Council to continue its work to agree its position on the proposal.
Reacting to the outcome of the vote by the European Parliament on the proposal to clarify the Emissions Trading Directive for the purposes of backloading (the ETS clarification proposal), Irish Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, TD, in his capacity as President of the Council of Environment Ministers, today described the Parliament’s decision as disappointing.
“The ETS is Europe’s flagship response to greenhouse gas mitigation”, said Minister Hogan, “and the extent to which its effectiveness is now undermined by the economic downturn is a regrettable setback to Europe’s progressive transition to a competitive, low-carbon economy. Early and cost-effective transition is key to Europe’s leadership on climate change and European competitiveness in the emerging global green economy.”
Asked about Ireland’s plans as EU Presidency, Minister Hogan indicated:
“The immediate need to address the carbon price issue in the ETS remains a clear priority. While I can understand concerns around intervening in a market-based instrument, the reality is that the EU is faced with an exceptional policy situation which demands an exceptional policy response. The ETS clarification proposal is designed to underpin a focused, short-term intervention that will assist in restoring the ETS to a more effective level of operation while the structural reform measures necessary to strengthen the operation of the ETS in the longer term are being considered.”
Minister Hogan - The Council will continue its work to agree its position on the ETS clarification proposal, and has scheduled two further meetings of the Environment Working Party in the coming days for this purpose.
Dismissing any suggestions that the Commission should consider withdrawing the proposal on foot of the Parliament’s vote, the Minister emphasised that the proposal is subject to the co-decision process under the Treaty and that as far as the Irish Presidency is concerned, “the Council will continue its work to agree its position on the ETS clarification proposal, and has scheduled two further meetings of the Environment Working Party in the coming days for this purpose.”
Notes to Editors
The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) allows for the commercial auction and purchase of greenhouse gas emission allowances. Under the system, a limit is set on the level of emissions from a given manufacturer, factory, plant . Companies can purchase allowances to offset against their emissions and if the full allowance is not reached then they can trade that surplus. The overall economic downturn however, has meant a general oversupply of allowances and consequently a falling EU-wide emissions price.
To address this problem the European Commission put forward a proposal to postpone the auctioning of some allowances – intended to ensure a properly functioning EU carbon market. The proposal involved a temporary removal of emission certificates from the market during the third trading period of the EU ETS. This would involve the postponement of the auctioning of 900 million allowances from 2013-2015 to later years of the trading period.