Friday

21st Jul 2017

Attacks force closure of EU's emissions trading system

  • Europe's ETS system is the largest of its kind (Photo: DerGuy82)

A series of cyber-attacks on national registries where carbon permits are stored has forced the closure of the EU's emissions trading system (ETS) for at least a week.

The European Commission posted the announcement on its website on Wednesday (19 January) after Czech Republic-based firm Blackstone Global Ventures said about €6.8 million of carbon allowances appeared to have disappeared.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Thefts on electronic registries in Austria, Greece, Poland and Estonia have also been reported in recent days.

"Incidents over the last weeks have underlined the urgent need" for enhanced security measures, the commission said while announcing the closure of the bloc's ETS system until at least the 26 January.

By placing a price on carbon, Europe's trading system is designed to lower company emissions and therefore protect the environment from global warming.

Firms received emission permits for free under the first phase (2005-2007) of the scheme, with some forced to pay for a portion of their permits under the current phase (2008-2012). Brussels wants to see energy companies buy all their permits from 2013 onwards, with other heavy industries gradually phased in by 2020.

The system is the world's largest of its kind, with US plans for a similar cap-and-trade scheme being blocked by the country's senate last year. China experts suggest pilot ETS projects could appear in Beijing's next five-year plan, set to be approved in March.

Despite its pioneering position, Europe's ETS system has attracted criticism over its six years of operation, with some businesses saying it threatens the bloc's competitiveness, while NGOs argue emission thresholds have been set too high.

Wednesday's announcement and similar cyber-attacks have also damaged the EU initiative, together with reports of tax fraud and the recycling of used credits.

"They will over time undermine the credibility of carbon trading as a policy measure," Kjersti Ulset said of the cyber-attacks. Ms Ulset is a manager at Point Carbon, a company that reports on Europe's emission trading, carried out in a network of registries across the union.

After noticing an unauthorised trade on its account on Wednesday, Blackstone contacted Czech registry OTE AS, which promptly closed operations and began an investigation.

Paris-based BlueNext SA, operator of the world's biggest spot exchange for permits, then followed suit, as did registries in Poland and Estonia before the EU imposed a region-wide shutdown.

US leaves Paris climate deal

Trump said Paris deal “punishes the United States”, even though treaty leaves it up to nations to determine own climate contribution.

Trump delays climate decision

The White House said it would take more time to decide if the US should remain part of the Paris climate agreement, while talks are underway in Bonn.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary