From: Reuters
Published September 29, 2008 11:29 AM

Bulgaria launches CO2 registry to kick off trade

Bulgaria has opened a long-delayed national carbon dioxide registry which allows the Balkan country to launch trade in greenhouse gas emissions, an environment ministry official said on Monday.

The launch was possible after the European Union executive approved last week Bulgaria's national plan that allocated a total of 42.3 million tonnes of CO2 permits to 140 installations for 2007.

The EU emission trading scheme is the bloc's key tool to cut the emissions of planet-warming gas carbon dioxide by giving companies too few permits to pollute, forcing them to either clean up or buy extra permits from others with surplus.

"Companies may now open accounts at the registry," said Stefan Dishovski, a senior official at the environment ministry "But there will not be a real trade, as they had received permits that precisely cover their (actual) emissions."

He said the government had allocated the permits based on companies' verified reports on their actual emissions, after Brussels cut Bulgaria's initially proposed quota by 37 percent last year.

Bulgaria's largest steel mill Kremikovtzi and Intertrust, owner of the country's second biggest lead and zinc smelter OTZK, have not received any permits, as they had failed to submit verified reports, Dishovski said.

The plan also stripped nine smaller ceramic producers from permits and all are now facing fines, he said.

Sofia has not yet allocated permits for 2008, the first year in the EU's second round of carbon trade of 2008/12, and Dishovski said he hoped that the process will now speed up and the allocations will be based on verified reports.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Ilieva; editing by James Jukwey)

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