Six nations make progress to handing out free carbon permits

Six EU member states moved closer in the past week towards handing to industry this year’s quota of free carbon permits.

The Czech Republic, Denmark and Hungary have updated and resubmitted allocation plans to reflect global cuts to the amount of permits they originally requested for 2013, a measure the Commission said is required to keep the bloc’s total emissions under legal limits for the 2013-2020 period.

Spain, Bulgaria and France have also completed the first stage. However, 11 nations, including Germany, Poland and Italy, still have made no progress in the process. And, precisely, these nations are the major emitters and they represent 49 percent of the allowances to be handed out. Another interesting data is that thirteen countries, accounting for 32 percent of the total number of permits to be distributed to industry, have reached the second step in the four-step process. And none has progressed further.

The lengthy and bureaucratic process coupled with the nearing holiday season makes it doubtful that most companies will receive their permit quotas this year.

Industrial manufacturers regulated by the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), such as steel and cement producers, get free carbon allowances to help them compete with rivals in other countries that have looser environmental regulations.

But this year’s EU-wide allocation of free permits, which was scheduled to occur in February, has been delayed largely due to late submissions by governments. That has prevented companies from being able to estimate the cost of complying with the ETS, to sell surplus permits to raise cash or to use them as collateral for finance.


maria soler