Zero Waste Europe calls for waste incinerations to be included in EU ETS


Energy from waste

Municipal waste incineration must “immediately and comprehensively” be included in the EU’s Emission Trading System, the environmental network Zero Waste Europe says in a new report.

Zero Waste Europe’s (ZWE) new report “Incineration in the EU-ETS: A set of suggestions for its inclusion” calls for electricity and heat incineration, as well as biogenic CO2 facilities to be included in the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Janek Vahk, Zero Pollution Policy Manager at Zero Waste Europe, commented: “The inclusion of incineration within the EU-ETS is long overdue. Incinerators are poised to become the most carbon-intensive power source once coal is phased out.

“Bringing municipal waste incineration into the EU-ETS will ensure that every sector contributes to emission reductions, driving us towards a cleaner, more circular future.

“CO2 is CO2, whether fossil or non-fossil; the atmosphere doesn’t care where it comes from, the impact on climate is the same. Therefore, EU ETS needs to address them both.”

The inclusion of incineration within the EU-ETS is long overdue.

The report, developed by Equnimator, proposes several key recommendations such as including both power and heat from incineration in the EU ETS without free allowances for heat generation. This approach aligns with the scheduled inclusion of the buildings sector in 2027, ZWE said.

The report also recommended the European Commission should analyse the impact of including waste incinerators and other waste management options based on their performance, and provide recommendations on the economic instruments, such as a tax on incinerators, that may be replaced by the EU ETS.

ZWE said it wants a requirement for all CO2 emissions from incinerators, whether fossil or non-fossil, to surrender allowances under the ETS.

The current practice of excluding non-fossil CO2 is inconsistent and undermines the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ZWE said.

ZWE has also called the current 20 megawatt threshold for inclusion “ambiguous” and said it should potentially be lowered to 10 megawatt to prevent small-scale facilities from being excluded and reduce the risk of “system manipulation”.

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