Paul Golby, chief executive of energy group Powergen, has called on the Government to scale back the target it has set for industry to reduce carbon emissions.
When the European Union emissions trading scheme kicks in on 1 January next year, under the Government's national allocation plan, UK industry must cut emissions by 15.2 per cent.
This is the highest target set so far by a member state. By contrast, Austria and Italy will allow their industries to increase emissions. The UK's target is also higher than its commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, where it agreed to cut 1990 levels by 12.5 per cent.
Speaking to The Independent on Sunday last week, Mr Golby broke ranks to call publicly for a rethink. He said the Government must persuade the rest of the EU to set targets for the trading scheme in line with the UK's. If it cannot, and presses on with the original target, he warned there would be "screams" from British industry.
"It's the European Commission's job to make sure people are following the rules," he said. "The first step is to put pressure on the EC to persuade those countries to ... change their plans. If people are not following our lead we will ask the Government to look at our national allocation plan again."
Mr Golby said that the Kyoto targets of different countries should be used as a minimum for the emissions scheme. If other EU members do not set more ambitious targets, the UK's plan should be brought into line with its Kyoto commitment.
The European Commission has until September to consult and make any changes.