Spain buys Carbon Credits from Eastern Europe

The Spanish ministry of environment has already finalised a deal with Hungary to buy 6 million tonnes of CO2 and is negotiating with Poland, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania and Estonia to buy more excess carbon credits that these counties accumulated with the closing down of their factories after the fall of the Berlin wall. The Spanish government admits that it needs 159 million tonnes (an optimistic number according to El País) due to the excess of emissions from transport and households. Other predictions reveal that the Spanish industry will have to buy almost the same number of tonnes if they cross the limits set by the Kyoto Protocol.

Here are the three trading schemes set by the Kyoto Protocol under which emission credits can be bought and sold, as explained by Reuters:

One scheme under Kyoto allows nations that are comfortably below their emissions targets to sell excess quotas to other signatories in the form of credits, called Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), that are not necessarily related to emissions cuts. 

Another scheme allows rich nations to invest in clean energy projects in poor nations, and in exchange receive offsets called CERs. The third scheme sees rich countries buy offsets called ERUs from similar projects in former communist countries.


The Spanish government calculates to spend 1.2 billion Euro to satisfy the Kyoto Protocol, including the cost of green energy projects mainly in Latin America. There, long before looking into buying credits from Eastern Europe, Spain has launched projects to produce clean energy and hence offset 60 million tonnes of CO2. Not enough to comply with Kyoto, which is why Spain went shopping to Eastern Europe.


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