Yesterday, the European Parliament rejected the proposal to reform the EU carbon market in a surprise turn of events that revealed conflicts within the bloc where climate policy is concerned.
The unexpected move may lead to a delay in negotiations, as a committee of legislators is now working on presenting a new compromise.
Wednesday saw a series of heated arguments and chaotic scenes in Parliament between green and socialist lawmakers and right-wing groups.
The former rejected the proposal saying the amendments introduced by the conservatives weakened it, whereas the latter insisted the proposal was too ambitious, particularly now, in the wake of rising inflation.
This rejection comes to mean a delayed vote on two climate policies, one of which would set up a fund that would use emissions trading revenues for welfare purposes and the other would place a CO2 levy on the import of carbon-intensive goods like cement and steel.
Both proposals are currently the first of their kind in the world.
The unexpected rejection may severely impede finishing the law, despite the bloc’s race to complete it this year, so that it may come into effect in 2023.
Furthermore, the proposal would have also provided confirmation from parliament’s position on reforming the EU carbon market known as the Emissions Trading System (ETS), which is the bloc’s primary emission reduction tool, as it obligates industry and power plants to purchase carbon permits based on their CO2 emissions.
As the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter, the changes made to the ETS would put the EU on the fast track towards slashing its emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
The EU parliament’s lead negotiator Peter Liese urged those who voted against the proposal to reconsider and pleaded that they ‘don’t kill the ETS’, while Pascal Canfin, chair of the committee currently redrafting the proposal, assured negotiators would do their best to reach a new deal by June 23.