Wrangle Over EU Carbon Market Revamp Threatens Climate Targets

Environmental News from Europe: 

  • EU carbon market in line for biggest overhaul yet
  • At stake is the future of the EU’s main climate policy tool
  • Negotiators tackle the trickiest topics this week
  • Race to confirm negotiating positions within weeks

Officials and lawmakers negotiating an overhaul of the EU carbon market are struggling to reach a compromise over plans to levy CO2 costs on suppliers of polluting fuels, potentially putting the bloc’s climate change targets at risk.

Launched in 2005, the emissions trading system (ETS) is the European Union’s main tool for cutting greenhouse gases, which it does by forcing power plants and factories to buy CO2 permits when they pollute and capping the supply of permits.

The scheme has slashed emissions in those sectors by 43% since its launch but is facing a revamp as the EU strives to hit a target of a 55% cut in net emissions from 1990 levels by 2030.

“There’s no room for watering down,” said European Parliament negotiator Jytte Guteland. “We need to preserve the ambition to make sure we obey the climate law,” she added, referring to the legally-binding climate targets.

Diplomats and lawmakers are each divided, in particular over plans to launch a new ETS in 2026 that would impose CO2 costs on suppliers of fuels used in vehicles and to heat homes.

The revamp, proposed by the European Commission last year, is seen as critical because transport emissions are rising, and most buildings in Europe are heated by fossil fuels, churning out roughly a third of total EU emissions.

But it has faced fierce opposition from some member states, which – with an eye on gas prices soaring to record levels – fear it would raise energy bills further and hurt poorer citizens.

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Source: Reuters

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