Vote on ETS in less than three weeks / Quite some outstanding issues / Controversial vote on specific points possible

The vote on the biggest ever climate legislation of the European Union is expected to take place in less than three weeks. On 16th (and 17th) May, ENVI will vote on the ETS reform which not only covers the sectors that are already covered but also as a new sector the maritime sector and a new, separate system for road transport and buildings is planned. Positions in some issues are still very far apart even though negotiators of the political groups went now through all parts of the text. Two major outstanding problems are the level of ambition in ETS I and the question if and how the ETS II for buildings and road transport will be introduced. “A majority of the groups in ENVI demands more ambition in ETS I in mainly all the parts of the proposal: not only the overall ambition of 61% of emission reduction in 2030 but also the level of free allowance and the ambition of the so-called MSR. I personally am not convinced that this is the right thing to do and that it reflects a majority in plenary given some of the votes in the opinion-giving Committees,” said Peter Liese, Rapporteur on the file, in a meeting with journalists on Tuesday.

The Committee on Industry (ITRE) that has shared competences on parts of the files, voted on a compromise last week. The start of phasing out of free allowances for sectors covered by the CBAM will be postponed from 2026 to 2028 according to that vote in ITRE. “I think overall the Commission has made a proposal that is in line with the climate law. 61% emissions reduction until 2030 for the ETS sectors which not only includes industry but also the electricity sector - so directly effects every citizens - is much more ambitious than the 40% reduction target in the effort sharing which includes transport, buildings and agriculture. I think it is not the right approach to question important elements of the European Commission’s proposal like the ETS II and at the same time think the trick can only be done by ETS I. It has to be taken into account that only 38% of the emissions are covered by ETS I so the decarbonisation of the European economy can only happen if we address all sectors,” said Peter Liese, environmental spokesperson for the biggest group in the European Parliament (EPP - Christian Democrats).

The Rapporteur presented a new compromise proposal on ETS II to his colleagues. Important elements are an earlier start of the Social Climate Fund (two years earlier than the ETS II), a price cap of 55 euros, and the obligation for the fuel and gas suppliers to cover part of the costs from ETS II. “We are not yet there and I am not sure if we can finally achieve a compromise that gathers a majority in the Parliament. Still, I am still optimistic and explore together with my colleagues the best possible options. I am also still ready to look at the idea to start with commercial operators only and include the private sector at a later stage,” explained Liese.