Greece will hold the first auction of 10 million tonnes unused carbon emission allowances via the Athens Stock Exchange within the month, the Greek Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry announced on Thursday.
The environment ministry has signed a contract with the ASE, which has undertaken to conduct the auctions.
The emission rights on auction are from the allowances set aside for new units in 2008-2012. These were held back to be given to new industrial units that were forecast to begin operating during this period, after the initial allocation of carbon rights by each state. As a result of the economic crisis, however, there were fewer investments in Greece and rights for 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions remained unclaimed and will now be auctioned off.
Under Community legislation, power production units, oil refineries, cement factories, paper mills and other industrial sectors must have carbon emission allowances equal to the volume of CO2 they release into the atmosphere.
Until now, some of these emission permits were distributed for free by governments and the rest had to be obtained either on the market or industries had to restrict emissions to avoid higher costs. As of 2013, power production units will no longer receive free emission rights and this is expected to greatly raise the cost of power production and also electricity rates.