3E Intelligence

“EU can’t cut emissions. Greenhouse gases are mounting despite antipollution policy” is the triumphant title and subtitle in today’s (3 April) Wall Street Journal (print version). Things might not be as bad as the US neo-liberal journalist of the WSJ pretends, but the last report on the emissions from EU installations which are subject to the famous EU cap-and-trade system (ETS), are surely something to look at more carefully.

Of course, even the ETS lovers now admit that there were teething problems with over-allocation of allowances in the first phase, but the stricter draft rules for the second phase should put the ETS back on the rails to Low-Carbon Land.

But where is the guarantee that the revised scheme will not know the same flaws and when are the “polluting” installations  starting to make hard investments in new technologies instead of just buying the extra allowances on the market? Is it possible that, contrary to the emissions system for SO2, this ETS will not reach its objectives and will have to be abandoned at some point?

What is certainly clear is that the only winners from the scheme up to now are the companies that have made big windfall profits as a result of the over-allocations and the carbon traders who have made millions from these new markets.

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  1. I think that economists share the opinion all over the world that the Kyoto Protocol and ETS is a complete failure. Maybe this is why the remaining American candidates started to endorse it.

    I believe that the only solution to curb CO2 emissions would be a heavy carbon tax. I think that it is a sound argument that the only reason why Europe emits less carbon than the US is the already existing heavier taxation of petrol and energy.

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