EU EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME (ETS): a debate on Industry, not on environment… EU parliament rejects plan to boost carbon trading...

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The European Parliament has rejected a plan to rescue the EU's ailing carbon trading scheme. Members narrowly voted against a so-called "backloading" proposal that would have cut the huge surplus of allowances currently being traded. Because of this excess, the price of carbon on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has plunged to less than 5 euros a tonne. But opponents won the day by arguing the plan would push up energy costs.
The European Commission proposed withholding around 900 million allowances from the market over the next two years. The hope was that this "backloading" proposal would promote scarcity and would drive up the price, while industry would make low carbon investments and modernize its plants and structures.

The move was backed by a number of European energy companies which placed a full page advertisement in the Financial Times urging a "yes" vote in the Parliament.  But industries that use a large amount of energy were angered by the proposal. They said that the low price of carbon accurately reflected the economic reality of a Europe struggling with a slump for the past four years. They said that backloading would put many companies at a significant competitive disadvantage to businesses in the US which have benefitted from lower energy costs thanks to shale gas.

Despite political backing from the UK, France and Italy, MEPs voted against the proposal by 334 votes to 315 with more than 60 abstentions. It will now go back to the Parliament's environment committee for further consideration.

Some environmental groups were furious that the plan had been rejected. According to Joss Garman, political director of Greenpeace UK, it cast doubt on the future of the scheme.

What emerge from this debate is that the European Institution are missing the real objective of such a plan: protect the environment. And on this matter, Europe has not yet taken significant decisions.


BBC, April 16th , 2013