Climate, the EU Parliament finds agreement on the reform of emission quotas. But it is on the downside: in 2030 still 313 million free permits to polluting industries

After the split that took place at the beginning of June, the plenary of the European Parliament voted on a proposal for compromise on the reform of the EU system for the exchange of Co2 emission quotas (Ets) and the new one carbon tax at the border. The green light has also allowed to unlock the Social Climate Fund and it was the last missing piece to be able to start negotiations with Advise And Commission to reach a definitive agreement on the measures of the package Fit for 55. But the agreement reached by Socialists & Democrats, Ppe And Renew and also accepted by greens (439 votes in favor, 157 against and 32 abstentions), however, is definitely al discount than what was previously approved in Environment commission. The industries responsible for a large part of greenhouse gas emissions, from steel mills to the cement factoriesin fact, they would continue to receive for free an impressive volume of permits to pollute up to 2032the year in which the mechanism for taxing goods would come into force imported from countries with more permissive environmental standards.

In 2030, notes the ng Carbon Market Watchwould still be distributed for free 313 million of quotas each of which corresponds to a ton of Co2. In open contradiction with the principle on which the Ets system is based, that is “the polluter pays“. With the usual explanation, or alibi: the risk that companies, if called to open their wallets, will relocate to continents less attentive to the climate emergency. Between 2021 and 2030, the shares given away would amount to 4.8 billionagainst the 4 billion envisaged by the initial proposal of the Environment commission led by Pascal Canfin, which also claims “a great step forward for climate action”. The Belgian NGO that has closely followed the evolution of the rules on the subject does not agree: “Subsidize pollution in this way “, he writes in a hot analysis,”it takes away the economic incentive for heavy industry to take climate action and improve its efficiency. And it takes away the revenue from the states auctions of quotas, which should be reinvested in further climate policies “. With the new agreement, EU countries should collect about “336 billion in total, 56 less than the proposal of the Environment Commission “.

The objective of reducing emissions in the sectors subject to the Ets system is also not very ambitious: in 2030 it would reach a 63% cut compared to 2005, against the 67% reduction voted by MEPs of the Environment Committee. A level that, as he had pointed out Climate Action Networkit would have been anyway insufficient to achieve the goal of limiting the increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels as required by Paris agreements: the bare minimum would be a 70% scissor kick. Certainly the proposal passed by Ppe on June 8, downstream of a pressing lobbying activity of the industry, and on which the “Ursula majority” split, it was worse – postponed the elimination of free quotas to 2034 – but the compromise is broad unsatisfactory also for the Greens who also voted for it. “This package is” Fit for 55 “, but it is not adequate for 1.5 degrees, and we should all recognize this”, declared the MEP in plenary. Bas Eickhout of the Greens. “Let’s use it as a stepping stone to do more for the climate, because we have to do it.”

The so-called “carbon leakage instrument” or carbon tax at the border would be introduced gradually by 2032, coinciding precisely with the elimination of free Ets quotas. Under the proposal voted in Brussels, it will also apply to products organic chemistsat the plastichydrogen and ammonia, as well as indirect emissions.

As for the planned creation of an ad hoc Ets for buildings And transport, for the European Parliament it should only apply to companies. Contrary to what the European Commission proposed, to avoid citizens having to incur additional costs at the fuel pump or in their bills, MEPs are asking that residential buildings And private transport were not included in the new system before 2029 and after that date they can only be so after an assessment of the impact of the measure. Consequently, however, the Social Climate Fund, which in the original plans should have been fed by the proceeds of the new ETS, is resized to 16.4 billion between 2024 and 2027 compared to the 23.7 foreseen by the EU executive in the period 2025-27, which should have reached 72 billion in 2032.

Add up, note Carbon Market Watchthe reform voted on June 22 is very similar to the agreement rejected on the 8: “It would entail an overall reduction in emissions by 2030 only less than 23 million tons“Compared to that envisaged by the previous compromise rejected by Socialists, greens And Left (but also from Conservatives and group Idwhich simply pointed to sink standards): this is the equivalent of the emissions of four steel mills. The right, however, voted against: according to the delegation of Brothers of Italyonly in favor of the creation of the Social Fund, “once again the ideological fury prevailed over common sense and on realism “.

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