Saturday

17th Apr 2021

States ban certain offset credits from EU's emission trading system

EU member states have elected to ban the use of certain emission offset credits from the bloc's emissions trading system (ETS), currently embroiled in a separate controversy over cyber-theft.

The vote on Friday (21 January) means that companies will be prevented from using the emission offsets - generated through projects that destroy certain powerful greenhouse gases linked to the refrigeration industry - from 1 May 2013.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Critics say the offset credits incentivise some Asian companies to create powerful greenhouse gases so they can then be destroyed (Photo: Notat)

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who proposed the ban last November, welcomed the decision by the EU Climate Change Committee of relevant member state experts.

"These projects raise concerns relating to their environmental integrity, value-for-money and geographical distribution," Ms Hedegaard said in a statement.

"Not only are some of these credits of doubtful value, continuing to use them is also not in the EU's interest as doing so could discourage host countries from supporting cheaper and more direct action to cut these emissions," added the Danish politician.

The ban will apply to projects which destroy two industrial gases: trifluoromethane (HFC-23) produced as a by-product of chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22) production, and nitrous oxide (N2O) from adipic acid production.

EU officials say just 23 such industrial gas projects account for roughly two-thirds of all the credits generated through the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), with most of the projects carried out in China and other advanced developing countries.

Climate campaigners hailed the European ban as a significant step forwards.

"The scandal surrounding HFC-23 credits severely damaged the credibility of the carbon market," said Natasha Hurley, EU Policy Advisor at CDM Watch. "Today's vote marks an historic victory for environmental integrity over financial interests and puts the EU ETS back on the right track."

But the group criticised the decision by member state experts to enforce the ban four months later than the commission's original proposal, saying this reflected "pressure from a small group of investors who lobbied hard to extract as many concessions as possible".

MEPs now has three months to comment on the proposal, after which the commission will formally adopt it.

Friday's decision comes after a series of recent cyber-thefts forced trading exchanges dealing in ETS carbon allowances to grind to a halt on Wednesday. The closure is expected to last at least a week as the national exchanges seek to step up their security systems.

The commission estimates roughly €30 million in carbon allowances have been stolen in the recent string of attacks which saw hackers gain access to computer systems and transfer the credits to separate accounts.

Kerry resets climate relations before Glasgow summit

John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy, was in Brussels to discuss how to tackle climate change with the European Commission. His appearance also marked a major shift in relations after the previous US administration under Donald Trump.

Commission: Pioneering Nordics' energy mix 'example' to EU

The Nordic electricity market is an example of successful market integration plus climate action, as the share of sustainable energy keeps growing, the European Commission said. However, the decarbonisation of the transport sector remains a challenge.

Investigation

How Energy Treaty 'shadow' courts prolong EU's fossil age

The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states' energy or climate policies.

Feature

Adriatic Sea 'risks turning into a water desert'

The Adriatic Sea risks turning into a water desert, experts warn. Overfishing, bottom trawling, pollution, and climate change are seriously threatening the biodiversity of the Adriatic.

EU's 2021 fishing quotas to exceed scientific advice

EU minister for fisheries have agreed on fishing opportunities for 2021, with provisional quotas for the fish stocks shared with the UK. However, experts warned that some of these quotas will lead to overfishing "with detrimental effects on fish populations".

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us