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Carbon Market Watch reaction to the leaked 2030 Council Conclusions

The latest leak of the 2030 Council Conclusions (dated 16 October 2014) provides further reason to worry about the future integrity of our 2030 climate target.  As explained in our previous reaction from 2 September (see here), due to technical loopholes in the current climate framework, 4 billion tonnes of hot air will accumulate which threatens EU’s future climate ambition.

Without immediate and urgent action, to avoid the banking of this hot air, the actual emissions reductions under a 40% target may be as low as 26%[i].

 In a nutshell, the latest Member State comments and the leaked document suggests:

  1. Reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions by merely 40% = Postponing much needed climate action until after 2030.
  2. Possible banking of hot air = Turning the proposed 40% GHG target into mere 26% reductions!
  3. Allowing countries to use EU ETS allowances to meet their climate targets = Jeopardizing mitigation in the non-ETS sectors.
  4. Inclusion of transport in the EU ETS = Inventing an alibi to do nothing to reduce transport emissions.
  5. Dynamic allocation of free pollution permits = Increasing subsidies to industry instead of having them pay to pollute.

However, the final decision has not yet been taken. Although certain countries are actively advocating for carrying-over the EU’s hot air[1], proposals on other flexibilities, such as domestic offsetting might curtail the need for such banking. Transferring emission allowances between Member States (domestic offsetting) would not undermine the overall climate ambition nor the incentives for decarbonisation. Instead, domestic offsetting could unlock the mitigation potential in poorer Member States and could be the reason not to allow for banking, which directly undermines any demand for domestic offsets.

Read full reaction here


[1] See:
[i] Calculation with the assumption that the 3.95 billion surplus is used for compliance in the 2020-2030 period, and assuming that EU-28 1990 emissions equaled 5.626 million tons of CO2 (EEA, 2014).

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