05 May 2021, 12:35
Edgar Meza

Many EU countries wary of expanding emissions trading system – media report

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Tagesspiegel Background

Many European Union member states are rejecting calls to expand emissions trading to the heating and transport sectors in the bloc in order to more efficiently meet ambitious climate targets, Helmut Bünder, Christian Geinitz and Hendrik Kafsack write in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Economists who support the plan argue that reducing the EU’s myriad climate targets and replacing them with an expanded emissions trading system would more efficiently and in a market-oriented fashion accomplish the bloc’s goals. But many member states have expressed concerns about a planned expansion of carbon pricing to other sectors, according to the report, which lists 11 countries, including France, Italy, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The social consequences of emissions charges related to living and driving is a main reason behind the opposition. In the case of France, it was the planned taxation of fossil fuels that triggered the massive yellow vest protests across the country, the FAZ points out. Leading member states that support an expansion of carbon pricing include Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark. At the beginning of the year, Germany introduced a national emissions trading scheme for heating and transport fuels, which it would like to see merged into a European framework. Finland described emissions trading as a "core instrument for emissions reductions."

Speaking to Tagesspiegel Background, Pascal Canfin, the French MEP who chairs the European Parliament’s committee on environment and public health, said there was a big push for the plan from Germany and that the Parliament would be open to it if done right. “If the German vision is to set a CO2 price in transport instead of having effective CO2 standards for cars, that would be an absolute no-go for Parliament.” A standard, not the price, is what is necessary, he added. He also underscored the need to handle the social consequences properly. “As a French citizen, I can tell you, you will get the yellow vests if you do it wrong. So, when we set a carbon price for heating, cooling and transport, we need to make sure that the distributive effect is handled properly. Otherwise it could be counterproductive.”

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