The EU’s emission trading scheme (EU ETS) was launched in 2005 to promote the reduction of greenhouse gases. This was done through setting a cap on the volume of gases emitted, to decrease over time, moving towards the goal of reducing CO2 by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 – a target put into place in light of the 2015 Paris COP21 Agreement on climate change.

On July 15, 2015, the Commission proposed changes to the directive to better reach the goals laid out in the EU ETS. These changes would include increasing the pace of emission reductions from 1.74% to 2.2% annually after 2021. For context, this is approximately 556 million tons of CO2 emissions between 2020 and 2030, or about the same as the UK’s annual emissions.

The proposal includes changes to the emission allocation system with a revision of the system of free allocation, more flexible rules, and an update of 52 benchmarks used for measuring emissions performance to account for technological advances since 2008.

The Environmental Council met February 28, 2017 to discuss their negotiating position for this proposed revision to the EU ETS. During this meeting they also discussed ways to increase citizen involvement, as well as ways to approach gaps in environmental legislation.

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