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Firms Ditch Offsets as EU Ban Looms

Companies may be rushing to rid themselves of a type of offset credit that will soon be banned under European regulations, according to Point Carbon (via BusinessGreen).

Power plants and factories in the EU used a record 137 million tons of UN carbon credits to meet emissions targets in 2010, Point Carbon said, an increase of 68 percent over 2009 levels. UN credits accounted for 7.1 percent of EU emissions in 2010, with EU allowances (EUAs) making up the rest.

Senior analyst Stig Schjolset said the increase was likely due to an EU decision to ban, starting in May 2013, credits from projects that destroy industrial by-product gases HFC 23 and N2O.

“As these credits will hold zero value as compliance instruments during phase three of the EU ETS (2013-2020), many operators have probably already opted to surrender a higher amount of such credits in 2010 than would otherwise have been the case,” Schjolset said.

The HFC 23 and N20 credits were banned from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in January. Such credits are generated from Indian and Chinese operations that produce the industrial chemical adipic acid, and make up a majority of ETS offsets, BusinessGreen said.

Green groups have slammed these projects, which they say manufacture and then destroy gases solely to earn credits.

The Point Carbon analysis showed that German companies used the most UN credits last year, at 37.6 million tons, followed by Poland and Spain with 15.7 million tons apiece.

The heat and power sector comprised about 60 percent of the credits, with 83.6 million tons, followed by the cement, lime and glass sector with 13 million tons. Oil and gas companies used 12.8 million tons.

Photo Credit: Arnold Paul | Wikimedia Commons

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