EU Parliament Committee Surveys Members on Carbon-Fix Scrutiny

The European Parliament’s environment panel gave its members until Jan. 24 to signal opposition to a measure that would alleviate oversupply of carbon permits, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

The procedure may speed up the scrutiny that the emergency carbon-fix regulation must undergo in the Parliament before it’s implemented, according to the people, who asked not to be identified, citing policy. Members of the panel can raise an objection to the measure, already approved by representatives of national governments, by noon next Friday.

The stopgap carbon measure would temporarily curb supply in the EU emissions-trading system by delaying auctions of 900 million allowances in 2014-2016 and returning the permits to the market in 2019-2020. The world’s biggest cap-and-trade system is oversupplied by a record 2 billion tons of permits, according to EU estimates.

Should no opposition be voiced, the environment committee will get the green light to recommend to the heads of Parliament’s panels that the three-month scrutiny period be shortened, under the assembly’s rules. Following an approval from them, such a recommendation would be announced to the plenary, whose next sessions are scheduled for Feb. 3-7, Feb. 24-27 and March 10-13.


An objection in the environment committee can be raised on the grounds that the measure exceeds the implementing powers of the European Commission or is not compatible with the aim of the region’s emissions-trading legislation, according to the bloc’s law. It would require a resolution to that effect to be proposed and then voted in the committee.

The length of the scrutiny period of the carbon-fix measure, known as backloading, is key to determining the start date of the planned supply curbs in the emissions market. The EU will postpone the sales of 400 million allowances this year if backloading starts in the first quarter and 300 million if it begins in the second.

To enable an early start of the fix, member states also need to agree to shorten the evaluation period. There’s no date yet on when ambassadors from national governments to the EU could decide on that matter.

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