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Emissions trading

On February 28th, EU Environment Council Ministers approved the reform of the regulation for “emissions trading“. The “exchange of emission quotas” was born many years ago, in 2003. Shortly after signing of the Kyoto Protocol, European Union introduced the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme – EU ETS (EC Directive 2003/87 / EC): it adopted the “cap and trade” mechanism for industrial plants, for enterprise that produce electricity and thermal energy and for aircraft operators. Countries that had promised to limit CO2 emissions, allowed enterprises to continue and pollute above these limits if only other industries or other countries commit themselves and remain below their limits. Thousands of companies are interested: 11 thousand operators of thermal power and industrial systems, manufacturing enterprises (energy industries, production and processing of metals, concrete, ceramics and tiles, glass, paper) and operators planes. From 2013, were added aluminum production plants, quicklime, nitric acid, adipic acid, hydrogen, carbonate and sodium bicarbonate and the installations for the capture, transport and storage of CO2. All these enterprises will continue and pollute the environment poisoning vast territories notwithstanding limitations imposed by international agreements signed by countries in recent years.

The “European system of emissions trading” provides that industries receive a part of “quotes” of emissions. If they don’t respect these limits they are not prohibited or even sanctioned: they can go on if they purchase “quotes” from other industries or countries. The “cap” of emissions allowed can be bought or sold on the market (“trade”) of CO2 emission rights ( “shares”) within a specified time limit. To control these exchanges European Union Allowances, EUAs and European Union Aviation Allowances, EUA-A.

In 2003 a carbon secondary market was born where companies can buy and sell shares which are included in the single European Union registry, a database in electronic format that keeps track of all changes to compensate emissions. More polluting companies can continue to do it. They just have to pay for it! The recourse to this stratagem was due to avoid that many industries would be forced to transfer due to carbon emissions costs (carbon leakage).

This doesn’t justify that this way to save the environment is absolutely unacceptable: it allows many of the major polluters of the area to continue making it as long as you pay another Union area for waiver of industrialization. And since these “exchanges” of CO2 emissions are recorded in the single EU registry, EU (which manages this computer database) is responsible for the overshoot of pollution levels in many areas and for the consequences like diseases and deaths.

What changed recently was the definition of the sectors covered by the EU ETS that will have to reduce their emissions by no more than 40% compared to 2005, but 43%: as of 2021, the allowances for sale will decrease with a greater progression than before (by 2.2% per annum instead of 1.74%).

With the agreement signed recently, it changed the free allocation system of “quotes” (about 50 sectors), was provided a significant number of free shares more flexible rules and, above all, were updated the 52 benchmarks used to measure the performance standards for emissions. All measures that encourage the major CO2 emitters doing it.

Citizens of all Europe will pay for it (and not just with their health): between 2021 and 2030 will be “given away” 6.3 billion “quotes”, for a value of 160 billion euro. To these permit to pollute Environment ministers added the establishment of two new funds: the fund for innovation (for innovative technologies and pioneering industrial innovations) and the fund for the modernization (for modernization of the energy sector and energy systems aimed at 10 states with the lowest income members).

A very strange way to save the environment.



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