EU Lawmakers to Seek Removal of Carbon Fix From Report

The European Parliament’s biggest political group plans to seek removal of a call on regulators to tackle oversupply in the region’s carbon market from an energy-policy report by the assembly, a lawmaker said.

The European People’s Party wants to correct a “mistake” by which a non-binding report on the European Union’s energy policy by 2050 included support for a carbon-permit glut supply fix, said Herbert Reul, the group’s lead lawmaker on the measure. The report was adopted by the Parliament’s industry committee on Jan. 24, the same day the panel in a separate ballot voted against a legislative proposal by the European Commission to temporarily reduce a record oversupply on the carbon market.

“EPP is going to suggest a separate vote” next week to reject the part of the report that includes reference to intervention on the carbon market, Reul said by e-mail today. “It is only by accident that this point was included.”

The Parliament is scheduled to hold a debate and then a plenary vote in Strasbourg, France, on the so-called Energy Roadmap report, which represents a non-binding opinion of the assembly about a policy paper presented by the commission. A plenary decision on the commission’s proposal to amend the EU emissions trading law to enable carbon-permit supply curbs, which a majority of EPP members oppose, is scheduled for April.

The EPP is split about the rescue plan for the 54-billion-euro ($70 billion) EU carbon market, where prices slumped as much as 91 percent in the past seven years as the crisis curbed demand for pollution rights. The draft measure has also divided national governments, industry and analysts.

Energy Roadmap

The Energy Roadmap report, which focuses on a different policy area than emissions trading, included a call on the Brussels-based commission to amend “if appropriate” the carbon-permit auctioning regulation “in order to implement appropriate measures which may include withholding the necessary amount of allowances.” The carbon fix the Parliament is considering in a separate process would mean a change of the auctioning regulation to delay sales of some permits in a strategy known as backloading.

During negotiations on the report in the industry committee, known as ITRE, political groups agreed on a compromise wording concerning the emissions trading system, which should have overriden the call for intervention in the carbon market, said Reul, a German Christian Democrat.

“EPP voted against it, but unfortunately it was overlooked by others in the voting list,” he said. “Had more MEPs been aware of the exact wording, other members of ITRE, who rejected backloading on the same day with a clear majority, would surely have voted against it.”