EU Parliament votes against 'weakened' emissions trading system

EU Parliament votes against 'weakened' emissions trading system
Credit: European Parliament President Roberta Metsola/Twitter

The European Parliament has rejected a revised version of the EU emissions trading system, opposing the legislation on the grounds it is less ambitious than was originally intended.

MEPs voted on Wednesday on the European Union's 'Fit for 55' initiative, which forms the bloc's plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050.

One proposal concerned the EU's emissions trading system (ETS), which puts a limit on the number of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by factories, power plants and aviation. The cap is meant to decrease with each passing year, however, companies would be able to buy and trade emission 'allowances'.

It is promoted by the EU as its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively.

Not ambitious enough

Within the cap, companies can buy and trade emission ‘allowances’, yet the carbon emissions' upper limit will decrease each year. The EU's Environmental Committee, together with a coalition of the Greens, Social Democrats, Renew and The Left, aimed to decrease emissions by 67% by 2030.

However, the Parliament's conservative and right-wing parliamentary groups, EPP, ECR and ID, found the legislation too ambitious and greatly lowered the scope of the text. Greens and S&D MEPs were dissatisfied with what they consider a much-weakened version of the proposal. The two groups voted against the latest version and sent it back to the environmental committee (ENVI).

"So no majority for deal on ETS. EPP lowers the deal with the help of ECR and ID. And in the end we and S&D don't accept the weakening of the proposal. ECR and ID also still vote against, so no majority. This shows: You can't build deals with ECR and ID, dear EPP," said Greens MEP Bas Eikhout.

"We are going to take this back to the committee and use that time to try and build a coherent common position," said Iratxe García Pérez, Leader of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) group. "Let’s not put out traps and work on our own."

340 MEPs voted against the proposal, while 265 voted in favour of it.

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