Carbon Credit Watch

Carbon Credit Watch: Austria refuses to publish serial numbers of stolen credits, vow they will not re-enter the market

(February 8, 2011) Austrian officials claim to have tracked down many stolen carbon credits, but have refused to disclose their serial numbers.  They claim that they will not re-enter the system.  Not everyone is satisfied with this assurance.    

Bloomberg, February 7, 2011, “Stolen carbon permits won’t enter market, Austrian registry says”

Austria said emissions permits traced to accounts in Liechtenstein and Sweden after disappearing in a computer-hacking attack last month will be blocked from trade as Europe seeks to shore up confidence in the market.

“The illegally transferred allowances have been frozen in accounts in Liechtenstein and Sweden,” the Austrian registry said today in a statement on its website. “There is no risk that these allowances are traded on the market and thus no need to publish the serial numbers of the affected allowances.” Austria said Jan. 10 it lost 488,141 permits. The BlueNext SA exchange in Paris, which resumed Feb. 4 after a15-day halt, traded 165,000 metric tons, compared with a 20-day average of 134,000 tons prior to the halt. The spot price closed at 14.27 euros, down 6 percent.

Legal questions about some 49 million euros ($66 million) worth of permits stolen in at least five countries have shaken a market valued last year at $110 billion. While five of the 30 national registries that keep track of permits got clearance last week from the EU to resume operations, most remain blocked after the hacking attacks left about 2 million permits missing from accounts in Austria, Greece, Italy and the Czech Republic.

Read the full story here. [PDFver here]

Business Green, February 8, 2011, “Austria refuses to identify stolen carbon credits”

Austrian authorities have refused to publish the serial numbers of nearly 500,000 carbon allowances stolen from its registry in last month’s cyber attack, in a move that has prompted fresh criticism of the European Commission’s handling of the fraud.

The Austrian carbon registry yesterday issued a statement downplaying any risk that 488,141 illegally transferred carbon credits would re-enter the ETS because they were blocked when found in Liechtenstein and Sweden.

“The illegally transferred allowances have been frozen on accounts in Liechtenstein and Sweden. Consequently, there is no risk that these allowances are traded on the market and thus no need to publish the serial numbers of the affected allowances,” it said, adding that it had filed a request for the credits to be transferred back to Vienna.

But the statement failed to satisfy many traders, who are frustrated at the failure of the authorities to provide a list of the serial numbers.

Read the full story here. [PDFver here]

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