Cyprus piles up pollution credit

Cyprus piles up pollution credit
Published: 28 March 2006

THE Electrical Authority of Cyprus (EAC) has produced several hundred thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide less than its 400,000t allowance and so it may now sell back the “pollution credits” to other companies in the European Union who have exceeded their assigned carbon dioxide allowances. These ‘emission trading rights’ reward companies that reduce energy consumption and that use non-polluting renewable energy sources by allowing them to sell back their unused emissions to other companies. Producers that exceeded their limits, meanwhile, are penalised by having to purchase extra emission allowances from others. The current market price for one tonne worth of carbon dioxide emission is about Euro 27.

EAC Spokesman Costas Gavrielides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that in 2005 the EAC was granted 4Mt worth of pollution rights for its three power stations at Vasiliko, Dekelia and Moni. “We ended up with 280,000t left over, which at Euro 27 per tonne amounts to CY£7.56 million,” Gavrielides said.

The environmental officer responsible for the Cyprus national allocation plan for emissions trading, Theodoulos Mesimeris, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the Kyoto Protocol on international emissions trading does not begin to take effect until 2008, but the European Union initiated a programme and established a directive on emissions trading in 2003.

“Emissions trading rights is a very good tool for reducing carbon dioxide output. A person can either invest in his company for energy-saving methods, renewable energy, etc. or if the cost is too high, he can buy pollution rights,” Mesimeris said.

However, critics have argued that emissions trading without a steady reduction of the total number of allowances granted does little to solve pollution problems since those groups who do not pollute will simply sell their conservation to the highest bidder.