EU Seeks Accelerated Talks on Plan to Delay Some Carbon Auctions

The European Union’s regulatory arm is considering options to accelerate talks with governments on a proposal to delay some auctions of carbon allowances starting next year, a European Commission official said.

The commission may seek additional meetings of experts from national governments to discuss a draft plan it proposed in July, said Peter Zapfel, coordinator for the emissions trading system at the commission. Member states have yet to agree on their position on the so-called backloading measure, which aims to postpone sales of some carbon permits to curb oversupply.

“The commission is determined to accelerate discussions with member states on backloading,” Zapfel said by e-mail from Brussels. “We work hard to facilitate an agreement on this before the end of 2012.”

At stake are prices in the EU emissions-trading system, which fell to a record in April after the economic crisis hurt industrial output, boosting the glut of permits to almost half of the average annual pollution limit in the world’s biggest cap-and-trade program.

The draft measure on carbon-permit auction delays needs qualified-majority backing from representatives of national governments in the EU Climate Change Committee to pass. The committee, known as CCC, normally meets once a month and the commission chairs its gatherings.

The EU hasn’t yet proposed a specific number of permits to be delayed and plans to do so after finishing work on an impact assessment, which will be ready “in the coming weeks,” Jos Delbeke, director general for climate action at the commission, said yesterday. The permits will be returned to the market at a later stage of next trading period in the EU program that ends in 2020, the commission has said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ewa Krukowska in Brussels at Alessandro Vitelli in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at

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