The European Parliament's environment committee Thursday voted in favor of fast-tracking the European Commission's plans to hold back 900 million EU Emissions Trading System allowances from planned auctions in the next three years to the end of the decade.
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The vote means that backloading will start this year, but the timings are still not yet fixed.
If the fast-tracking is confirmed by a group of parliament committee chairpersons and put on the parliament's plenary agenda in February, that would mean the EC could start the backloading by end-March and hold back 400 million EU Emissions Trading System allowances from planned auctions this year.
That would be followed by holding back 300 million allowances in 2015 and 200 million in 2016.
If the schedule slips and backloading does not start until the second quarter, then the EC will only hold back 300 million allowances this year, followed by 350 million in 2015 and 250 million in 2016.
The committee Thursday threw out general objections to the EC's detailed backloading plan, which was agreed by an EU committee of national government officials on January 8.
Under the standard timings for such committee decisions, if the parliament and the EU Council, representing the EU's 28 national governments, do not object within three months, the EC can adopt them into law.
The EC has asked the parliament and council to make their positions clear as quickly as possible so that backloading can start by end-March.
The parliament's industry and energy committee had advised the environment committee to reject the proposal entirely, and in principle a single committee chairperson could still block the fast-tracking, according to a parliament source.
The EU Council is on track to confirm that it will not object within the next few weeks, a diplomatic source told Platts Tuesday.