MEPs want to put out of the next phase of trading the Emissions Trading System (ETS)

The Environment Committee at the European Parliament voted in favour to take out of the next phase of trading the Emissions Trading System (ETS) credits in order to help lift the sinking carbon price. In addition, MEPs also voted on measures aiming to get the EU on track to meet its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020.

The Environment Committee backed the Energy Efficiency Directive with 52 votes in favour, 3 against and 6 abstentions. Among the measures, MEPs called for ETS credits to be set aside. They insisted that the Commission should set a significant number of allowances aside to stabilise the carbon price. Furthermore, they agreed that 1.4 billion allowances should be cancelled and that the 'linear factor' (which sets an annual decrease) should be increased to 2.25%. In May this year, the EU announced that emissions of greenhouse gases from businesses participating in the EU Emissions Trading System increased in 2010.

On the other hand, the Environment Committee supported the Commission's broad approach to improving energy efficiency, but called for Member States to have "mandatory national targets" and greater flexibility on how to achieve them. MEPs said Member States should be allowed to opt out of a proposed target to renovate 3% of public buildings annually, as long as they achieved more in other areas.

Moreover, MEPs call for an improvement on the energy efficiency because it would be the most cost-effective way to achieve or improve on EU emissions-reduction targets and to help reduce the EU's current €400 billion annual bill for energy imports. The EU is currently projected to achieve only half of its 20% energy efficiency target for 2020.