Global temperatures are believed to have risen since the pre-industrialised area. The International Panel on Climate Control IPPC attributes this rise to manmade carbon emissions solely. In December 2008, the EU, decided to set the target of cutting carbon emissions in 2020 by 20% relative to 1990.  This is to be seen as a step towards reaching a carbon neutral economy in 2050.

Crushing and refining together represent less than 0,1% of all industrial carbon emissions in the EU. Nevertheless through ETS and Effort sharing these activities will also have to contribute to the goals of -20% carbon emissions in 2020.

The European Union (EU) implemented a greenhouse gas (GHG) allowance trading scheme (EU ETS) in 2005. In the first two trading periods of the scheme, running up to 2012, the allowances were freely allocated to installations basis historical emissions. During the third trading period, 2013 – 2020, allowances will be auctioned. Installations in sectors which are exposed to significant risk of carbon leakage will receive free allowances. Carbon leakage means “an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in third countries where industry would not be subject to comparable carbon constraints”. These free allowances, where feasible, will be based on a benchmark. A benchmark reflects a certain amount of emissions per unit of productive output.

Crushing and refining is a type of bulk processing that takes place all over the globe. To avoid production capacity relocating to outside of Europe as a consequence of an increase in production costs through carbon pricing, crushing has been classified as being at risk of carbon leakage. Crushing plants benefit from free emission allowances up to the benchmark. Crushing that is energy inefficient relative to the benchmark will have to buy allowances for complementary emissions , hence creating an economical incentive to reduce emissions.