EU Parliament pushes member states to ringfence EUAs for climate finance

Published 22:29 on October 14, 2015  /  Last updated at 15:16 on October 15, 2015  /  Climate Talks, EMEA, EU ETS, International  /  No Comments

The full EU Parliament on Wednesday voted to urge member states to ringfence some of the revenue to be raised from auctioning post-2020 EUAs for foreign climate aid, piling further pressure on finance ministers to stump up money for poorer nations.

The full EU Parliament on Wednesday voted to urge member states to ringfence some of the revenue to be raised from auctioning post-2020 EUAs for foreign climate aid, piling further pressure on finance ministers to stump up money for poorer nations.

The MEPs agreed to earmark the cash as part of a non-binding resolution that forms a more ambitious mandate than the one agreed by EU environment ministers last month. Wednesday’s resolution was adopted by 434 votes to 96, with 52 abstentions.

It also urged the EU to increase the ambition in its own pledge, by raising 2030 goals for energy efficiency and renewables to 40% and 30% respectively, up from 27% currently. It kept the same GHG cut target of at least 40% below 1990 levels.

The MEPs’ mandate will not form part of the bloc’s negotiating position at UN climate talks in Paris late this year, but it pushes EU government negotiators to keep ambition high at the summit.

FINANCE IN FOCUS

The bloc’s finance ministers are due to finalise next month a plan for how EU treasuries will propose to contribute to a $100 billion/year commitment to provide climate finance to poorer nations by 2020.

The MEPs also voted for EU negotiators to push for a clear roadmap of financial commitments leading up to the $100 billion level in 2020, and for revenues to be raised by taxing international aviation and shipping emissions.

France, Germany and the UK have this year pledged to substantially scale up their climate finance through 2020, though the UK opposes moves to ringfence funds and for years has led resistance among member states against the Parliament’s attempts to direct the spending of EUA revenues.

The Parliament has struggled to gain traction because while much of the bloc’s climate change policy is decided at EU level, spending is largely determined by member states, according to EU treaties.

ECR ABTAINS

Partly because of the addition of EUA ringfencing, UK MEP Ian Duncan – who is steering the post-2020 ETS reforms through Parliament – led his Eurosceptic ECR political group to abstain from the vote.

“My group is able to support three quarters of the compromises in this report … (But) despite the emerging consensus amongst the political groups in Brussels on matters climate related, the rapporteur has chosen to pursue issues and priorities that divide us,” he told the Parliament, referring to French Socialist MEP Gilles Pargneaux, who co-ordinated today’s resolution.

Duncan said he objected to the resolution’s “allocating and building upon ETS revenues before we have embarked on ETS reform”, its call for a financial transaction tax, and the increased 2030 targets, which he said “will not be delivered against”.

He said he had wanted a more pragmatic stance to ensure Europe spoke with one voice at the Paris talks.

RINGFENCING GOALS

Development and environmental campaigners see the ringfenced EUA cash as a relatively secure way for the bloc to assure developing nations that the EU is making good on its international climate finance commitments.

Sources told Carbon Pulse in July that EU officials had been considering including the idea in their legislative proposal for post-2020 ETS reforms. It eventually recommended that member states do so, leaving the decision up to them.

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

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