Greece to gain 150-450 mln euros if revised EU carbon trading scheme is adopted

Greece’s environment and energy ministry on Thursday welcomed a European Parliament vote in favour of a revised EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), noting that Greece stands to gain between 150 to 450 million euros between 2021-2030 if the revised ETS is finally adopted.

The ministry said the result of the vote was good for Greece, with the exception of an amendment to include shipping in the ETS, on which Greece is pushing for a global agreement in the framework of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and in agreement with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Among the positive points, it cited Greece’s inclusion among the EU member-states eligible for Modernisation Fund financing for investments to upgrade energy systems and energy efficiency. The European Commission’s original proposal did not include Greece, since it was based on a European Council decision that used 2013 as the “base year”. The addition of 2014 and 2015 as ‘base years’ resulted in Greece’s inclusion, since its GDP dipped below 60 pct of the EU average in those years.

The ministry also welcomed the creation of an additional fund to support areas that use lignite for power production during the transition to the post-lignite period, as well as the rejection of proposals to exclude the construction materials’ industry from “carbon leakage” support. This is directed at sectors competing with rival industries in countries that are not part of the ETS.

Such exclusion would have been extremely damaging to a number of Greek sectors, including the cement industry, brick and tile manufacturers, lime and plaster manufacturers and others, due to the country’s geographic location and the strongly export-based model of these sectors in Greece.

Lastly, the ministry welcomed a rejection of proposals for a faster reduction of carbon emission rights, noting that its adoption would further increase the cost of power production.

Its announcement highlighted the assistance and cooperation of Greek MEPs in bringing about this result, saying they had lent their support to the positions outlined by Alternate Environment and Energy Minister Sokratis Famellos in a letter on December 19, 2016.

The next phase of the negotiation on the EU ETS will take place at the European Council, with a crucial vote to be held on February 28.

The result of the vote in the European Parliament was welcomed by the Public Power Corporation (PPC) on Wednesday, which said that a cross-party effort by Greek and Cypriot MEPs was crowned with success. Its inclusion in the ETS and its eligibility for Modernisation Fund financing under the new rules, as well as that of Greek cement and lime industries, would help save tens of thousands of jobs, PPC said.

The extra financing would assist an already successful effort to reduce emissions by 55 pct by 2030 and a shift away from lignite to renewable energy sources, it added.