The European Commission proposed to freeze 900 million allowances from the market over the next two years in a plan to push up the price of carbon and make low carbon investments more attractive.

Although the decision was close, the proposal received 334 votes against to 315 with more than 60 abstentions and will now receive further consideration from the Parliament’s environment committee.

Last week, a group of prominent environment ministers, including Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey called on the European Parliament to support the implementation of back-loading for the EU ETS.

In an open letter the ministers said that it was crucial the European Parliament voted to withhold the carbon credits from the next round of the cap and trade system. Today’s vote was also an unwelcome decision for many in the green building industry.

Senior Policy Advisor to the World Green Building Council Network, James Drinkwater, said: “Today is a desperately sad day for the EU; previously a world leader on climate change policy, and with many countries around the world developing their own cap-and-trade schemes, the message we have sent out is an overwhelmingly negative one.

“Our Network had hoped that EU policy makers would recognise the central importance of a strong EU ETS in the move towards a low carbon competitive economy. It’s a fundamental piece of climate policy which regulates the very beginning of the lifecycle for many building components, and which could have been used to drive energy efficient renovation of Europe’s building stock. Its worth has been severely undermined today.”

Going against the ministers call to parliament, a coalition of 45 organisations yesterday issued a report which argues that the EU ETS has systemic and unresolvable problems.

Leigh Stringer

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