Scandal in the European Parliament.  Fit for 55 package rejected by unusual far-right and far-left coalition

The European Parliament has voted against adopting a revision of the EU emissions trading scheme, rejecting a proposal to relax the percentage of greenhouse gases that can be produced by factories, power plants and aviation, reports thejournal.ie.

MEPs on Wednesday voted on the EU’s Fit for 55 package, a cornerstone of the bloc’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to prevent the dangerous impact of the climate crisis.

Parliament has sent a proposal to change the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which limits the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by factories, power plants and aviation to meet general emissions targets, back to a committee.

Under this limitation, which decreases every year, companies can purchase and trade emission permits.

Previously, the system covered 43% of the emissions of the relevant sectors.

The EU Environment Commission has sought to raise this threshold to 67%, but some far-right parties have challenged it and reduced it to 61%.

Other MEPs, dissatisfied with what they identified as a weakened version of the proposal, voted against the reform and sent it back to the committee.

Speaking in Parliament, the leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Iratxe García, said: “You cannot ask for a vote from the far right to reduce ambitions and then ask for our votes to fully support it.”

However, MEPs who voted “for” were unhappy that the version of the proposal reached was not supported and that the reform was blocked.

A total of 340 MEPs voted against the proposal and 256 in favor.

MEPs then voted 495 to 120 in favor of being referred back to the Environment Committee for debate.

The proposal was to reduce free allocation of emission permits to aviation, to include emissions from maritime transport in the ETS and to create a new trading system for buildings and road transport.

To address the social impact that could be caused by the new emissions trading system, the European Commission has also proposed a Social Climate Fund as part of the Fit for 55, which MEPs voted on.

The fund would temporarily fund direct income support for vulnerable households and the money from the fund would be generated by extending the ETS.

The fund would also support Member States’ efforts to reduce emissions from road transport and buildings and thus reduce costs for vulnerable households, small businesses and transport users.

This may include measures such as increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and improving access to public transport.

MEPs must also vote on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which aims to prevent the destabilization of the balance of emissions in the Member States and those outside the EU bloc.

“Carbon spills” could occur if trade were relocated to non-EU countries or if imports of high-carbon products increased.

In an attempt to discourage such decisions, CBAM would implement a tax on significantly carbon-producing products entering the EU to equalize the price of carbon between domestic products and imports.

However, with the rejection of the changes to the vote, the Social Climate Fund and the CBAM were suspended and sent back to the committee, in order to renegotiate the whole package.

The EU’s target is to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 and to be climate neutral by 2050.

Editor: AC

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