According to a recent article in The Australian, “Europe’s $287bn Carbon ‘waste’: UBS report,” Swiss banking giant UBS reported that the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (“EU-ETS”) has cost the continent’s consumers $287 billion in exchange for a negligible impact on cutting carbon emissions, and as a result its carbon trading market is on the verge of collapse. The report claims that had the funds been part of a targeted approach to replace the European Union’s dirtiest power plants, emissions could have been reduced by 43 percent.

This report is yet another blow to the EU-ETS as worldwide opposition to the scheme grows, especially in the aviation industry. As reported in the article on the National Business Aviation Association website entitled, “Report: EU-ETS Will Be Costly, Have Minimal Emissions Impact,” the International Civil Aviation Organization (“ICAO”) has adopted a white paper from 26 nations including the U.S. and Canada urging the EU to omit its air operators from complying with the EU-ETS. Further, as posted earlier on this blog, the U.S. has made moves to legislatively prevent U.S. airlines from participating in the EU-ETS. Actions like these could cripple the EU-ETS and signal the end of the scheme as a whole.

The bank’s findings add even more uncertainty to the overall ability to implement an international carbon trading market. The report came at a time when the U.S. announced it would forgo its own cap-and-trade system, Canada became the first country to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, and the Durban, South Africa Climate Talks ended with a non-binding agreement that will not be implemented until 2020. As this issue progresses please check back to this blog for further posts.

Special thanks to Sullivan and Worcester’s Michael Karp, Business Development and Marketing intern, for preparing this post.