Future of Europe’s climate policy in hands of European Parliament

Climate action

On 15 February, the European Parliament will vote on the redesign of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for the coming decade. The Parliament’s decision is the most important political milestone on the way to turn the ETS into an effective climate protection tool and incentivise polluting industries to embrace the shift to a green economy.

The Parliament’s Environment Committee, which is leading on the reform proposals, agreed on its position in December. In an effort to boost ambition of the revision, it proposed to increase annual emission cuts (via the so-called Linear Reduction Factor) from 2.2 to 2.4 percent per year starting in 2021 and to reduce the number of emission permits by strengthening the Market Stability Reserve, which temporarily stores their surplus.

On the other hand, the committee refused to align the starting level of the new carbon budget with actual emissions. Lack of such measure will create a new large surplus of pollution permits on top of the existing one, thus even further depressing the already extremely low carbon price. Ahead of the plenary vote on 15th, an amendment on the starting level has been re-tabled.

Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“The Parliament needs to vote for the report from the environment committee as a bare minimum. It is a very small step in the right direction, but still falls short from turning the ETS into a functioning tool. Members of Parliament also need to support the starting point amendment, as it is the single most important proposal on the table to tackle the low carbon price.”

CAN Europe is alarmed by the fact that some political parties tabled amendments that would water down the environment committee’s report. These include proposals from the conservative parties to lower the rate at which emission allowances are removed from the market every year from 2.4 back to 2.2 percent and to allow revenues from the ETS to subsidize coal power plants in lower income Member States.

Wendel Trio added:

“It is regrettable that some lawmakers prioritize the interests of polluting industries over protecting European citizens from the climate crisis. Backtracking from the environment committee report would be a betrayal of the spirit of the Paris Agreement. The Parliament has ratified the Paris Agreement and now it needs to walk its talk by voting for an ambitious reform of the ETS.”


[1] All amendments available here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/report-details.html?reference=A8-0003-2017. Aligning the starting level of the new carbon budget with actual emissions: amendment 150; lowering the rate at which emission allowances are removed from the market every year to 2.2 percent: amendment 142; revenues from the ETS to subsidize coal power plants in lower income Member States: amendments 152 and 153.

[2] A petition calling on MEPs to support ambitious reform of the ETS, launched by CAN Europe, Sandbag, Carbon Market Watch, WWF, Oxfam and WeMove.EU has been signed by nearly 100 000 citizens: https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/ETS

[3] CAN Europe reaction to the Environment Committee vote on 15th December: https://caneurope.org/publications/press-releases/1290-meps-move-ets-reform-beyond-commission-proposal-but-shy-away-from-aligning-it-with-the-paris-agreement

[4] The next important moment in the reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) will be a debate at the Council of Environment Ministers on 28 February 2017.

[5] Infographic ‘EU citizens pick up climate polluters’ bill’: https://caneurope.org/publications/presentations/1231-infographic-eu-citizens-pick-up-climate-polluters-bill


Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director, wendel@caneurope.org, +32 473 170 887

Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator, ania@caneurope.org, +32 494 525 738

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.


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