Dangerous over-reliance on failing EU carbon trading scheme

19 February 2013

MEPs vote in favour of emissions trading reform

Members of the European Parliament’s environment committee voted today in favour of a proposal to delay the introduction of permits into the EU Emissions Trading System.

The proposal, referred to as ETS ‘backloading’, is designed to increase the carbon price and help make the scheme more effective in driving emissions reductions. But over-reliance on this failing scheme is a dangerous distraction from more effective action against climate change, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.

Commenting on the vote, Brook Riley from Friends of the Earth Europe said: “MEPs are working with the options on table, but there is no getting round the fact that no amount of fiddling with the ETS will make the system fit for the challenge of tackling the climate crisis. The real priority must be for the EU to set a tougher greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020 in line with what science and justice tells us is needed to address climate change. The EU must also agree on binding targets for 2030 for greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energies.”

Friends of the Earth Europe does not believe that carbon trading is a viable solution to combating climate change. The high amount of offsetting in the ETS is causing large-scale social and environmental problems around the world, which would be compounded by the linkages planned with other national and regional carbon trading schemes,

The choice to invest so much political capital in the EU-ETS is obstructing other tried and tested measures that would lead to more certain results. Direct regulation, taxation and subsidies would be more effective at delivering the scale and speed of emissions reductions necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Rather than depend on this uncertain, ineffective, and unfair system, the EU must privilege other forms of action. This means stronger laws to cut emissions such at national and EU level, developing renewables, and increasing energy efficiency.