In June, members of the European Parliament will vote on the reform of one of Europe’s most important climate policies; the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). This vote, including the preceding vote in the Environmental committee (ENVI) on May the 16th, presents a make-or-break moment for the climate, and the crucial moment to make our voices heard on this topic.
The ETS puts a price on pollution for large industries in Europe. After years of low carbon prices and a lack of incentives for industries to decarbonize, the Emission Trading System is finally under review to ensure polluters will pay and the EU will reach its climate objectives. However, the European Commission proposal includes loopholes for industry: national governments will still be allowed to provide indirect cost compensation to large polluters. This subsidy scheme is meant to compensate them for higher electricity prices due to the EU ETS, to avoid them moving abroad. And this comes on top of already existing subsidies (in the form of free allowances) for their own CO2 emissions.*
Update: several MEPs have proposed not only allowing national governments to provide indirect cost compensation, but making this fossil subsidy mandatory for all EU member states. It is therefore absolutely essential we strongly oppose this.
Research shows no significant risk of companies leaving the European Union due to high carbon prices. While citizens are left to fend for themselves when faced by high energy prices, polluting companies are protected. This subsidy is paid from funds that are intended for climate action to speed up the energy transition, rather than slowing it down.
How is this possible at a time where the climate crisis seems more urgent then ever? How can companies be expected to become green and sustainable, if the government is willing to pay for their pollution?