12 Jan 2022, 13:35
Julian Wettengel

German EU lawmaker proposes temporary “opt out” for CO2 price in private transport and buildings

Süddeutsche Zeitung / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Member countries of the EU should have the option to temporarily opt out of the planned emissions trade for transport and buildings when it comes to the private sector, says a legislative proposal by Peter Liese, the lawmaker in charge of European Parliament negotiations on the plans, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung. This would appease governments which worry about what rising prices for transport and heating fuels mean for consumers, especially at a time of very high energy prices in the EU, writes the newspaper. According to the draft by the conservative German MEP (member of the European Parliament), seen by the newspaper, countries would be allowed to exempt private housing and private transport from emissions trading for the first two years if they can conclusively demonstrate that they will achieve their climate targets in another way. “I’m afraid this is necessary at the moment to reach a sizable majority,” Liese told Süddeutsche Zeitung. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes that it is unclear how the proposal could be implemented in practice. “After all, different prices would then apply at petrol stations for private individuals and tradesmen or haulage companies. The same would apply to the heating costs of offices and private homes.”

Until now, the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) sets a CO2 price for energy and energy-intensive industry sectors. However, in July 2021, the European Commission proposed to set up a second emissions trading system from 2026 for transport and buildings as part of its “Fit for 55 package” of energy and climate legislation to bring the bloc on course for its 2030 climate target. The process is now in the hands of member state governments in the EU Council, and the European Parliament, where Liese is the so-called rapporteur, heading the process of parliamentary negotiations. He will present his proposal on Friday, 14 January. The responsible committee work should be finished by May and a plenary vote take place shortly thereafter. Then, difficult negotiations with member states will kick off. Liese told Süddeutsche that “we are far from having a majority” of country governments in support of the new emissions trading system as of now.

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