EU fails to deliver on Paris Agreement by setting its carbon market for another decade of failure

Climate action

Today the EU institutions reached an agreement on the redesign of one of the bloc’s key climate policies, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

The agreement coincides with the UN Climate Summit COP23 in Bonn, where countries should make good progress towards increasing their 2030 climate pledges, in line with the conclusions of the latest Emissions Gap Report published by the United Nations Environment.

Instead of looking at ways to scale up climate action, the EU puts forward a reform that will keep its carbon market ineffective for another decade and falls dramatically short of what is needed to align it with the Paris Agreement. The EU also allows its flagship climate tool to keep funding coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel.

In reaction to the agreement, Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe said:

“The final result of this two-year process will have little impact on real emission reductions on the ground in the coming years.  A few Member States were able to push through substantial improvements to the original proposal from the European Commission, but these will bring positive impacts only in the long term.

The ETS will continue to play the role it has been playing the last couple of years, one close to meaningless. We now need to focus our attention on additional measures at the national level, such as the unilateral cancellation of the massive surplus of allowances. Through this insufficient reform, the EU institutions are undermining the concept of European action.

Instead of making polluters pay, the EU decided to do the exact opposite. It allowed its flagship climate tool to continue subsidizing coal plants. The criteria for projects that would be eligible for financing are too lenient to guarantee that support for coal comes to an end. The backdoor for funding coal through the ETS in countries in a dire need of transition remains open.”



Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator,, +32 494 525 738


[1] UN Environment, The Emissions Gap Report 2017,

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 140 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.