“EU revises the CO2 market to put an end to cut-price pollution,” leads El País, the day after the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted to withdraw the equivalent of 1.4 billion euros of emission permits from the European carbon market. The Spanish newspaper writes that “pollution rights” – “ the EU’s main tool in combating climate change,” had been allocated by Brussels to European companies for free – but that was before the economic crisis came along and with it a fall in industrial production.
Prices for CO2 emissions which, for its “green policies” to be effective, the EU had calculated at between 20 and 50 euros per tonne, have since fallen to just six euros. “Brussels is now looking for formulas to intervene in the market and refloat the price,” El País explains.
Two options are being considered: tightening up emission reduction targets between now and 2020 from the current 20 percent to 30 percent – a figure that divides member states – and drastically reducing emission rights, such as called for on 20 December by the European Parliament.
The decision caused an immediate jump of 20 percent in the price of a tonne of CO2, which could go up even more once airlines are brought into the emissions trading scheme, writes El País.