Thursday

24th Sep 2020

EU steps up security of emissions trading system

  • A single registry will replace national ones (Photo: DerGuy82)

EU member states have backed tighter security measures for the EU's emissions trading system (ETS), after cyber-thieves hacked in earlier this year and stole roughly €30 million in carbon credits.

On Friday (17 June) a committee of member state experts opted to support a raft of anti-fraud measures proposed by the European Commission, with the approval of MEPs and national ministers still needed.

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National registries, where carbon permits are traded, ground to a halt for 15 days after a major theft was detected in January, with investor confidence in the ETS low ever since.

A single carbon registry is due to replace the national trading centres early next year, with EU climate chief Connie Hedegaard welcoming the decision on Friday.

"We have certainly strengthened the integrity of the European carbon market. I am grateful for the good cooperation with stakeholders," she said.

The new measures will include 'out-of band' confirmation of transactions, whereby buyers and sellers must confirm transactions over two separate networks such as email and telephone.

A system of higher security "trusted accounts" and greater due diligence measures are also intended to bolster the scheme.

If fraudulent trades are suspected, authorities will be able to respond more rapidly in future, said the commission, for instance by delaying the completion of some transactions and freezing accounts.

The largest of its kind worldwide, the EU's emissions trading scheme is a key pillar of the bloc's efforts to fight climate change.

By placing a price on carbon emissions, policy-makers hope to incentivize businesses to opt for cleaner production methods.

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