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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Euro-MPs reject reform of climate change rules

The EU’s mechanism – the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – for tackling climate change lies in tatters after MEPs, including UKIP and Tory members, rejected proposals to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emission ‘permits’ granted to industry – and the price of emissions permits plunged accordingly.

London’s Green Party MEP Jean Lambert said the mechanism was now effectively dead – and warned that, with no ‘Plan B’ in place, the decision means the EU will be unable to meet its own emissions reduction targets.

Speaking after the vote, she said: “The ETS is now effectively dead.

“MEPs have, shamefully, voted not to fix errors in the system, and this has seen the ‘carbon price’ record its biggest ever fall, putting pressure on other schemes worldwide, and reducing income for financing the changes needed to meet the energy needs and emission reduction commitments of the 21st century – in turn reducing much-needed job opportunities.

“The vote means industry has, effectively, lost its biggest incentive to clean up its act, and we’ll see more emissions as a result.

“The only hope the EU now has of meeting its ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 and as much as 95% by 2050 (compared with 1990 levels) is to replace the ETS with a another mechanism – but there is no ‘Plan B’ on the table.

“We need the European Parliament to regain its ambition on rising to the challenges of placing the EU economy on a more sustainable footing, and the European Commission to be brave about making its own scheme work into the future.

“With reports this week about an economic backlash resulting from emissions-reduction efforts, we just can’t afford for individual nations to be taking their own approaches.”

MEPs were voting on ‘backloading’ the ETS: a structural reform that would have seen the total number of pollution permits in circulation reduced.