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Parliamentary questions
16 May 2018
E-005549/2017
Answer given by Mr Arias Cañete on behalf of the Commission

In recent years, addressing climate change has become a priority across the globe with most nations having committed to tackling climate change under the Paris Agreement and being currently in the process of implementing their commitments domestically through different types of mitigation action.

Carbon pricing, including emissions trading, is widely recognised as a cost-effective policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An increasing number of emissions trading systems exist around the world and there is a growing interest to link them. By linking the EU’s Emissions Trading System with that of Switzerland, the EU is showing leadership on the expansion of the international carbon market. An expanded carbon market is in the interest of free trade, as it brings carbon prices across jurisdictions closer and prevents the distortion of competition.

The European Parliament was informed by the Commission about the negotiations on the linking agreement before its signature, and on 12 December 2017 provided its consent to the Council Decision authorising the conclusion of the agreement.

The impact of cross-continental free-trade agreements on climate change is a complex issue. On the one hand, the increased output or economic activity as well as transport flows associated with increased international trade increase energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, trade openness and resulting economic growth can generate new resources that can help efforts to mitigate and to adapt to climate change.

Furthermore, such agreements have the potential to enhance access to environmental goods, services and technologies. Recent EU trade agreements also include commitments to effectively implement the Paris Agreement and to promote a high level of environmental and climate ambition, together with provisions ensuring that the EU and its partners maintain the right to regulate to protect the climate system and to define the level of ambition they deem appropriate.

Last updated: 17 May 2018Legal notice