As part of the fifth round of negotiations, Switzerland and the European Union exchanged information about the latest developments in their respective emission trading schemes. Switzerland informed the EU of the progress it has achieved in converting its ETS, the anticipated scope of the caps for stationary installations and the expected participants. The EU gave Switzerland an overview of the latest developments in its system. More specifically, the two parties discussed suggestions for the temporary shortage of auction volumes (backloading proposal) and the Commission's latest suggestion to include aviation emissions in the EU ETS. This was announced in connection with the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the fall of 2013 and should be approved by the EU Council and Parliament by the spring of 2014. Since the linkage agreement is supposed to cover air traffic in addition to stationary installations (industry), developments in the EU's legislative process as concerns air traffic must also be given appropriate consideration in the negotiations.
The delegations continued to discuss and develop open items in the draft agreement. This included many technical provisions in the annexes, which were clarified. Good progress was also made in the area of the emissions trading registry and its critical security requirements in particular. As a result, the working groups were mandated to wind up the technical issues as soon as possible.
The EU's negotiating delegation was led by Jos Delbeke, Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Change. The Swiss delegation was headed by Bruno Oberle, Director of the Federal Office for the Environment.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled for March. Both parties want to firm up the agreement before the summer.
Background information on linking the emissions trading systems
Both Switzerland and the EU operate emissions trading systems (ETS). Under these systems, affected companies are required to forfeit one emission right for every tonne of CO2 emitted. These emission rights can be traded within the respective systems. The aim here is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of companies wherever this can be achieved as cheaply as possible. Switzerland's ETS is based on the CO2 Act, which is largely compatible with the EU ETS.The linking of the EU and Swiss ETS will guarantee that Swiss companies can buy and sell emission rights in a large, liquid market. Among other things, this will minimise potential competition distortions between the Swiss companies involved and their European competitors.
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