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EU Lawmakers Set Jan. 24 Debate on Law Fix to Delay Carbon Sales

European Union lawmakers set Jan. 24 as the date for talks on changing a draft emissions-trading law in a bid to curb the oversupply of permits, according to an EU document.

The European Parliament’s environment committee will consider amendments to a bill that would enable delaying auctions of 900 million carbon permits, according to the agenda of the meeting. The measure, proposed by the European Commission last year, would reiterate the EU regulator’s right to decide the timing of permit sales, allowing it to tackle a record glut of allowances.

If parliament passes the bill, EU member states would next have to pass a separate measure with details of auction delays.

At stake are prices in the world’s biggest cap-and-trade emissions system after they plunged about 76 percent since the beginning of 2008 as the economic crisis hurt industrial output. The glut has swelled to almost half of the average annual pollution limit in the 27-nation EU.

Members of the Parliament’s environment committee proposed a total of 42 changes to the commission’s one-sentence amendment to the emissions trading law. The discussion next week will provide more clarity on the positions of political groups in the assembly. Talks about the measure will continue until Feb. 19, when the committee is scheduled to vote.

Representatives of political groups in parliamentary committees usually agree on amendments to legislative proposals before a vote. The position of a committee supervising the measure is a recommendation to the whole assembly. The plenary vote on the carbon law fix may be held in March at the earliest, according to Matthias Groote, the chairman of the environment committee and supervisor of the draft measure.

Members of the committee on Jan. 24 are also scheduled to consider a draft report on a freeze on emissions-trading obligations on foreign flights proposed by the commission in November, the agenda showed.

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