BRUSSELS – A European Union deadline of April 30 for firms to surrender emissions trading system (ETS) carbon allowances will stand, despite calls for extensions from some industry groups due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Industry, utilities and airlines running flights in Europe must report their ETS emissions for the previous calendar year by 31 March, and surrender enough carbon permits to cover these emissions by 30 April under the bloc’s ETS rules.
The European Commission said on Thursday it recognised that the coronavirus crisis might make it difficult for companies to submit verified emissions reports by the end of March, but the existing rules provide flexibility around this deadline.
National authorities can make a “conservative estimate” of emissions for firms that miss the March deadline, so long as this is done in time for the April compliance deadline, it said.
“The Commission underlines the importance of the timely surrender of allowances by the mandatory deadline of 30 April 2020,” it added.
Some industrial lobbies had asked the Commission to delay this year’s carbon market compliance deadlines, they told Reuters, as firms were struggling to have a verifier check their reported emissions matched actual production.
Firms that left this to the last minute face the problem that coronavirus has shut factories and kept staff at home.
“Our members have flagged the need for flexibility with compliance deadlines under the ETS,” European cement producers association Cembureau chief executive Koen Coppenholle said.
“We support postponing the 31 March compliance deadline of the EU ETS,” European steel association Eurofer said.
The UK steel association said it had asked the British government to urge the Commission to delay the deadlines, citing “on-site disruptions” amid the pandemic.