Friday, November 30, 2007

Legal challenge to ETS mooted

In the first phase of the EU's Emissions Trading System, permits to burn fossil fuels were given away to 5,000 of the EU's biggest polluters.

At one point, the price of permits rose to €27 per tonne, making the whole distribution worth €177 billion.

This inflated their profits and enabled them to out-compete cleaner, less energy-hungry firms. It also encouraged them to lobby in the manner described in Dire Threat to EU renewables.

If, instead, the emissions permits had been given to every EU resident, we could each have been better off by up to €280 a year.

Some campaigners are currently considering whetehr to mount a legal objection to this, on the grounds that the energy companies operated as a cartel, and that the emissions were part of 'the commons' belonging to all EU citizens, who had effectively paid for it through their energy bills.

Although it's a case of bolting the stable door after the horse has run off, the point of the challenge would be to raise awareness of the rip-off and challenge the companies' hegemony.

The only two policies that have a chance to see us through the climate change crisis are not the ETS or carbon capture and storage, but feed-in tarriffs and cap-and-share (or TEQs).

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