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Brussels (AFP) Nov 12, 2012
The European Commission proposed Monday cutting the pollution credits auctioned to firms in 2013-2015 in order to raise the price of carbon and make investment in clean technology worthwhile.
The proposal, published on the Commission's website, has been submitted to EU member states, according to the Commission's climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard.
The EU's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is a so-called cap-and-trade system that seeks to fight climate change by gradually tightening the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by companies.
Companies receive annual carbon emissions targets. They are allotted some carbon emission credits but then must purchase allowances that have been auctioned or earned by other companies.
However the price of carbon allowances under the EU's ETS has fallen so low that companies do not have a major incentive to invest in reducing their emissions.
Hedegaard has proposed cutting by 900 million tonnes the amount of carbon credits auctioned to firms in 2013-2015, with the allowances increased in 2018-2019.
The EU plans to auction credits worth some 8,500 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2013-2019.
Hedegaard also considered a cut of 400 million tonnes and 1,400 million tonnes.
The European Parliament had backed a cut of 1,400 million tonnes, which would cause the price of a tonne of carbon emissions to double from the current price of seven euros, according to estimates.
Experts believe that the price should be between 24 and 30 euros in order to make investment in clean technologies worthwhile.
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