EU climate policy suffers major blow

Greenpeace calls for national coal taxes after Parliament rejects carbon market fix

Press release - April 16, 2013
Brussels – The European Parliament rejected in a vote today a modest, short-term fix of the EU carbon market, intended to curb the oversupply of carbon permits.


Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said: “Today’s vote is a historic failure. In its present form, the carbon market will not stop a single coal plant from being built. As long as EU decision-makers cannot make the European carbon market work, member states should fill the vacuum by introducing national climate measures, such as taxes on coal use and phase-out schemes for coal-based power plants.”

After this vote, the stability of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) is in serious doubt - the Parliament rejected the proposal and sent it back to the Environment Committee. Unless the oversupply of emission permits is addressed, it will not serve its central purpose – to dissuade polluters and promote investments in cleaner production. Record low carbon prices have damaged the credibility of the system and allowed a slide back to more polluting energy options, such as coal.

In  several EU countries,  including  Germany,  Poland  and  the  Netherlands,  new coal‐fired  power  plants are  either planned or under construction, and existing coal plants across Europe could run longer. Burning coal has severe impacts on climate change, local pollution and human health.


Joris den Blanken – Greenpeace EU climate policy director: +32 (0)476 961375 (mobile),

Ed Davitt – Greenpeace EU communications officer: +32 476 988584 (mobile),


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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.