February 13, 2013 / 9:47 PM / 7 years ago

Thirty firms urge EU policymakers to save carbon market: letter

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Thirty firms and organizations have written to European policy-makers urging them to vote in favor next week of a plan to support the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which has sunk to record lows.

A European Parliament committee votes on February 19 on whether to back a Commission plan to remove some of a huge surplus of carbon allowances from the EU ETS.

Opposition to the proposal has been led by heavy industry and EU member Poland, which is highly dependent on carbon-intensive coal and argues there is no case for intervention in the market.

EU business body Business Europe also opposes the Commission’s plan, which is designed to be an emergency fix and a prelude to deeper reform.

The signatories of the letter seen by Reuters, dated February 14 and addressed to members of the European Parliament, say that without agreement on the Commission proposal, the price of carbon allowances will fall further “threatening the long-term survival of the ETS”.

It calls on next week’s parliamentary committee and also a separate committee meeting of member states to back the Commission proposal urgently “so that the EU ETS as a whole remains the cornerstone of the EU climate and energy policy”.

EU carbon allowances sank below 3 euros last month to their lowest yet. On Wednesday, they rallied to just above 5 euros as traders speculated that next week’s vote would be positive.

The signatories of the new letter include Royal Dutch Shell, EDF Energy, General Electric, Alstom, Germany’s E.ON, consumer good supplier Unilever and Statoil.

In an earlier letter from Business Europe, dated February 6, that organization opposed the Commission’s plan to remove temporarily some of the glut of permits, saying the EU ETS should be left to work “according to market principles” and that its weakness was mainly a result of economic crisis.

Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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