ETS reform: carbon emissions four times those of EU coal plants in play

Posted on 29 May 2017

​“We must get the Emissions Trading System right before it becomes the extinct dodo of EU climate policy”.
Brussels, Belgium - 29 May 2017

Ahead of tomorrow’s trilogue negotations on EU Emissions Trading System reform, Sam Van den plas, senior climate policy officer at WWF European Policy Office, said:

“Our future depends on Europe’s carbon pollution going down further, faster. The Emissions Trading System can help us do this, but we need to get it right now, before it becomes the extinct dodo of EU climate policy”.

“Decision-makers must act responsibly and permanently remove surplus pollution permits from the market and curb those given for free to Europe’s largest polluters. This would remove about 3.4 billion tonnes of CO2 from the ETS’s carbon budget - the same as switching off all EU coal fired power plants for around 4.5 years.”[1]

“If we do all this, we have a chance of finally making the Emissions Trading System into a meaningful tool for climate action. What’s more, billions of ETS auctioning revenues coming into the coffers of Member States will help fund the transition to 100% renewable and energy efficient future.”

The European Parliament, European Council and European Commission.

The trilogue is a discussion between the three institutions in order to move towards a joint position on the Emissions Trading System (ETS) reform. The first one took place on 4 April, and further meetings are expected to take place in the next few months.

Prior to this, both the Member States and the European Parliament had reached a position on the European Commission’s proposal. The Member States wanted the cancellation of unused allowances from the ETS Market Stability Reserve (the temporary ‘bank’ where surplus allowances will be placed), but still allowed free pollution permits for heavy industry. The MEPs agreed to cancel 800 million emission allowances from the Market Stability Reserve, but reduced the linear reduction factor (the amount by which available allowances go down each year) to 2.2% from the proposed 2.4%.

When and where:
Tuesday 30 May, Brussels, Belgium

Sarah Azau
Senior Communication Officer, WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 473 57 31 37

Sam Van den plas,
Senior Climate Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 2 740 09 32

Note to the editor:
[1]  This calculation is the difference between the European Commission proposal on ETS reform and WWF's position. Data sources:, EEA (2016),
Five steps to fixing the EU Emissions Trading System so it makes polluters pay and reduces carbon pollution.
© WWF / Ros Graphic