€200 bn Polluter Bonuses Unleashed by ETS Reform Proposals

February 15, 2017 — Today’s European Parliament vote on the reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) rubber stamps substantial new handouts to polluting industries and locks in a climate target far short of a fair EU share of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU Parliament passed measures that represent around €200 billion in free pollution permits and additional funds for polluting industries, although the eventual value could be higher once the rules on continuing subsidies for the cement and other energy intensive sectors have been clarified.

Corporate Europe Observatory’s Oscar Reyes said:

“It looks like the EU Parliament is quite happy to prolong the welfare scheme for big polluters that has already failed to reduce emissions for too long. EU taxpayers will be the ones forced to pick up the bill for the heavy subsidies forked out to polluting industries.”

The vote also confirms a lack of ambition at the heart of the emissions trading scheme, which is the EU’s flagship climate policy tool.

Frida Kieninger of Food & Water Europe added:

“The 2.2 per cent annual reduction target is a shameful capitulation that is still far off the EU’s fair share of necessary climate action set out in the Paris Agreement.

“It is high time that the EU institutions realise that the ETS is not fit for purpose and scrap it in favour of more effective climate regulations.”

Notes to editors:

  • The EU Parliament voted on the ETS reform proposals and amendments listed here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/report-details.html?reference=A8-0003-2017
  • The value of free pollution permits and ETS-linked funds will amount to around €198 billion between 2021 and 2030. This figure assumes an average carbon price of €25, and is broken down as follows: Free industry permits worth €135 billion, Innovation Fund €15 billion, Indirect Cost Fund €11 billion, Modernisation Fund €8 billion, Flexible Share €19 billion, New Entrants’ Reserve €10 billion.
  • This media reaction has also been endorsed by attac France.


London Zoo Pressed: Withdraw Support for “Dangerous” Conference


Common Resources

Brussels—An international coalition led by Food & Water Europe wrote to the London Zoological Society today urging it to withdraw from hosting an international conference on biodiversity offsetting due to take place at the Zoo’s Regent’s Park facility in June.

UK think tank The Corner House, Italian pressure group Re:Common, Spain’s Ecologistas en Accion, the Indigenous Environmental Network in the US and Urgewald in Germany joined in calling on the Zoo to pull out of the conference, saying biodiversity offsetting does not work and other, better options are available to protect the world’s ecosystems.

“We’ve explained to the Zoo that there are many better options available, and we would expect LZS themselves to be making this point to others engaged in the ongoing discussion rather than perpetuating the dangerous myth that you can pick up an ecosystem and move it somewhere else,” said Eve Mitchell, EU Food Policy Advisor for Food & Water Europe. “The whole concept of offsetting is flawed; it even starts from the wrong place by seeking to find a way to make construction projects easier instead of making them better. It’s not surprising such a ‘solution’ is counterproductive.” 

Mitchell added, “If flawed economic models and the bad behaviour of participants in economic systems have caused the problems we now face, we just don’t see how extending and complicating these institutions can be the solution. Based on the evidence from existing offsetting schemes, we firmly believe proper governmental oversight and regulation, coupled with robust enforcement and meaningful sanctions for violations, are the only real way to protect our common natural heritage from those who seek to profit from it. We urge the Zoo to join us in seeking real environmental protection. Pulling out of this conference would be a good start.”

Read the official letter here.


Food & Water Europe – Eve Mitchel, +44 (0)1381 610 740 or +44 (0)7962 437 [email protected]

REDD+ Offsets Don’t Add Up



New Food & Water Europe Report Shows Why Use of International Forest Offsets Won’t Reduce Carbon Emissions
Brussels — Developments in the United States may lead to the adoption of international forest offsets being permitted in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). California’s newly launched carbon market is considering allowing offsets from REDD+ programs while at the same time the state is considering linking its market with the EU’s. California would be the first carbon market to allow international forest offsets. A new report, Bad Trade: International Forest Offsets and the Carbon Market, released by Food & Water Europe today, demonstrates that international forest offsets should not be allowed into any carbon market because they don’t encourage emission reductions at the source, but instead privatize natural resources, present opportunities for corrupt offset trading, and threaten the livelihoods and resources of indigenous communities.
Forest offsets would allow for a polluter in one location to pay for the protection of a section of forest in another location anywhere in the world, based on the idea that trees, which absorb carbon, can offset the emissions of the polluter. This methodology puts a financial value on the prevention of deforestation and degradation, essentially turning areas in countries with heavy forest cover into a financial opportunity for corporate greed.
REDD+ offsets lead to the financialization and privatization of nature. In addition, forests usurped into REDD+ programs become off-limits to the indigenous communities that have lived there for decades and have sustainably managed the forests without financial incentives.
“California’s attempts to allow international forest offsets could force Europe to adopt the same standards,” said Gabriella Zanzanaini, Director of European Affairs for Food & Water Europe. “Linking carbon markets to international forest offsets is essentially financializing nature, which could lead to corporate and governmental land grabs, displacement of indigenous peoples from their homes, and possibly the creation of a counterfeit offset market that grants credits without actually protecting forests.”
You can view the Food & Water Europe report Bad Trade: International Forest Offsets and the Carbon Market or download a PDF version here: http://fwwat.ch/12i6eLm
Contact: Rich Bindell, Food & Water Watch, +1 202-683.2457, [email protected]