13th Aug 2022

Big energy firms pocket money from emissions trading

Five big energy firms are boosting their profits at the expense of consumers from the EU’s emission trading scheme, according to a WWF report seen by a German paper.

A report by leading environmental NGO World Wildlife Fund (WWF) seen by FAZ reveals that big energy companies in Germany abuse the EU's emissions trading scheme, under which companies can trade rights to emit greenhouse gasses.

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 firms Eon, RWE, Vattenfall, EnBW and Steag are all being allocated a certain number of quotas by the German government for free.

But the firms include the market value of the emissions rights in their energy prices for consumers, leading to artificially high energy costs.

The German SPD party, which sits in the country's government, has mooted a plan to auction emission rights to firms rather than to give them away for free.

SPD parliamentarian Ulrich Kelber said that this would not lead to a jump in prices "because the electrical power monopolists are calculating the fictional value of the pollution rights already into the [energy] price today, while completely pocketing the profits."

The WWF report comes at the one year anniversary on Thursday (16 February) of the coming into force of the Kyoto protocol, aimed at reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases worldwide.

In a common bid to comply with the Kyoto protocol, EU states have pioneered the emission trading scheme, which allows companies that exceed their CO2 quotas to buy emissions permits from companies not meeting their targets.


One idea to tackle Big Energy's big profits

A new idea, besides a windfall tax on polluting Big Energy giants, is to make them invest their profits in their own sustainable futures. After all, these companies have a large 'sustainability debt' and extraordinary transition costs awaiting them.

Almost two-thirds of Europe in danger of drought

Data released by the European Drought Observatory show 60 percent of Europe and the United Kingdom is currently in a state of drought, with farming, homes and industry being affected. Drought conditions have also led to an increase in wildfires.

Droughts prompt calls to cut water use amid harvest fears

With the prolonged lack of rain and high temperatures, fears have emerged over water shortages and droughts decreasing crop yields — prompting calls to use less water and reuse urban wastewater for agricultural irrigation.

Brazil pitches itself as answer to Ukraine war food shortages

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is pitching his Latin American country as the answer to the world food crisis following the war in Ukraine. The traditional wheat importer has now exported three million tonnes of the grain so far in 2022.


Exploiting the Ukraine crisis for Big Business

From food policy to climate change, corporate lobbyists are exploiting the Ukraine crisis to try to slash legislation that gets in the way of profit. But this is only making things worse.

News in Brief

  1. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike
  2. Germany wants pipeline from Portugal
  3. Ukraine urges US to sanction all Russian banks
  4. Spain evacuates 294 Afghans
  5. EU sanctions have 'limited' effect of Russian oil production
  6. Donors pledge €1.5bn to Ukraine's war effort
  7. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  8. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us