Climate commissioner pushes for EU ETS set-aside in 2012

Publish date: April 20, 2012

The EU Emission Trading System will be revised this year to increase the price of emission allowances known as EUAs.

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard stated on April 19 that she has “already asked DG Climate Action to prepare the first annual report on the ETS. […] This offers an opportunity to include a review of the auction time profile.” meaning a so-called “set-aside” of EUAs could be decided in 2012.

The economic recession has reduced demand for EUAs, whose price has come down from close to €30 in mid-2008, to the current level of €6.14. A Commission report on the ETS was initially due next year, but is now brought forward.

This report is expected to give recommendations on measures that could raise the price of EUAs. Options include a reserve auction price or withholding EUAs from the market (a set aside).

A set-aside could be adopted through a so-called EU comitology process by the end of the year.

The question remaining  is what will happen with the EUAs set aside. That is why the issue of longer term action to protect the carbon price was also discussed by the ministers on April 19 in Denmark.

A majority recognised that the best way to achieve this is to adopt a binding EU greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2030, according to news service ENDS.