EU companies participating in the ETS have exchanged 132.8 million U.N.-backed carbon offsets for EU permits by 30 April compliance deadline, according to figures disclosed by EU Commission on Friday (May, 2).
Under new rules taking effect this year, operators can no longer surrender cheaper UN offsets directly but must swap them for EUAs via the bloc’s online trading registry.
According to Reuters Point Carbon, the total number of international credits exchanged, of which 66.4 million were Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) and 66.4 million were Emission Reduction Units (ERUs), came below most analysts’ estimates. It may have been the result of delays in launching the new swapping mechanism, analysts said.
The overall offset usage quota for ETS participants is based on their emissions reductions to 2020, and analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon estimated it amounts to around 1.571 billion units for the period 2008-2020. In the second phase of the EU ETS (2008-2012), 1.058 billion international credits were used in EU’s carbon market and around 500 million offsets can be used in phase three (2013-2020).
Unlike in previous years, the EU Commission released aggregated data only, announcing that no information was available on the number of CERs and ERUs used for compliance. The decision was criticized by several organizations monitoring carbon markets development denouncing it reduces the system’s transparency. “The changes to the information provided […] significantly reduces civil society’s ability to scrutinise how the scheme is working, as well as reducing investors ability to analyse the compliance strategies used by emitters within the EU”, they said in a press statement.