EU Carbon-Fix Plan’s Scrutiny Said Possible to Be Accelerated

The European Union’s emergency plan to help boost carbon prices may get all necessary regulatory approvals as soon as next month and start around April, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, has signaled it may seek a shorter obligatory scrutiny period of the proposal to temporarily cut oversupply in the EU emissions-trading system after a vote by member states tomorrow. The examination of the plan may take as little as about a month in the European Parliament and may be even quicker in the Council of the EU, which represents national governments, according to the people, who asked not to be identified, citing policy.

The draft stopgap measure, which would delay sales of 900 million carbon permits from 2014-2016 until 2019-2020, can be adopted only after those two EU institutions don’t oppose it during a scrutiny period that typically lasts three months, according to EU rules. The commission has the right to ask the EU governments and the European Parliament for an accelerated confirmation that they have no objections.

Under that procedure, representatives of national governments in Brussels may declare before the three-month deadline that they don’t plan to oppose the measure. In the Parliament, such a confirmation would involve the support of the environment committee and a recommendation to the plenary.

Such a recommendation is deemed to have been approved if there’s no opposition within 24 hours following the announcement to the full Parliament. Objections can be raised by a political group or at least 40 members of the Parliament, according to the assembly’s rules of procedures. That would require putting the recommendation to a vote in which a simple majority in favor is sufficient for approval.

All-Time Lows

The EU carbon-market rescue plan, known as backloading, would help emission prices recover from near all-time lows by alleviating a record glut of allowances. The draft measure is subject to a final vote by representatives of member states in the EU Climate Change Committee tomorrow. It will be sent for scrutiny after that vote.

The Parliament’s environment committee next meets on Jan. 9 and then on Jan. 22-23. Plenary sessions are scheduled for Feb. 3-7, Feb. 24-27 and March 10-13.

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