EXCLUSIVE: EU ETS labelled 'ridiculous proposition' ahead of vote

A coalition of 45 organisations has issued a report which argues that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) has systemic and unresolvable problems.

Published by NGO, the Corporate Europe Observatory, the report comes just hours before the European Parliament votes on the European Commission's proposal to backload 900 million emissions permits within the EU ETS.

One signatory, the NGO FERN, keeps track of the European Union's involvement in forests and its carbon and ecosystems trading campaigner Hannah Mowat told edie: "We do not think it is going anywhere, it is fundamentally flawed and even if you backload 900 million permits we know it is not going to pick up the prices because it is not enough.

"Even if you did try to bring in structural reform, because it is a market mechanism, and market mechanisms are in themselves very weak, it is never going to be strong enough to achieve actual change.

"We are hanging around here in 2013 for this backloading vote which is not going to do anything for prices and even if we do bring about structural reform it will not do anything before 2017. That is too late; we need to be peaking emissions by 2015."

The report, entitled EU ETS myth busting: why it can't be reformed and shouldn't be replicated, was published a week after a group of prominent environment ministers, including Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey, called on the European Parliament to support backloading

However, Mowat argued that the alternatives to an EU ETS were "many and varied".

She said that the EU was already doing a lot to tackle emissions such as the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive.

"Anyone who is working on climate and energy policy will in private tell you that they know very well that the EU ETS is undermining those things," she added.

Mowat said: "Time and time again we hear the energy commissioner Günther Oettinger put into doubt whether we will have a renewables target for 2020 because we have the EU ETS, which is a ridiculous proposition to put on the table."

"EU ETS is not synonymous with climate action, it is just a failed policy. We said ten years ago it would not work and it has not worked, it was supposed to give a price signal and it has not given a price signal so let's just move on."

Greenpeace and WWF have backed the principles of the EU ETS and called for the European Parliament to vote for the backloading proposals.

Mowat claimed however, that she had a number of "allies" within Greenpeace and that individually, "they say different things."

According to the Mowat, the result of the European Parliament's vote on backloding would be inconsequential, however she conceded that a no vote could bring the anti EU ETS contingency closer to mainstream activists.

"A no vote may be easier for us in terms of finding alliances with GreenPeace Sandbag and WWF," she admitted.

"Even with a yes vote in a couple of months, when they see it has not done anything to prices and that structural reform is impossible until the backend of this decade, that's maybe a time when we can become closer and act together - we want the same thing, we don't want to become enemies," she added.

Conor McGlone


| Emissions trading | Energy Efficiency | renewables


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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