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An analysis published by the advocacy group Sandbag claims the EU emissions trading scheme is actually guaranteeing high level of emissions can continue in to the future and there is no provision to tighten the legally binding emissions caps in the event that emissions fall faster than expected.
Emissions have fallen dramatically over the last two years (6% in 2008 and 11.6% in 2009) as a result of the recession. The oversupply of pollution permits is now so great that emissions can grow back to pre-recession levels and beyond and there will still be no need for any additional cuts to be made in the EU until 2017.
There are over 11,000 installations across Europe who have legally binding caps on their emissions. However, in 2009 over 70% of these had more emissions permits than they needed allowing them to carry on with business as usual.
The EU acknowledges there is an issue regarding the over-supply of permits and recommends removing 1.4 bn tonnes from the scheme from 2013-20. Sandbag’s analysis shows that this number is much too low and that for caps to be made meaningful 2.3 bn tones need to be removed.
Commenting on the European positions Campaigner Damien Morris said that “The European Trading Scheme is far from living up to its potential. While the Comission’s expected proposal to reduce caps by 1.4 billion tonnes is a promising start, this reduction of the budget will be compromised by the scale of the expected carryover. A carbon budget based more on historical emissions can deliver abatement on a scale more commensurate with our 2050 ambitions. “