Climate Protection

Shifting Gears on Emissions Trading

Traffic in Berlin dpa picture alliance
Traffic is a growing problem throughout Europe, even in green cities like Berlin.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Europe’s emissions trading scheme is the largest such system in the world, but it covers only power generation and manufacturing sectors, as well as airlines flying within the European Union. This represents less than half of E.U. greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Facts


    • The European Union’s emissions trading system covers about 45 percent its greenhouse gas emissions but leaves out sectors such as ground transportation, agriculture and buildings.
    • Germany’s Christian Democrats plan to introduce a resolution to expand the scope of Europe’s emissisn trading system at their annual convention in mid-December.
    • Low emissions certificate prices could undermine efforts to substantially improve energy efficiency in the automotive sector, warn experts.
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Count German Chancellor Angela Merkel among the biggest fans of the European Emissions Trading System, the centerpiece of the European Union’s climate protection efforts that allows companies to buy and sell emissions allowances.

Speaking at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris earlier this week, Ms. Merkel touted the system as an “incorruptible instrument” with “a very good future” worldwide.

Her political party, the Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, has made emissions trading a key policy issue. Delegates participating in the CDU’s annual convention in mid-December plan to introduce a resolution “to quickly bring about the most effective and comprehensive trade of emissions certificates as possible – internationally and across sectors.”

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