Euro MPs back plans to freeze pollution credits

February 19, 2013
Cooling towers of the coal-fired power plant of Scholven in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany on January 16, 2012. The European Parliament's environment committee backed efforts to make investment in clean technology financially more attractive by freezing about 900 million tonnes of pollution credits available to companies in 2013-2015.

The European Parliament's environment committee on Tuesday backed efforts to make investment in clean technology financially more attractive by freezing about 900 million tonnes of pollution credits available to companies in 2013-2015.

The EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS)—carbon credits that can be bought or sold—are providing little incentive so far for firms to change their ways because their prices are too low.

The parliamentary committee agreed by 38 votes to 25 to allow the European Commission to delay the timing of carbon emission auctions in hopes the price will rise and so encourage cleaner technologies, a statement said.

"The environment committee has sent a clear signal in favour of a strong and healthy emissions trading system. A stronger carbon price will help catalyse Europe's transition towards a low-carbon economy," committee chairman Matthias Groote said in a statement.

"Creating the EU ETS was a landmark achievement but there is also a learning process. Delaying auctions is only a temporary fix but it is a positive step," said Groote.

The committee will decide next week whether to negotiate an accord on the proposed freeze with member states before going for a full vote in parliament.

The called for the auction freeze on the grounds that the economic slump resulted in less demand for and lower prices.

The ETS is meant to fight by gradually tightening the amount of , blamed for global warming, that can be emitted by companies.

Companies receive annual targets. To help them meet those targets, they are allotted carbon emission credits and can purchase others at auction or from other companies.

Ultimately, the hope is that companies will opt to invest in new technology to cut their emissions and so avoid the cost of having to buy pollution credits on the ETS.

Recent prices for such credits are around five euros but experts believe that needs to be 24-30 euros to make investment in clean technologies a realistic proposition.

Explore further: Hackers steal 2 million tonnes of EU carbon credits

Related Stories

EU to ban China, India carbon credits trade

January 21, 2011

Europe is to ban a highly lucrative trade in polluting rights obtained by European-based companies under a UN scheme to favour environmentally-friendly industrial investment in the likes of China or India.

EU extends hacker-induced emissions trading halt

January 27, 2011

The EU extended a freeze Thursday on trading in carbon credits ordered after hackers broke into national trading registries and stole and then sold millions of euros worth of polluting rights.

European carbon market suffers in annus horribilis

December 26, 2011

Europe's market in carbon emissions is hoping for outside help after a year in which prices slumped to record lows, savaging claims that trading in CO2 brakes the rise of dangerous greenhouse gases.

Brussels bids to rescue carbon-trading scheme

July 25, 2012

The European Commission made a bid Wednesday to fix the EU's sickly Emissions Trading Scheme, calling for a delay in the auction timetable over 2013 to 2020 in order to prop up prices.

Recommended for you

Climate ups odds of 'grey swan' superstorms

August 31, 2015

Climate change will boost the odds up to 14-fold for extremely rare, hard-to-predict tropical cyclones for parts of Australia, the United States and Dubai by 2100, researchers said Monday.

Quantifying the impact of volcanic eruptions on climate

August 31, 2015

Large volcanic eruptions inject considerable amounts of sulphur in the stratosphere which, once converted into aerosols, block sun rays and tend to cool the surface of the Earth down for several years. An international team ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.