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EU carbon market reform fails to rescue EU's climate credibility

16 February 2017
by WWF -- last modified 16 February 2017

The European Parliament voted today on the reform of the EU Emission Trading System for the 2021-2030 period. MEPs took some positive steps to strengthen the carbon price signal. However they shied away from turning the EU ETS into a real climate protection instrument that helps the EU reduce carbon pollution in line with the Paris Agreement.


"MEPs missed their chance today to rescue the EU's climate credibility and live up to the Paris Agreement. This ETS reform is nowhere near delivering adequate emission reductions from Europe's largest carbon polluters. MEPs failed to square the circle of ensuring climate protection through clean industrial production in Europe," said Sam Van den plas, EU climate policy officer at WWF European Policy Office.

MEPs largely supported the earlier report from the Environment Committee and agreed to take initial steps to tackle the vast surplus of emission allowances by cancelling 800 million emission allowances from the ETS Market Stability Reserve. However, the linear reduction factor was reduced to 2.2% and therefore will not increase the annual pace of carbon emission reduction after 2020. The hotly debated establishment of an import inclusion scheme for industrial sectors with low trade intensity was rejected, allowing more free pollution permits for sectors not at risk of carbon leakage.

"The result of today's vote on the EU ETS reform will have to be improved by EU Environment Ministers later this month. Responsible EU policymakers must step up their game to implement the Paris Agreement and avoid the ever-rising social and economic impacts of not acting on climate change. If the EU ETS is a key tool to do so, it needs to be made fit for purpose," concluded Imke Lübbeke, Head of EU Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office.

EU Environment Ministers will discuss the ETS reform proposal further to prepare and potentially agree their position during the Environment Council meeting on 28th February.

The WWF European Policy Office advocates on the EU level for a more sustainable future for people and planet.

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