Europe held its first auction of carbon dioxide permits last week. The U.K. government reaped about $81 million from sales of 4 million permits, which allow buyers to emit carbon under the EU’s emissions trading scheme, Financial Times reports.
The permits fetched £13.60 per ton in an auction that was four times oversubscribed. Electricity producers are expected to be the main buyers since they had their free permits were cut by 30 percent in the current phase of Europe’s carbon plans, which runs from 2008 to 2012.
Previously, U.K. tried to weaken European proposals to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Leaked documents showed that Britain wanted to allow half of the targeted carbon savings to be achieved through imported credits, which are acquired by investing in clean projects in the developing world.
In October, Ed Miliband, Britain’s new energy and climate change secretary, pledged to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent boy 2050. The move replaces Britain’s previous 60 percent emissions target.