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When you cancel allowances won’t the EC just create more?

No. The cap in the EU ETS is fixed and has been fixed since the start of the scheme in 2005. The number of permits has decreased annually since then and will continue to do so until at least 2020. The target is “to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions of the Community by at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 30% provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions” (Directive 2009/29/EC page 1, (3)), which the EU will achieve through an annual decrease in the number of allowances by 1.74% (Directive 2009/29/EC page 2, (13)).

In the current phase (Phase II), the number of allowances is determined by individual member states and monitored by the EC in line with various criteria (see (8) here). With the introduction of Phase III in 2012, the EC will manage the cap and national allocations centrally.


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