Second backloading vote announced as EU ministers reiterate support

Energy and environment ministers from nine European member states have outlined their support for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) backloading proposals, as it emerged that a second vote on the proposals would take place next month.

The ministers also called for a resolution of the proposals by July and urged the European Commission to bring forward proposals to perform an overall structural reform of the EU ETS by the end of the year.

In a joint statement issued today, the ministers said they were “disappointed” that the European Parliament had voted against backloading last month.

The proposals to freeze 900 million allowances from the market over the next two years, designed to push up the price of carbon and make low carbon investments more attractive, received 334 votes against to 315 with more than 60 abstentions.

However, news today that the European Parliament will vote for a second time on the proposals, as early as next month, will provide a boost for advocates of backloading.

Writing on Twitter today, Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies confirmed: “Environment Committee coordinators just agreed that we vote again in committee on 19 June, and in plenary 1st week July”.

The ministers’ statement, which was signed by the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Ed Davey, and Germany’s Peter Altmaier Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety read:

“We remain deeply concerned that the ETS as currently designed cannot provide the price signals needed to stimulate the low carbon investment needed now because the supply of allowances substantially outstrips demand, leading to a very low carbon price. This also threatens the credibility of carbon markets as the most flexible, cost-effective way to achieve emissions reductions.”

The ministers also said that although market interference should be kept to a minimum, a one-off and targeted intervention would minimise market uncertainty and distortions, and also promote investment in low carbon technologies.

In addition, they warned that a delay in implementing reform could lead to greater costs in the long-term to meet EU 2050 objectives.

Conor McGlone

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