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European carbon trading scheme will not cut power sector emissions, MPs told

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The EU carbon trading system has failed and will not help meet government targets on decarbonising the power sector, energy operators told MPs yesterday.

Electricity generator EDF warned an environmental audit committee inquiry into carbon markets that government targets to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 would not be met without certainty that the price of carbon could be raised and sustained. The government’s Committee on Climate Change has said that the target would require “almost full decarbonisation” of the power industry by 2030.

Asked by MPs on the committee whether the European Emissions Trading scheme was insufficient to meet these targets, Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, managing director of new nuclear build at EDF, agreed. “As currently framed today that is the case. What is needed are rules that will create a market that will allow us to create low-carbon technology.”

“The thing that drives the price of something is certainty. The recording and verification of emissions creates uncertainty, as does the entry of new countries into the system.”

Cadoux-Hudson said market “rules” are required because putting a value on carbon was difficult. “It’s not something you can dig out of the ground.”

Carbon trading is the key mechanism for reducing emissions and is likely to be central to discussions at the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen later this year.

“It may be that Copenhagen gives us a ray of light that we can trust long term prices but we haven’t seen that in a sustainable price

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