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The EU must allocate fewer emission allowances and stop making free allocations
Date:9/28/2009

en counteracted and delayed. Another example is that in several countries, including Germany and Denmark, an investment in coal-based electricity production has provided entitlement to more emission allowances than an investment in biofuel-based electricity production.

"The most important changes to the system would be firstly to reduce the number of emission allowances in the market. The total volume of emissions is determined by how many emission allowances are allocated or sold by the EU to companies. The volume of emissions becomes exactly the same as the number of emission allowances. Secondly there is a need for a sharp increase in the proportion of emission allowances sold to companies, rather than allocated to firms at no cost as is done at present.

The changes proposed to come into effect in 2013 signify important steps in the right direction, according to Wrke. The number of emission allowances decreases somewhat in comparison with today, by 1.74 per cent annually starting in 2013, compared with the average number over the period 2008-2012. Another change is that roughly half the emission allowances will be sold at auctions instead of being allocated for free. Only 4 per cent of emission allowances are sold at present. But important questions remain:

"Who is to receive the 50 per cent of emission allowances that are to be allocated free? On what grounds is the number each company is to receive to be decided? The EU has established assessment criteria, but they are so woolly that they have led to intensive lobbying by industry. It has not been decided how the auctions will be held in practice," Wrke notes.

Facts: Emissions trading

The principle underpinning EU emissions trading is that the EU decides the maximum total carbon dioxide emissions that can be permitted from industry each year. On the other hand, the EU does not involve itself in who makes these emissions. Instead companies are allowed to buy and sell carbon
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Contact: Karin Backteman
karin.backteman@economics.gu.se
46-317-862-595
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert

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