Sunday

28th Feb 2021

EP committee strikes down own report on carbon fix

  • In a surprise move, the industry commitee rejected its own report on a market mechanism for the carbon market (Photo: DerGuy82)

The European Parliament's industry committee on Thursday (22 January) rejected the early introduction of a market intervention system designed to the get the EU's carbon trading scheme back on its feet.

The “historic” voting result, in the words of the committee's chairman Jerzey Buzek, means that the industry committee will not provide the parliament's environment committee with an opinion.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

The environment committee is the so-called lead committee in the dossier.

The vote concerned the EU emissions trading system - in place since 2005 - which puts a price on greenhouse gases.

A glut of emission allowances in recent years saw the carbon price drop to such a low point that EU politicians agreed to intervene.

The European Commission in January 2014 proposed a market stability reserve (MSR), which would temporarily take out allowances if the amount of available pollution permits reached a certain level.

The commission suggested the MSR begin in 2021 - but the date has caused disagreement.

Germany and the UK want a 2017 starting date, something also supported by many left-wing MEPs.

Deputies suggested amending the original proposal to change the year from 2021 to 2017, but this was narrowly voted down (32 against, 30 in favour) on Thursday in the industry committee.

The committee then voted down the entire report, with 28 in favour of adopting it, 31 against, and 7 abstentions.

The committee's rapporteur, Italian centre-right MEP Antonio Tajani, “now has no mandate” to send his report to the environment committee, British centre-left MEP Theresa Griffin said.

This was a “very significant result”, said Buzek, since it means that the environment committee, which is set to vote on the issue in February, will now be the only committee to shape the parliament's version of the plan.

Backloading

Meanwhile member states as a whole appear unlikely to back an earlier date.

“There appears to be a qualified minority against running the market stability reserve from an earlier date, like 2017”, said a member state official.

The other issue on which governments have to agree is whether a tranche of 900 million allowances, which has been temporarily set aside in a move called backloading, should go immediately into the reserve, or be put on the market first.

According to the member state official there is "a large majority among the member states" in favour of putting the 900 million backloaded allowances in the reserve. “Backloading is a done deal”, the official said.

Nevertheless, some member states remain sceptical on the success of an MSR, arguing a market should be left alone as much as possible.

“We were not in favour of backloading when it was decided”, noted a Polish diplomat.

MEPs have yet to agree on backloading.

Member states and parliament have to thrash out a compromise together but, despite the divisions, some are confident a solution will be found.

“The market stability reserve is a relatively simple proposal. I estimate it will be accepted before the summer break”, the member state official said.

Investigation

How Energy Treaty 'shadow' courts prolong EU's fossil age

The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states' energy or climate policies.

Feature

Adriatic Sea 'risks turning into a water desert'

The Adriatic Sea risks turning into a water desert, experts warn. Overfishing, bottom trawling, pollution, and climate change are seriously threatening the biodiversity of the Adriatic.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders restate defence 'autonomy' plan
  2. Rights group exposes Ethiopia massacre
  3. US carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria
  4. Malta closes investigation into journalist murder
  5. Dutch parliament calls China treatment of Uighurs genocide
  6. Spain fined €15m by ECJ over data failures
  7. Belarus: Anti-government protester jailed for 10 years
  8. German charged with spying for Russia in Bundestag

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. Armenia 'coup' shows waning of EU star in South Caucasus
  2. 'Difficult weeks' ahead, as variants spread across EU
  3. EU top court advised to strike down Hungary's asylum policy
  4. Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency
  5. Is EU poised to solve child labour in 'green' batteries?
  6. The trap of spreading ideas while attacking them
  7. Who are the EU's new Russian deplorables?
  8. Afghan asylum family beaten in Greece, set adrift at sea

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us