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Jan 09, 2023

European Commission targets carbon emissions with sustainability criteria

Carbon price cap to be imposed on emissions from electricity and heat generation industries

The European Commission (EC) has unveiled new sustainability and emissions savings criteria to help drive down the carbon footprints of companies.

The new sustainability and emissions savings criteria, which form part of the Emissions Trading System (ETS), put a carbon price cap on emissions from electricity and heat generation, energy-intensive industry and aviation within Europe.

They include stricter standards on biofuels and bioliquids and an additional benchmark for solid and gaseous biomass.

Climate neutrality by 2050

Having launched in 2005, ETS has helped reduce emissions from electricity and heat generation and industrial production by 34.6 percent, according to the commission.

In a bid to reach climate neutrality by 2050, the EC says it is committed to reducing emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. The ETS currently regulates emissions from 8,757 electricity and heat plants and manufacturing installations, as well as 371 aircraft operators flying between European Economic Area airports.

The cap in the ETS sets out the maximum quantity of emissions regulated companies are allowed to emit. According to the EC, however, the cap decreases annually to ensure the EU meets its emissions reductions target.

‘Emissions trading is the centerpiece of our European Green Deal – putting a price on carbon,’ says Frans Timmermans, executive vice president for the European green deal. ‘A stronger [ETS] will help us drive investment into decarbonization and reduce emissions further and faster, in line with our climate targets.’

European Commission targets carbon emissions with sustainability criteria
Bengt Rittri, Blue

Bengt Rittri, CEO and founder of Blue, says the EU agreement to fast-track further carbon emissions cuts is good news, ‘but much more needs to be done to turn words into action to spur and harness human ingenuity to find ways to reduce the impacts of overlapping crises.

‘The single-use bottle industry is causing a gigantic carbon emissions tail resulting from their cradle-to-grave manufacture, filling, transportation and end-of-use collection for recycling or disposal to landfill or unregulated waste. The UN Environment Program says plastics are choking our planet, with more than 1 mn plastic bottles purchased every minute and around 85 percent ending up in landfill or in the oceans.’