Europe 1 with AFP 4:14 p.m., June 08, 2022

On Wednesday, MEPs rejected, to everyone's surprise, a key text on the reform of the European carbon market, deemed not ambitious enough by the Greens and the left.

This rejection will lead to a complete renegotiation of this pillar of the EU climate plan in parliamentary committee.

MEPs on Wednesday rejected in plenary session a key text on the reform of the European carbon market, deemed not ambitious enough by the Greens and the left, which will lead to a complete renegotiation of this pillar of the EU climate plan in parliamentary committee.

This text, which provides for the expansion of the market for trading CO2 emission quotas, but also the abolition of free quotas for European industrialists in exchange for a carbon tax at the EU's borders, was rejected at the general surprise by 340 votes against (265 for, 34 abstentions).

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030

The European Parliament was to vote on Wednesday on eight of the 14 texts of the roadmap proposed in July 2021 by the European Commission to reduce by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990, the greenhouse gas emissions of the EU.

"Thunderbolt! The majority must review their copy (...) because of rules that are not ambitious enough. The climate does not wait," commented MEP Karima Delli (Greens).

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"What a terrible day. It's a shame to see the far right vote with the Socialists and the Greens," retorted Peter Liese (EPP), rapporteur for the rejected text, in a very electric atmosphere within the hemicycle. of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The German MEP called for the text to be revised in the parliamentary committee to propose a revised version for a subsequent vote, which a large majority of MEPs approved.

What the legislative proposal provided

The legislative proposal submitted to MEPs on the carbon market reflected a compromise reached between the EPP (pro-European right, the main force in Parliament) and Renew (centrists and liberals).

In particular, it provided for a reduction of 63% by 2030, compared to 2005, in emissions from sectors subject to the European carbon market: better than the objective proposed by the Commission (-61%), but significantly lower than to the vote in the Environment Parliamentary Committee (-67%).

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It also adjusted the timetable for eliminating the free emission quotas granted to European industrialists, as imports into the EU of polluting sectors will be taxed on the basis of the price of European CO2.

An amendment to the text, pushed by the EPP and adopted on Wednesday, demanded that these free quotas be maintained in the EU until 2034, in the name of business competitiveness... which also postponed the full implementation until 2034. carbon border tax.

Previously, the Environment Committee had voted for this "adjustment at the borders" to apply in full from 2030 (five years earlier than what the Commission proposed) and for the free quotas to be abolished from that date.

The final text including these arbitrations provoked strong opposition from the Greens, S&D (social democrats) and the radical left, as well as from the far right of the hemicycle.

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