Monday

27th May 2019

EU needs emissions deal to avoid 'shame in Bonn'

  • The French pavilion at the climate conference in Bonn sports president Emmanuel Macron's take on a slogan by US president Donald Trump (Photo: Peter Teffer)

Key members of the European Parliament's largest group said on Tuesday (7 November) that EU legislators should agree on the reform of the EU's emission trading system (ETS) this week or face embarrassment at the climate negotiations in Bonn.

"It is important that we could reach an agreement tomorrow because Bonn has started yesterday," said Belgian MEP Ivo Belet, who follows the file for his group, the European People's Party (EPP).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"It would be a pity if the EU couldn't go to Bonn with this trophy," he added, noting that his centre-right group was "ready to compromise."

Belet spoke to a group of journalists on Tuesday morning, flanked by his EPP colleagues Peter Liese from Germany and Esther de Lange from the Netherlands.

On Wednesday evening, the EU parliament, the Council of the EU - representing national governments - and the European Commission will hold another round of negotiations, known in Brussels as a trilogue.

The legislative proposal was tabled by the commission in July 2015, but can only become law if the parliament and council find agreement.

The proposal deals with how the ETS should be reformed after 2021.

Liese said that if there was no deal, this was not necessarily a legal problem, but a political one.

"Then there will be another trilogue but we will be ashamed in Bonn," he said.

The ETS requires several thousands of industrial emitters in the EU to pay for their CO2 emissions by handing in carbon credits.

The system has been plagued by a glut of allowances and a much-lower-than-expected carbon price, which the reform hopes to resolve.

New modernisation fund

One key point of debate on Wednesday night - and possibly Thursday morning - will be the conditions of a new modernisation fund, which will be used to modernise energy plants in the 10 poorest EU member states.

A contentious point is what projects will be eligible.

Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom recently signed a letter saying that the fund "should not be used to support any solid fossil fuels-based energy generation".

But Poland would be interested in using the fund to modernise its coal-fired power plants.

German MEP Liese said that Poland "is a big member state" and that it would be good if it was on board on the final agreement, but he also stressed that the Council will vote with a so-called qualified majority, meaning that Poland could be outvoted.

"The modernisation fund is a big thing for Poland, they should not underestimate how much money we transfer from the west to the east, this is substantial," said Liese.

Wednesday's trilogue begins at 6PM.

The ETS price of emitting a tonne of CO2 stood at almost €8 on Monday, much lower than the €20 to €30 that was expected when the system was introduced in 2005.

Environmental campaign group Climate Action Network Europe on Tuesday called on the EU "not [to] bend to the Polish government's demands."

"The Polish government has been running a protracted and bitter campaign to sabotage the integrity of the EU's carbon market. It has put relentless efforts to allow the ETS to subsidise Polish coal plants instead of making them pay for their pollution," the group said in a statement.

MEPs back limited EU carbon trade reform

The parliament backs reform plans for the EU's carbon trading scheme, but allow polluting industries to maintain some controversial benefits.

EU carbon credits drop below €6

Has EU's flagship climate tool still an influence on moving industry away from fossil fuels? Emitting a tonne of carbon dioxide in Europe has become 25 percent cheaper since the start of 2016.

Emissions trading deal reached after 'isolating' Poland

EU negotiators reached a deal on the ETS after breaking a deadlock on the eligibility criteria for a modernisation fund. Only Romania and Bulgaria will be allowed to use it to finance projects related to coal.

News in Brief

  1. Russia-critical banker elected president of Lithuania
  2. Timmermans calls for 'progressive alliance'
  3. Catalonia's Puigdemont wins MEP seat
  4. Weber opens door to alliance with greens and liberals
  5. Tsipras calls snap Greek election after EP defeat
  6. Polish ruling PiS takes lion's share of EU vote
  7. Romanian voters punish ruling PSD party
  8. First official EP projection: EPP remain top, Greens fourth

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us