Sunday

24th Jan 2021

Poland against quick rescue of emissions scheme

  • Coal is still a widely used energy source in Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries. (Photo: Wikipedia)

A simmering disagrement between member states about when to start a market stability reserve for the bloc's struggling emissions trading system has been taken up a political notch by Poland.

Polish PM Ewa Kopacz has written to European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker asking that the market intervention mechanism only kick into place in 2021.

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 letter, signed Wednesday 25 February, came the day after MEPs in the environment committee agreed the scheme should go into place two years earlier.

The letter was also signed by the leaders of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, and Romania.

The start date matters because the sooner the reserve starts operating, the sooner the carbon price is expected to rise. This will predominantly effect economies with many fossil-fuel reliant industries.

Poland, for example, is the member state most dependent on coal - the most heavily polluting fossil fuel - in the EU.

Meanwhile, countries less reliant on coal have been lobbying intensely to have the system begin in 2017. Environment ministers in Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, and UK urged for the earlier date in a joint letter.

The market mechanism, once in place, would temporarily take out permits from the carbon market, if a certain number of permits was reached. The market is currently suffering from a surplus which drives down prices.

Low carbon prices mean there is less incentive to look for low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels.

Kopacz listed five potential consequence that she fears an early MSR introduction will have, including an "impact on electricity prices, ... influencing the budget revenues from the auctioning of emission allowances, ... [and] weaker competitiveness".

She accused the commission of failing to "specify the possible scale" of these problems combined with "placing backloaded allowances directly into the reserve”.

'Backloaded allowances' refers to a batch of 900 million permits that have been temporarily been put aside, but which under current rules must be put back into the market at some point.

Following the environment committee's vote, representative from the parliament, the council and the commission will try and thrash out a compromise.

Kopacz wrote that she "expects the European Commission would confirm its coherent position and in the end stick to its own proposal" with the commission itself having orignally suggested 2021.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary buys Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
  2. Netherlands imposes curfew to halt new corona variant
  3. Green NGO fails to stop Europe's biggest gas burner
  4. Swedish minister reminds Europe of Russia's war
  5. Spain: Jesuit order apologises for decades of sexual abuse
  6. NGOs urge Borrell to address Egypt rights 'crisis'
  7. EU conflict-area education aid favours boys
  8. EU told to avoid hydrogen in building renovations

Livestream

Live: Join the Nordic climate debate 'Choosing Green'

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has stalled climate negotiations, work has not stopped. The 'Choosing Green' debate will address some of the most important and most complex key areas relating to the global green transition. Live on EUobserver from 10:00 (CET).

Green Deal

Timmermans 'disappointed' with ongoing CAP reform

For European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, the Common Agricultural Policy has to answer to "higher expectations" on climate action, protection of biodiversity and environmental sustainability, while ensuring a fair income for all farmers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Latest News

  1. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk
  2. EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up
  3. Portugal's EU presidency marks return of corporate sponsors
  4. MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute
  5. EU warns UK to be 'very careful' in diplomatic status row
  6. A digital euro - could it happen?
  7. US returns to climate deal and WHO, as EU 'rejoices'
  8. Big tech: From Trump's best friend to censorship machine?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us