EU ETS 101: An updated guide to the EU’s Emissions Trading System

The Green Tank, acting as partner of the project Life ETX, presents in Greek the updated EU ETS 101 – Guide to the EU’s Emissions Trading System, drafted by Carbon Market Watch in collaboration with the partners of the Life ETX project.

The EU ETS is the cornerstone of climate action and one of the most important tools that the EU has to address the climate crisis. It aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by pricing pollution from the power, industry and aviation sectors. Today, it covers over 10,400 installations and approximately 350 airlines, across the 27 EU member states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein (and there is a link with the Swiss ETS). As pointed in the guide, overall emissions from EU ETS installations fell by 11.4% in 2020 alone, while emissions from power and industry saw a 41% decline compared to 2005, which was the target originally set for 2030.

However, it is a system which presents difficulties and shortcomings in its implementation, the most significant being the free allocation of emission allowances which “not only undermines the ‘polluter pays’ principle but also enabled businesses to extract some €50 billion in unearned profits at a time of environmental crisis”, as stressed in the guide. However, it is a system with great potential of improvement. In fact, the European Commission has proposed its expansion to other sectors of the economy such as shipping, buildings and road transport.

Today, the EU ETS has been revised in order to bring it in line with the increased European Green Deal target of reducing net emissions in the European Union by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, as part of the ‘fit for 55’ legislative package. At the same time, many civil society organizations and industry representatives advocate for increase of climate ambition and phase out of free emission allowances given to industry by 2030, among other.

Having the final agreement, the EU ETS 101 Guide to the EU’s Emissions Trading aims at promoting a better understanding of the EU ETS’s function and Europe’s carbon market, especially among civil society organizations in EU and neighboring countries. Providing introductory information on how the EU ETS is designed and how it functions, it should ultimately help to empower civil society to get involved in the ETS process and advocate for an effective and fair European carbon market.

You may read the Guide in Greek and English following the links below:

(GR) EU ETS 101 – Οδηγός για το Σύστημα Εμπορίας Δικαιωμάτων Εκπομπών της ΕΕ

(ENG) EU ETS 101 – A beginner’s guide to the EU’s Emissions Trading System