EU carbon-trade scheme fails to reduce greenhouse gases

Tue, 2007-06-05 10:17Bill Miller
Bill Miller's picture

EU carbon-trade scheme fails to reduce greenhouse gases

The EU's Emission Trading Scheme, launched in 2005 under British Prime Minister Tony Blair's drive to combat climate change, created a trade in carbon allowances. A government minister has promised the next phase will be a big improvement, but the BBC maintains it’s just “a permit to pollute.”

Under the plan, power generators received their allowances free of charge but were allowed to reflect the value of those in increased prices to customers, as if the companies had actually had to buy the allowances.

Energywatch, a consumer group, says this increased electricity bills by about 7% in 2005. According to one UK government estimate, that delivered windfall profits of up to £1.3bn to the generators. So far the carbon scheme has brought no clear payback in terms of cutting emissions.

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Disruption

This is a guest post by Zach Roberts.

As a documentary producer, I watch more than my fair share of environmental protest documentaries — probably about 20 a year. And almost all of them have the same, vague message: we need to do something!

Their scenes re-play like a bad video montage in my mind: earnest young people speaking at podiums, boring climatologists rambling on about the coming end of the world, forest fires, melting ice shelves, you know how it goes. In the lefty journalism world, we call this “preaching to the choir.”

Then there's Disruption,...

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