeting its climate goals by regulating emissions at 11,000 industrial and power installations. (Reuters)
Updated 28 February 2017

Germany backs plan to shore up carbon price

BRUSSELS: Germany will back a plan to strengthen carbon prices, a senior official said on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting of EU environment ministers on balancing the needs of industry with cutting emissions in reforming the carbon market.
EU member states such as Germany, Italy, Austria and Greece are prioritizing measures to ensure that regulation does not drive big industry abroad, while poorer, coal-reliant nations in Central and Eastern Europe are keen to get the most generous provisions possible to help modernize their economies.
Last week the European Parliament (EP) adopted a draft reform of the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) and environment ministers meeting in Brussels are keen for swift adoption of what will be its first big piece of climate legislation since the EU ratified the Paris accord on global warming.
The cap-and-trade permit system is the EU’s flagship policy for meeting its climate goals by regulating emissions at 11,000 industrial and power installations. It has suffered from excess supply since the financial crisis, which depressed prices.
But EU nations are divided over the level of ambition in measures to strengthen prices, how much protection industry needs to remain competitive and how best to manage funds to help laggards modernize their economies.
Sweden and France are leading a push to shore up carbon prices by doubling the rate at which the scheme’s Market Stability Reserve (MSR) soaks up excess allowances and a mechanism for canceling surplus permits after five years.
Although 10 nations back this plan, EU diplomats had feared it would not carry enough weight without Germany’s backing. A minimum of 16 member states is required to back the compromise deal, representing at least 65 percent of the total EU population.

“The MSR has to be strengthened, we support that,” Jochen Flasbarth German state secretary for the environment told journalists ahead of Tuesday’s meeting. But big differences remain on other aspects of the reforms: “We have a lot to discuss ... with a bit of flexibility we can get there.”
The ETS is the EU’s main tool to achieve its goal of a 43 percent cut in greenhouse gases from industry and power plants compared with 2005. If ministers fail to find common ground, they will next take up the issue in June, delaying reforms.
“Europe has to keep its leadership in the climate arena,” French Environment Minister Segolene Royal told reporters. “We have to protect our industries but only up until a certain point, without it leading to a fall in the carbon price.”


Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

Updated 14 August 2020

Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

  • Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store
  • Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games

NEW YORK: Apple and Google dropped the popular game Fortnite from their app stores after the game’s developer introduced a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.
Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games, which has long been a sore spot with developers.
Fortnite is free, but users can pay for in game accoutrements like weapons and skins. Its developer, Epic Games, said in a blog post Thursday that it was introducing Epic Direct payments, a direct payment plan for Apple’s iOS and Google Play. Epic said the system is the same payment system it already uses to process payments on PC and Mac computers and Android phones.
Apple and Google said the service violates their guidelines.
“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services,” Apple said in statement.
Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store. Android users can download the app from other app stores, although that’s generally not an option for iPhone users.
Epic Games did not immediately return a request for comment. Epic’s Fortnite Twitter account said the company would debut a new short film called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” a seeming parody of Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. It has also filed a complaint against Apple in the US District Court in Northern California for dropping Fortnite.