Thursday

24th Sep 2020

EU carbon market boosts emissions, NGOs say

  • "We need to scrap the ETS and implement fair climate policies," say pro-green NGOs (Photo: DerGuy82)

Around 75 pro-green NGOs are jointly calling for the EU to scrap its carbon emission-trading scheme (ETS) ahead of a European Parliament vote to reform it.

Set up in 2003, ETS is central to the EU’s carbon reduction plan in its fight against climate change by allowing companies to trade CO2 permits on the market.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But the NGOs, including Friends of the Earth and Carbon Trade Watch, say the money-making scheme has instead increased emissions and encouraged land grabs in poverty-stricken regions.

“The EU's flagship policy to address climate change has diverted attention from the need to transform the system’s dependency on fossil fuels and growing consumption, resulting in increased emissions,” said Joanna Cabello, from Carbon Trade Watch, in a statement on Monday (18 February).

The ETS covers more than 12,000 power plants and factories throughout the 27 member states.

The environmentalist advocates say structural loopholes in the policy allow companies and governments to purchase carbon permits, for instance, in nations in Africa.

The permits – or offset projects - then entitle the company to pump out more carbon at home.

Meanwhile, the offset projects have a knock-on effect on poorer countries, says Isaac Rojas, from Friends of the Earth Latin America and Caribbean.

He cited land grabs, human rights violations, community displacements, conflicts and increased local environmental destruction as a consequence of the scheme.

Rojas pointed out that other market mechanisms and financial products, like forest carbon offsets and biodiversity offsets, "follow the same logic which allows, and offsets, deforestation, forest degradation, biodiversity loss and water pollution”.

The NGOs' call for an alternative climate change policy comes on the eve of a vote on Tuesday in the European Parliament’s environment committee.

Deputies are seeking to plug the gaps in a carbon trading emissions market that has plummeted in recent months.

Permits are now selling under €5, down from around €20 in 2008, harming business incentives to cut emissions or invest in clean technologies.

The vote is on a proposal by the European Commission to backload member state allocation of permits to companies. The proposal would essentially postpone regular auctions in the hope of driving up prices and restoring investor confidence.

Some 30 large corporations back the commission’s idea.

They also signed a plea to encourage the deputies to vote through reforms they believe will make the market far more lucrative, reports the Guardian.

The businesses say the market is saturated with too many free permits, driving down the price.

Holding back the sale of the permits would instead revive the market and spur innovation, say the companies.

"A Yes vote would send a positive signal about the European parliament's commitment to its flagship emissions reduction scheme and begin to restore investor confidence in the EU's energy policy," said the companies in their letter, according to the Guardian.

Brussels moves to tackle slumped carbon market

The European Commission on Wednesday announced short-term plans to bolster the carbon Emissions Trading Scheme, its flagship environment project undermined by rock bottom carbon prices.

EU upbeat on 2020 carbon targets

The EU predicts it will meet its 2020 targets to reduce carbon emissions and increase use of renewable energy, despite backsliding by some countries.

News in Brief

  1. Belgium: masks no longer mandatory from October
  2. Report: China built 380 Muslim internment camps
  3. Belgian government formation in final phase
  4. Lukashenko sworn in at secret ceremony
  5. Study: No-deal Brexit more costly than corona for UK
  6. Polish miners in underground protest against energy plan
  7. EU animal farming emits more CO2 than cars
  8. Navalny leaves Berlin hospital after poisoning attempt

Feature

The 150 random French citizens advising Macron

Some 150 randomly-picked men and women make up Emmanuel Macron's Citizens' Climate Convention. This week Macron invited them to the Élysée Palace and promised - nearly - all of their wishes would come true .

France shuts oldest reactor amid Macron climate pledges

France's oldest nuclear power plant finally closed on Tuesday, one day after president Emmanuel Macron pledged to speed up the country's transition to a greener economy responding to the proposals from the French citizens' convention on climate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. EU migration pact to deter asylum
  2. 'Era of EU naivety ends', MEP pledges on foreign meddling
  3. Anti-mask protesters pose challenge for EU authorities
  4. EU 'failed' to safeguard civic freedoms during pandemic
  5. The corruption fuelling the Bulgaria protests
  6. EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link
  7. EU states struggle to better sync Covid-19 measures
  8. EP groups drop homophobe from Sakharov prize

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us