EU temporarily suspends UK carbon permit processes ahead of Brexit

from 1 January, Britain will not be able to auction carbon permits, allocate them for free to operators, or exchange international credits, the European Commission said. [sgoldswo / Flickr]

The European Commission said on Thursday (20 November) it has temporarily suspended emissions trading system processes related to Britain as from 1 January next year until there is clarity on the terms of the country’s departure from the EU.

As a result, from 1 January Britain will not be able to auction carbon permits, allocate them for free to operators, or exchange international credits for as long as the suspension remains in place, the Commission said.

“To prevent the temporary issuance and circulation of marked permits until there is clarity on whether or not a withdrawal agreement will be ratified and enter into force, the Commission has decided… to temporarily suspend the acceptance by the Union Registry of all processes for the UK relating to free allocation, auctioning and the exchange of international credits,” the Commission said in a statement.

From January, any carbon permits issued by Britain will have to be identified by a country code (“marked”).

The Commission said the transfers of permits already in circulation in and out of accounts held by UK operators will not be affected by the suspension.

Britain already said on Wednesday that it will not be auctioning permits in the first quarter next year.

If a withdrawal agreement on Britain’s exit from the EU is ratified the suspension will be lifted, the Commission said.

This amendment to the Registry Regulation has been submitted to the European Parliament and the European Council for approval.

EU agrees on Brexit-proof emissions trading amendment

EU lawmakers and member states agreed on Wednesday (18 October) a measure to guard the carbon market in case of a breakdown in Brexit talks as well as extending the exemption of international flights from the bloc’s charges for carbon emissions until the end of 2023.

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