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EU should end carbon trading, environmentalists say


Brussels, Feb 18 (EFE).- More than 75 environmental organizations on Monday urged the European Parliament to end the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, launched seven years ago as a market-oriented way of reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.

The parliament is due to vote Tuesday on a plan by the European Commission to overhaul the ETS with the aim of reversing the trend that has seen the price of carbon permits plummet 75 percent in the last five years.

Instead of reducing discharges of CO2, the ETS has "diverted attention from the need to transform the system's dependency on fossil fuels and growing consumption, resulting in increased emissions," according to Joanna Cabello of Carbon Trade Watch.

Belen Balanya, of the Corporate Europe Observatory, noted the "great economic cost" that the ETS system signifies for the European citizen, while criticizing the fact that "big polluters" like Arcellor Mittal and Lafage rake in windfall profits for the sale of permits.

On Jan. 24, the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee approved by a vote of 42-18 a largely symbolic motion opposing the commission's proposed reforms of ETS.

The parliament's Environment Committee, which has jurisdiction in the matter, will again put the commission's plan to a vote on Tuesday.