Three-way ETS talks, stagnant, to be suspended until autumn

Problems encountered over the past few days in three-way negotiations involving the European Commission, EU member states and European Parliament, looking to make revisions to the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme), appear set to suspend the ongoing talks until autumn.

The future, beyond 2020, of the ETS, a cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively, is at the core of these negotiations.

Officials are seeking to restrict excess emission rights currently available in the market.

Also being discussed is an emission rights offer for EU member states with smaller GDPs, as well as the establishment of emission limits for new power stations. Both the GDP and emission limit issues concern Greece.

An understanding of the interconnectivity of all these matters has been gained during the ETS talks, while thorough analyses of all related tangents have been carried out and positions adopted, one participant informed. “The difficulties faced have to do with revisions of one issue prompting the need to make changes to others,” the official informed.

As a result, the European Commission appears to have requested further data and technical processing before the three-way negotiations resume.

The ultimate objective of these ETS talks is to have adopted a single European position ahead of an upcoming UN climate change conference scheduled for November. At present, this objective appears to be out of reach.