EU Environment Council 26 October: EU ETS & fossil fuel subsidies
EU Ministers for Environment and Climate will meet on Monday 26 October 2015.
Update 20 October: the meeting page now has agenda highlights & background brief (pdf). Added to the agenda: ‘The ministers will also address the issue of emissions from cars and manipulation of emission control systems in cars relating to the air quality in the EU.’ The Belgian delegation has submitted an information note on ‘Real-driving emissions and manipulations of emission control systems in cars – serious problems impeding improvements of air quality in the European Union’. And there is a collective request from several delegations for more information from the EU Commission.
While the meeting page currently (10 October) contains no agenda or documents yet, elsewhere I spotted two documents that indicate what will be on the agenda. On 9 October, the Council General Secretariat sent two documents to the EU Member States’ Permanent Representations. Update: on 16 October a third document was sent. See below for further details. And the Council’s ‘Main topics & media events’ indicate that the UN’s Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development will be the third topic to be discussed (see visual).
EU ETS Reform
The Ministers will have an orientation debate on the structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, or more precisely, on ‘enhancing cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments’.
Homework for the Ministers: ‘The Presidency invites the Council (Environment) to address the following questions:
- Do the proposed reforms in combination with the recently adopted Market Stability Reserve adequately strengthen the EU ETS to serve as the key tool to deliver Europe’s climate objectives in the next decade, including climate finance for vulnerable third countries?
- Do the proposed free allocation rules strike the right balance between addressing the risk of carbon leakage to safeguard the competitiveness of energy-intensive industry, and strengthening the incentive to innovate in the transition to a low-carbon economy?
- Are the proposed low carbon funding mechanisms for industrial innovation and energy sector modernisation a sufficient stimulus for public and private investments needed to achieve the 2030 climate target?’
The Ministers will also have an exchange of views ‘on two key issues, namely (1) the phasing out of environmentally-harmful subsidies [EHS] and (2) the implementation of environmental policies and legislation.’
Homework for the Ministers: read the 10-page background paper ‘Harmful Subsidies, European Semester & Better Implementation‘ (for link see below) and ‘focus the discussion on the following questions:
On environmentally harmful subsidies:
1. What are the barriers to phasing out of harmful subsidies and how can they be or have been overcome or in your country? What factors (e.g. transitional measures, increased transparency/publicity about beneficiaries, innovative schemes, governance of interface with special interest groups) and what interest groups in your experience are drivers for successful EHS reform?
2. How can EHS reform be better integrated into broader EU efforts to promote competitiveness, growth and employment and through which instruments? Can better regulation and the promotion of greater policy coherence be drivers of EHS reform? What is the experience in your country?
On greening the Semester and improving environmental implementation:
3. Do you think that the change towards a new economic model based on a circular economy and inspired by the universally applicable Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs to be reflected in the Annual Growth Survey 2016 and in future years?
4. Taking account of experience in implementing policies and legislation, would it be useful to start structured strategic policy discussions in the Council about the underlying causes of outstanding and common systemic implementation gaps on the acquis and on agreed policies, based on analysis of such gaps?’
Under ‘any other business’, EU Minsters will also be updated on recent key informal climate change events:
- High-level climate change events around UN General Assembly in New York
- Climate finance ministerial meetings in Lima and presentation of OECD-CPI report
- Sharp increase in the number of INDCs put forward and INDC Forum in Rabat