Free European Union flags image, public domain CC0 photo.

The European Parliament will try again on Wednesday to agree on more aggressive climate change measures, after rejecting them in a contentious initial vote that threatened to derail the EU’s green drive.

This month, lawmakers rejected revisions to the European Union’s carbon market due to disagreements about how ambitious Europe’s emissions-cutting measures should be in the face of rising energy bills and inflation.

This threatened to postpone the EU’s comprehensive package of climate measures aimed at cleaning up Europe’s energy, manufacturing, and transportation sectors and reducing net EU greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.

On Wednesday, EU legislators will vote on the carbon market, a new border levy on CO2-heavy imports such as steel and cement, and a fund to assist low-income people hit by CO2 prices.

If successful, the vote will reaffirm Parliament’s stance for final legislative discussions with EU governments. The EU members want to reach an agreement on their own stance next week.

The EU’s carbon market, often known as the “emissions trading system” (ETS), is the bloc’s primary mechanism for reducing emissions. When power plants and manufacturers pollute, they are required to purchase CO2 permits, and the number of permits available for purchase is limited.

“You can’t overestimate the impact the ETS file will have on the climate,” said Swedish socialist politician Jytte Guteland.

Before the vote, organizations comprising a majority of parliamentarians – the European People’s Party (EPP), Socialists, and Renew lawmakers – agreed on a compromise. []

According to EPP legislator Esther de Lange, the agreement preserves climate ambition while allowing “breathing space for EU industry”

Their solution would phase down the present free CO2 permits for industry by 2032. The first vote was prevented when Socialists and Green MPs rejected the whole bill due to a 2034 phase-out they judged insufficient. The European Commission, which writes EU legislation, recommended 2035.

The new legislation would also broaden the carbon market to include ships, establish a second market for buildings and transportation, and limit financial investors’ access to the market under some of the proposed amendments.

The scheme’s CO2 permit ceiling will be reduced by 4.4 percent beginning in 2024, 2.5 percent beginning in 2026, and 4.6 percent beginning in 2029, with an additional 70 million permits withdrawn in 2024 and 50 million removed in 2026 to encourage quicker CO2 decreases.

Source: Reuters

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