EU Environment Ministers back more ambition in the Emission Trading Scheme

Climate action

Key EU Environment Ministers discussing the reform of the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) today expressed their support for measures to scale up emission cuts in the carbon market. Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe welcomes the support for more ambition, but at the same time urges EU decision makers to step up those cuts in order to be in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In reaction to the debate at the Environment Council today, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“A large number of EU countries support strengthening the ETS beyond what the European Commission has proposed. This comes right after a clear majority in the European Parliament voted for measures to raise the carbon price. We welcome progress, but the proposed measures are purely cosmetic. With carbon prices recently slipping below four euros, governments urgently need to overhaul the broken system, instead of just putting lipstick on a Zombie.”

Ministers from several EU countries, including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK intervened on the need to increase the price signal and bring the ETS in line with the Paris Agreement.

Last week the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) voted to increase annual emission cuts (via the so-called Linear Reduction Factor) from 2.2 to 2.4 percent per year and strengthen the Market Stability Reserve (MSR), which temporarily stores excess carbon permits.

However, the measures proposed by both the Ministers and the Parliament are still too weak to meaningfully impact the carbon price. CAN Europe urges EU decision makers to:

  • permanently cancel the massive glut of surplus pollution permits (by 2020, the ETS surplus will have grown to up to 4.5 billion; this is more than what the EU emits annually; under current reform proposals, these can be fully carried over to the next trading period);
  • substantially raise both the 2030 target and the annual Linear Reduction Factor in the run up to the UN climate summit in 2018 and then revise them every five years;
  • set the starting point from which the emissions budget will be calculated in 2021 based on where emission reductions actually are in order to avoid an oversupply on the market from the start of the new phase of the ETS.



Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator,, +32 494 525 738
Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director,, +32 473 170 887


[1] The next important moment in the reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) will be the vote in the European Parliament’s Plenary in February.

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 130 member organisations in more than 30 European countries – representing over 44 million citizens – CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.