Lafarge has a carbon-permit surplus worth about of 29.4 million permits, the second largest excess in the European Union’s emissions trading system, environmental lobby, Sandbag said. Lafarge’s permits are valued at about EUR501m.
ArcelorMittal (MT) has the largest surplus, holding around 97.2 million excess allowances from the period from 2008 to 2010 and worth about EUR1.7bn.
The 10 companies with the biggest excesses of allowances, “all of them steel and cement companies, share between them surplus carbon permits of 240 million tons, more than the annual carbon emissions of Austria, Denmark, Portugal and Latvia combined,” Sandbag said.
The EU emissions-trading system, the cornerstone of the region’s climate plan, imposes pollution limits on more than 11,000 utilities and manufacturers. Emitters that produce less carbon than their quota can sell surplus allowances. Those that exceed their limits can buy permits in the carbon market.
“This huge oversupply of permits is threatening to undermine the Emissions Trading Scheme,” Sandbag said.
While a growing number of businesses are calling on the European Union to adopt a stricter carbon-reduction goal, a few energy-intensive industries oppose this, according to Sandbag. The trade associations that the companies with the biggest surplus of permits belong to “are some of the most vociferous opponents to progress,” the environmental group said.
The group of 10 holders of the biggest surplus of permits also includes Tata Steel, ThyssenKrupp, Riva Group, Cemex, Holcim, HeidelbergCement, Italcementi and Salzgitter, according to Sandbag.