EUROPE: Six EU countries – Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Spain – have refused to extend the EU-ETS ban on industrial gas offset credits to their national greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Europe voted to ban the credits from May of this year after it was widely recognised that the system perversely encouraged developing countries to over-produce R22 in order to cash in on credits available for destroying the high GWP by-product HFC23.
However, it does not cover EU Member States’ national emissions targets in the non-traded sectors (eg agriculture and transport). According to the group Carbon Market Watch this is significant given that up to two-thirds of the total emissions reductions required of EU Member States between 2013-2020 can be met using carbon offsets.
Alarmed by this loophole, the Danish government launched a voluntary initiative extending the EU-ETS ban to its non-traded sectors. So far, 22 out of 28 Member States have joined Denmark in extending the ban. However, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Spain refused to sign the declaration at Monday’s meeting.