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Common good v private profit: Making the EU’s Emissions Trading System work for the many rather than the few

23 January 2024 | 14:30 – 16:00 CET | ONLINE

The EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) badly needs cleaning up. It needs to make heavy emitters pay a fair price for their immense carbon footprints and use that revenue to finance industrial decarbonisation and schemes that benefit society and the environment.

Drawing on the ground-breaking Carbon Market Watch report which exposes the EU’s “Emissions Aristocracy” (the 30 companies responsible for half of EU ETS emissions), the event will consider how free allowances allow heavy industry to pollute with impunity. The event will also unveil the Human Stories project which highlights good examples of how ETS revenue can bankroll positive climate and social solutions, with examples from Belgium, Greece and Portugal.

This event will provide insights into how the EU ETS can support the common good rather than private profit.

Join us to discuss how to revise the EU ETS, to call on the EU to create high standard 2040 climate targets, and to watch short videos from our Human Stories project.


  • Welcome and introduction
  • Dirty rich: Exposing Europe’s emissions aristocracy
  • Empowering people: Spotlighting the human face of the ETS
  • Payback: Panel discussion on how to make polluters pay for their pollution. Speakers: Mohammed Chahim (Member of the European Parliament), Sarah Nasrawi (UN Youth Representative on Sustainable Development for the Netherlands), industry and civil society representative TBC.
  • Q&A
  • Conclusions


Led by Carbon Market Watch, Life ETX strives to empower civil society to make the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) effectively tackles the climate crisis and enhances the wellbeing of citizens.

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