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The European Parliament’s ENVI Committee voted for an unfit for purpose Emission Trading System for commercial road transport and buildings.
EU | Brussels

Emission Trading System voted by European Parliament: unfit for purpose

18 May 2022 · Environment

Following yesterday’s vote, the ENVI Committee submitted an impractical, compromised proposal to the European Parliament for the extension of ETS to road transport and buildings (ETS II) which only covers commercial transport.

In practice, the distinction at the pump between private and commercial transport will be quasi-impossible especially for light vehicles. Beyond impracticability and assuming ETS II had the potential to foster decarbonisation, including 35 million commercial vehicles in the scope of ETS II, and excluding 300 million private vehicles will deprive it of any real impact.

Without the majority of road users included, from a financial perspective, the setting-up and administration of the ETS II will be an inefficient and costly exercise for the EU, which will result in limited proceeds collected for the funding of the EU climate goals.

Even an all-inclusive ETS II will still fail to deliver its goals in the version proposed by the European Commission or amended by ENVI.

IRU has suggested crucial changes to EU legislators in order to enable the proposal to achieve its goals. Most notably these include the need for a gradual introduction of the ETS, aligned with technology and charging infrastructure developments; the avoidance of multiple taxation/charging for CO2 emissions; and the reinvestment of revenues earned from ETS for a road back into the road transport sector.

Instead of setting an incentive to decarbonise the road transport sector, ETS II would penalise the transport operators if the basic conditions needed to shift to alternative-fuelled vehicles are not in place: zero-emission vehicles are available and affordable in sufficient numbers, and a dense EU network of alternative fuels infrastructure is in place.

It is surprising to see how ENVI has completely disregarded the critical opinion of the Parliament’s Transport Committee. ENVI has missed the opportunity to propose to the Parliament’s Plenary an ETS II that could deliver its goals. It proposes an impractical system, largely unenforceable. It also sends a strong counterproductive signal to EU citizens and businesses against the vital role of public transport, collective mobility and efficient goods transportation in greening our roads.”

Raluca Marian
IRU’s EU Advocacy Director and General Delegate to the EU