Hard Times Ahead For Eu Carbon Investment As Meps Reject Backloading Plan

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It seems that for the time being carbon investment in the EU will not get the much needed price support, with a committee of MEPs rejecting plans for propping up the price in the EU’s carbon market. The decision predictably sent prices of carbon allowances down, spiralling to a new record low of below 3 a tonne.

MEPs Reject Backloading Plan

On January 25, BusinessGreen reported that the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee voted against a proposal by the European Commission to withhold permits from the market before reintroducing them at a later date. The process, known as backloading, was intended to remove part of the oversupply of EU carbon allowances (EUAs) in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

Carbon Price Hits a Fresh Low

Although the vote is just one of the steps in a process which could still see the backloading plan implemented, the result sent the trading price of EUAs to a record low of 2.81 a tonne. BusinessGreen quoted Miles Austin, executive director of the Climate Markets and Investment Association, as saying that without the backloading it was difficult to see how the EU ETS would remain relevant for future climate policy. It will be driving little significant change, certainly not at the scale needed for Europe to promote a low-carbon economy and remain internationally competitive, Mr Austin added.

Analysts have estimated that the price of EUAs needs to be approximately ten times higher to drive low carbon investment on a large-scale.

Wake-Up Call

On January 24, Reuters quoted the EUs Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard as saying that the carbon price fall to less than 3 should serve as a wake-up call to EU Member States to back the Commissions backloading plan. It must be clear to all that when the Commission warned that the ETS price could drop dramatically it was not a false warning but a real possibility, Ms Hedegaard was quoted as saying.

Indeed,carbon investment prospects in the EU seem grim at present, with Reuters reporting that following the parliamentary vote SocieteGenerale cut its forecasts for average EUAs carbon prices from 2013 to 2015 by around 30 percent. Negative news and events relating to the EU ETS continue to pile up and come from all sides, the bank said. The EU ETS has become a one-way market, spiralling down.

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