MEPs rejected a temporary measure to fix the price problem in May, and member states refused to intervene until after the German elections.
Member states have been just as reticent to defend the ETS from foreign attack. As global giants like the US and China threatened a trade war in response to the inclusion of foreign airlines in the EU’s ETS, national capitals and European aircraft manufacturer Airbus have quietly urged the European Commission to throw in the towel. The Commission did just that this summer when, as part of the negotiations led by the International Civil Aviation Organization it offered to exclude any portion of flights outside EU airspace.
The Commission is to put forward a proposal by the end of the year for structural reforms of the ETS to solve the low-price problem, and it hopes this can be passed before the end of the current European Parliament’s mandate. But, given global developments over the past three years, many policy-makers are not exactly in the mood to fix the ailing system.
Even a dire warning from the IPCC this week will not do much to change this equation. European policy-makers may still believe in the seriousness of the problem, but they are starting to doubt the effectiveness of the solution.