Green groups welcome emergency fix to floundering carbon market

More measures must follow to save the ailing system

Press release - November 12, 2012
Brussels, 12 November - Environmental groups CAN Europe, Greenpeace and WWF welcomed a proposal today by the European Commission outlining temporary changes to revive the failing Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The ETS has suffered from an excess of carbon emission allowances, undermining the incentive for polluting industries to reduce their climate-damaging carbon emissions.

Joris den Blanken, Greenpeace EU climate policy director, said: "Polluting industries have gained, for free, a glut of carbon permits worth billions. Postponing the auctioning of emission allowances is a welcome but temporary respite for the carbon market. Stability needs to be restored by permanently removing allowances."

The green groups are calling on European governments and the European Parliament to curb an oversupply of carbon emission allowances in the ETS by postponing the auctioning of at least 1.4 billion allowances in total, a process known as 'backloading.' This temporary measure must be followed quickly by steeper yearly reductions in the number of allowances and the permanent withdrawal of allowances in line with 30% domestic carbon emission reductions in the EU by 2020.

Sam Van den plas, WWF climate policy officer, said: "Backloading is a first step, but must urgently be followed by fundamental changes to the carbon market. Europe should do more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and show it wants to be a leader in green technologies. EU leaders must push ahead with steeper emission cuts than the 20% that has already been achieved, and move to 30% domestic emission reductions by 2020."

The Commission is expected to announce further structural reform options for the ETS later this week.


Joris den Blanken, EU climate policy director Greenpeace, +32 476 96 1375

Sam Van den plas, EU climate policy officer WWF, +32 485 95 2201

Julia Michalak, EU climate policy officer CAN Europe, +32 495 77 4568