The [new report today from the UK’s Environmental Audit Select Committee]( “”) couldn’t have been clearer in its recommendations on the future of the EU Emissions Trading stating that it was ‘imperative’ to reduce the ETS cap with a ‘much tougher’ one needed. With reports from Parliament’s independent committees always carefully worded this is pretty strong stuff and their call also comes at a timely moment with CO2 reduction targets on the agenda for a meeting of EU leaders this Thursday. And having given evidence to the Committee last year, we’re also delighted that they took on this recommendation along with many other Sandbag ideas.
In fact the title of the report – ‘[The role of carbon markets in preventing dangerous climate change]( “”)’- is also striking. If you’re wondering what’s so special about this title, well it’s the explicit recognition that emissions trading is here to serve a purpose. In much of our work at Sandbag, the policymakers and experts we speak to seem to forget this – like Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s there is a belief in laissez faire economics – leave it to the free market and all will be fine! But standing where we are today, with too many emissions permits issued to industry, the recession cutting swathes off our CO2 emissions and the continued availability of millions of cheap offset credits from overseas; the market is powerless. The carbon market cannot adjust to these developments unless we act to reform it, and fast.
Critics, who are hovering like vultures around the scheme at the moment will of course, try and take this report as evidence of the need to scrap emissions trading. This is to misread the report’s clear support for a reformed Emissions Trading Scheme, and its intelligent reading of the uphill political struggle of establishing any alternative. Indeed, even if the vultures hoping to feast on Emissions Trading had their way, their appetites would only briefly be satisfied – if EU leaders are struggling to get through a 30% emissions reduction target that amounts to little more than business as usual it’s hard to see how they could implement tough carbon taxes or regulation to replace the ETS.
So at Sandbag HQ we’ll be doing our utmost to make sure that the voices of all those who have signed [our petition]( “”) for stronger reductions in C02 levels are heard loud and clear in the corridors of Brussels. And we’re not going to give up until the EU does put in place the new caps on emissions that the world’s climate needs, and that the Emissions Trading Scheme simply can’t do without.