EU Parliament Vote Confirms CO2 Support

March 16, 2012

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EU politicians once again voted for intervention to shore up the carbon market on Thursday, adding to pressure on the European Commission to remove allowances ahead of the next phase of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Following on from votes in December and last month, members of the European Parliament on Thursday backed another resolution calling for appropriate measures "which may include withholding the necessary amount of allowances".

Thursday's resolution is a non-binding resolution with no legal force, but serves as a political signal to the EU's executive arm.

Carbon prices on the EU's ETS have fallen far below the level needed to encourage green investment.

A more significant development will be discussions later this month bringing together representatives of the EU's three institutions, the Commission, Parliament and the Council of member governments.

The meeting scheduled for March 26 is to hammer out the text of an energy savings law, but carbon set-aside is also on the agenda.

Thursday's vote came in the context of parliamentary endorsement of the EU's 2050 low carbon road-map, which was also debated at a meeting of EU environment ministers last Friday when it received the backing of all member states except coal-intensive Poland.

Again, Polish objections were political, not legal, as the road map is a non-binding indication of future policy direction after existing green energy goals run out in 2020.

The European Parliament on Thursday also reiterated its support for EU law making all aviation using EU airports pay to offset their carbon emissions, which has stirred fierce international opposition from governments including those of the United States, Russia, China and India.