European Parliament votes against the climate and for more pollution
16 April 2013
Today the European Parliament regrettably voted to reject a proposal to temporarily revive the EU’s flagging carbon market, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). With carbon prices already at all-time lows, the vote will further undermine the security of investments into low-carbon technologies.
“After broad agreement that backloading alone would not solve the fundamental problems faced by the ETS, EU lawmakers need to get rid of the surplus toxic tonnes hanging like a dark shadow over the carbon market,” said Sam Van den plas of WWF. “In addition, the EU should stop handing out free allowances to a large majority of EU manufacturing industries since current carbon prices do not justify such gifts.”
NGOs were dismayed that elected lawmakers caved into a small but intense business lobby and became unwilling to support a short-term measure designed to help put the right price on pollution. Without EU-wide measures, Europe faces a lost decade of climate inaction. Member states must therefore swiftly implement national policies to support the ailing carbon market and EU climate ambition.
“It’s outrageous that Parliament seems to value polluting industry more than Europe’s green future,” said Julia Michalak of CAN Europe. “Since Parliament has made it clear that they don't support backloading, we now urge all branches of EU government to propose alternative solutions to support Europe's transformation into a low-carbon economy.”
But EU ETS reform is still on the table. The backloading proposal has been referred back to the Parliament's Environment Committee, awaiting the outcome of the Commission’s reflections. We call on all EU policy-makers, including the Parliament, to come up with robust proposals to increase EU climate action.
Editor’s notes: Our campaign
Ahead of the plenary vote, last week NGOs staged a live carbon “auction” in front of the European Parliament in Brussels with outlandish bidders and a giant black balloon representing one tonne of CO2 emissions.
High resolution images of the event are available here. Please credit Lode Saidane/CAN Europe/WWF if reproducing the photographs. A video of the “auction” is available here.
For more information on the ETS and our position on reforming the system to make it work, see our briefing ‘EU ETS at a crossroads - NGO Briefing - January 2013’.