Surging energy prices are weighing on European wallets — and the bloc’s climate plans.
Concerns over a popular backlash were evident Tuesday when members of the European Parliament debated the European Commission’s Fit for 55 climate legislation proposals.
“Citizens start asking questions,” said Anna Zalewska of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party. “First of all, they ask about price increases across the board, because it’s them who are going to foot the final bill. It’s them who are going to unfortunately pay for the ambitions of the EU.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki points the finger at Brussels. “Polish power prices are tied to the EU’s climate policies,” he said last week.
The Commission insists that those prices aren’t the fault of the EU’s Emissions Trading System, which has seen the cost of a permit to emit a ton of CO2 more than double over the last year to around €60. The power price increase is instead largely driven by high gas prices and structural issues in Europe’s electricity market — but the Commission is still wary of its net-zero Green Deal project getting the blame.
Commission Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans told MEPs Tuesday that just “one-fifth” of the higher power costs could be attributed to the rising ETS price, with the rest caused by low gas supply.