France: The European Parliament has voted to approve a proposal by the European Commission to reduce carbon credits by 2.2%/yr from 2021 in its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). This is an increase from the 1.74% reduction specified in existing legislation. It will also double the capacity of the 2019 market stability reserve (MSR) to absorb the excess of credits or allowances on the market.
Members of the European Parliament (MEP) want to review the so-called ‘linear reduction factor’ with the intention to raising it to 2.4% by 2024 at the earliest. In addition MEPs want to double the MSR’s capacity to mop up the excess of credits on the market. When triggered, it would absorb up to 24% of the excess of credits in each auctioning year, for the first four years. They have agreed that 800 million allowances should be removed from the MSR as of 1 January 2021. Two funds will also be set up and financed by auctioning ETS allowances. A modernisation fund will help to upgrade energy systems in lower-income member states and an innovation fund will provide financial support for renewable energy, carbon capture and storage and low-carbon innovation projects.
The draft measures were approved by 379 votes to 263, with 57 abstentions. MEPs will now enter into negotiations with the Maltese Presidency of the European Council in order to reach an agreement on the final shape of the legislation, which will then come back to Parliament.
Environmental campaign group Sandbag has complained that the new proposal fails to hold to the European Union’s (EU) emissions reduction targets by 2030 that were signed as part of the Paris Agreement in 2016.
“Unless the Council intervenes to substantially strengthen the System, the EU ETS will now become simply an accounting mechanism, leaving meaningful climate action to happen elsewhere. The fact that the carbon price is unchanged as a result of the vote, still at a paltry Euro5, speaks volumes. Without being realigned with real emissions levels in 2020, the EU ETS may well end up existing for 25 years by 2030 without giving the any substantial impetus to decarbonisation,” said Rachel Solomon Williams, Managing Director at Sandbag.