Good news coming from the European Union have become extremely rare these days. That's why it gives such a great pleasure to announce that the European Parliament today has decided to more or less scrap two of EU's flagship climate change programs:
- The European Parliament dealt a blow (hopefully a deadly one) to the EU's idiotic cap-and-trade system.
- The European Parliament backed a proposal to freeze charges on carbon emissions on intercontinental flights in order to prevent a global trade dispute (which the European Union was bound to lose)
European lawmakers dealt a blow to one of Europe's flagship policies on fighting climate change when they voted Tuesday against tightening the bloc's system of making companies pay for pollution.
The European Union cap-and-trade system — the world's biggest — was introduced in 2005 in the hope of encouraging industries to reduce emissions and invest in greener technologies.
The system is designed to limit the carbon dioxide emissions of power plants and big factories in the EU by issuing permits for each ton of carbon they can emit. Companies can trade these certificates, providing an incentive to cut emissions. Over time, the number of allowances will be lowered, thus cutting overall emissions in the EU. Carbon dioxide emissions are blamed for fostering global warming.
However the system is currently not working because the prices for licenses have dropped amid lower-than-expected demand, languishing at around 5 euros ($6.5) per ton
The outcome of the plenary vote in the European Parliament was uncertain until the last minute. But the Commission's proposal looked less likely to succeed last week when the EPP said it was against the move as it would force rising costs on businesses at a time of economic crisis.
"It is right not to interfere with a market-based trading system," said Herbert Reul, conservative lawmaker and member of the parliament's main center-right bloc, the European People Party's caucus. "The European industry needs a reliable framework."
Of course, the warmist EU bureaucrats and politicians are furious:
The Commission deplored the lawmaker's move.
"Europe needs a robust carbon market to meet our climate targets and spur innovation," EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told lawmakers.
Proponents of the system have said failing to reform the system means it is bound to sink into irrelevance, hurting the prospects of similar initiatives in other industrialized countries.
"With today's decision, the European Parliament missed the opportunity to strengthen the emission trading system," said Hildegard Mueller, the head of the German utilities lobby group. The one-time measure to reduce the number of allowances would have helped to stabilize the prices, "if at a low level," she said.
The climb down on the intercontinental carbon emissions charges was the other welcome piece of news:
Also Tuesday, lawmakers backed a proposal to freeze charges on carbon emissions for intercontinental flights, in a move that helps prevent a global trade dispute.
This means all flights travelling to or from countries outside the European Union are excluded from a carbon tax for a year pending an international agreement in negotiations at the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Read the entire article here
During the last few years there have been many reasons to be critical of the way the European Parliament operates. If the parliament continues on today's promising path, maybe it's time to think about reconsidering that view. However, it is certainly more realistic to believe that today's good news is nothing but a very temporary return to sanity in Brussels.