EU Emission Permits Become New Subsidy for Coal, Other Polluters
Far from serving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equitably and economically, the European Union’s renewed carbon permit-trading scheme will end up “providing big polluters with billions of euros in subsidies,” several groups charge in a letter to the Guardian.
Nine groups, including Friends of the Earth Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory, and Global Justice Now, signed the letter. They and others assert that “emissions trading-linked subsidies to big polluters could reach close to €200 billion” in the economic bloc between 2021 and 2030.
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“The largest share of this figure represents free pollution permits handed out to steel and cement producers, helping them to delay the transition away from fossil fuel dependency,” the groups write.
Issuing free permits to emissions-intensive industries could allow some EU member states “to carry on burning fossil fuels” for decades longer. Poland, for example, which will host next year’s international COP 24 climate summit, could use them “to prolong the lifespan of its ageing coal infrastructure,” the groups note.
“Using emissions trading revenues to extend the life of coal-fired power plants is extremely irresponsible and works directly against efforts to halt catastrophic climate change,” they add.