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Europe’s “green dash” is ebbing. One of the pillars of the EU green energy policy, the cap-and-trade CO2 quota system, the European Trading System (ETS), is crumbling after an April 2013 vote in the European Parliament rejected a cut in emission quotas for sale, to support carbon prices. The market reacted by cutting carbon prices almost one-half, in contrast to the EU Commission’s ambition to raise CO2 prices. Carbon emissions now trade at about $3.50/metric tonne, but the cost of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) may be about $100. European carbon prices are now so low, as to portray the ETS as a symbolic measure for fighting climate change, with no real impact. Symbols may satisfy ideological needs, but they give little incentive for cutting emissions and have little effect.
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