EU energy ministers reaffirm backloading support ahead of crucial vote

Energy and Environment Ministers from twelve EU member states have today re-issued a joint statement calling for MEPs to support backloading proposals for the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), due to be voted on in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

The ministers are also calling for the European Commission to advance legislative proposals, which will deliver structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) by the end of the year.

Known as backloading, the European Commission’s proposal to freeze 900 million allowances from the market over the next two years is aimed at pushing up the price of carbon and making low-carbon investments more attractive.

The European Parliament voted against the proposals in April but the Parliament Environment Committee (ENVI) voted in favour last month, giving rise to a Plenary vote on Wednesday.

First published on May 7, the joint statement was an initiative of UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.

Davey said: “We are determined to ensure the Emissions Trading System remains Europe’s primary tool for delivering cost-effective emissions reductions and stimulating the massive low-carbon investments we need.

“A twin track approach to ETS reform is critical. Backloading is an important short-term measure to help stabilise the system and to buy time for legislation, which should come out by the end of the year, to deliver structural reform to the ETS.”

However, there have also been calls ahead of the vote to scrap the ETS, with a coalition of 44 civil society organisations releasing a statement today claiming the ETS is entrenching fossil fuel use in the EU.

Signatories, including groups such as the Corporate Europe Observatory and the Global Forest Coalition, say MEP attention should instead be re-directed toward “genuine” measures to tackle climate change, including a phase-out of fossil-fuels.

Despite this, Davey insisted that the ETS was the most cost-effective tool that the EU possessed.

“Without the ETS, Europe will likely revert to a disjointed and fragmented array of national measures which will be far more expensive for industry and consumers alike,” he said.

Conor McGlone

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie