28 Oct 2009:
Surplus of Carbon Credits
Threatens EU Emissions Trading Plan
The European Union’s emissions trading scheme — which puts a price on carbon dioxide emissions with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas pollution — is threatened by a vast number of emissions credits earned by major industries and power plants in Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe
. Peter Zapfel, deputy director of the environment department at the European Commission, said that because of the Eastern European economic collapse of the 1990s and loopholes in the EU emissions trading scheme that began in 2005, Russian and Eastern European enterprises have racked up 10 billion emissions credits because they released fewer greenhouse gases than originally allocated under the Kyoto Protocol. As these enterprises begin selling these credits on the EU carbon market, the price of emissions allowances could plummet, thereby defeating the goal of slashing CO2 emissions by establishing a high price on carbon pollution. Zapfel called the surplus credits the “gorilla sitting in the background and nobody dares to touch it.” The price of EU carbon allowances has fallen from a peak of 30 Euros ($44) in 2006 to roughly 10 Euros ($15) this year. The EU’s emissions trading scheme, which covers more than 10,000 major carbon emitting power plants and factories, is designed to cut CO2 emissions by 21 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
A 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner captures stunning images of wild salmon runs in Alaska. Watch the video.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.