‘Work is still to be done on ETS’ – Davey

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The UK’s energy secretary believes that the backloading initiative for the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) has some way to go before being passed into European law.

Ed Davey told a House of Lords EU Committee that there are potential impediments ahead of full implementation by the European Council.

“We are very pleased that the Parliament voted in favour of the proposal; however it now needs consideration to secure a swift agreement.

Ed Davey
“As I understand it the Council now needs to secure a qualified majority. Three member states – Poland Cyprus and Greece will vote against. States need to be reconciled and particularly those member states who have yet to make up their view, such as Spain, Czech Republic and Portugal. As well as that the views of the next German government will have to be seen.

“All in all it suggests work is still to be done in the council.

Davey conceded that the ETS is not a perfect system and would need a wider debate before implementation, before expressing confidence in its ultimate merits.

“It needs reform and we are exercising every sinew to get that reform and I would not suggest it hasn’t been difficult. It should be noted that the ETS has been copied in other parts of the world, such as Australia, Korea, as well as Chinese pilots and equivalents in the US.”

On Wednesday, Mr Davey emphasised again that other countries and regions were seeking to emulate the ETS model, stating on Twitter, “Chinese Minister Xie says China copying EU's carbon market but EU now needs to reform EU ETS - backloading and structural reform: I agree.”

At the Lords session, Mr Davey stood over the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) aim of getting the EU to agree to a 40 per cent reduction in emissions.

“Ours is an ambitious target, the most of any member state. We also believe it should be 50 per cent by 2050 as that is what the science says; we didn’t just pick it out of nowhere. We came out early as we wanted to get other member states to be similarly ambitious.”

Taking aim at those who seek to undermine policy on climate change, the energy secretary said industrial success and environmental consideration were not mutually exclusive.

“We are doing this in the interests of the economy. There are people who say that measures to be taken in tackling climate change must always be a burden. That’s not the case. Lots of EU and UK business believe it is in our interests and their voices need to be heard.”

Addressing Lord Pickles doubts that Poland’s energy policy was conducive to European aims, Mr Davey said countries like Poland would be given opportunity to adjust over time and added that he “could see a Polish energy policy which is very compliant with what the EU is about at an ambitious level.”

In a wide-ranging Q&A, he also took time to address growing fears for the UK’s energy security by 2017, by pointing out that the media had ‘only covered half the story’ of a June 22nd announcement on the subject

“Particular media just dealt with what would happen if we didn’t do anything- the full story would have pointed out two further announcements – OFGEM-National Grid, and DECC have initiated a capacity market to stimulate new generation while other plants are to stay on line longer than what they would have done – to 2020. In addition we will be paying mothballs plants to be ready to come online if wanted and we have also examined the demand side. We have answered the energy security challenge.”

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