European Parliament to vote on removing cement sector ETS exemption

European Parliament to vote on removing cement sector ETS exemption
08 February 2017

On February 15 the European Parliament will vote on a report from its environment committee on the reform of the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS). Among the recommendations in the report is the suggestion that the practice of allocating permits to the cement sector covering all of its emission be stopped.

According to reports in the Parliament Magazine, MEPs have been subjected to ‘intense’ lobbying from the cement industry.

"The lobbying has been intense with representatives from the sector contacting MEPs on a daily basis. The industry is, clearly, getting very nervous about the outcome of next week's vote in plenary," said Dutch Greens MEP Bas Eickhout.

Cement firms are urging MEPs to support an amendment to the report that would restore the cement industry’s ETS allocations in full. The outcome of the vote is said to be too close to call.

Cement companies currently receive all their emissions permits for free by virtue of their being placed on a carbon leakage list. The rationale behind the list is that if certain industries had to pay for permits to pollute they would lose out to non-EU competitors, thus undermining the ETS’s purpose of cutting emissions by simply moving those emissions to other countries.

Those supporting the report in its unamended form argue that cement, being a bulky commodity, is not subject to international competition in the same way as other sectors on the list, such as steel and chemicals.

Should the Parliament vote to remove cement firms from the carbon leakage list they would still need the agreement of the European Council and the Commission for the reform to go ahead.

Published under Cement News