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UN Carbon Credits Fall as Officials Plan to Increase Offset Projects

In the midst of sliding European Union (EU) carbon allowances and United Nation carbon credits, UN regulators are getting set to increase carbon offset projects, while EU lawmakers are considering options against a possible surplus during the next decade, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

EU allowances for December delivery fell 2.5 percent to 15.10 euros ($18.67) a metric ton on London’s European Climate Exchange, while UN Certified Emission Reduction credits for the same month dropped 2.3 percent to 12.39 euros ($15.07), according to the article.

In March, the EU announced that it may suspend auctions if allowance prices fall “abnormally low.” The plan, which is to take effect in 2011, would set up no more than two auction platforms through 2013.

Carbon allowances have increased 24 percent this year, and the EU said it will need to tighten its 2020 emissions limits to achieve its target price of about 30 euros ($36.49), says Bloomberg Businessweek.

Yvon Slingenberg, emissions-unit head in the European Commission, said in the article that the introduction of quality restrictions on UN credits “is an option that the EU could use even before member states’ decision on more ambitious climate goals.”

Officials operating the UN market for carbon offsets say they can deliver as much as a 10-fold increase in credits, according to board member Hugh Sealy. He told Bloomberg Businessweek that projects may have to increase from 400-500 projects a year to 4,000-5,000.

European utilities and manufacturers buy the offsets to comply with the EU climate law.

Investor Gareth Phillips, chief climate change officer at Sindicatum Carbon Capital, told the newspaper that the board should focus on projects in the poorest countries and that the UN should establish a new process for generating carbon credits in greater volumes.

Europe dominates the carbon trading market with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme accounting for a 68 percent share, followed by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism market, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), according to Point Carbon.

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