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EU moves to ban fake carbon credits

Europe votes to restore carbon market credibility

THE Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has welcomed a European Member State vote to end the corrupt global trade in fake HFC-23 carbon credits.

A European Commission proposal to ban the use of HFC-23 and N2O credits in Phase III of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – which runs from 2013-20 – was approved today (Friday, January 21) by the Climate Change Committee.

However, instead of coming into force from January 1, 2013, as proposed by the Commission, the prohibition will be delayed until May 2013 after the original deadline was strongly resisted by a small number of powerful industry players who have persuaded some governments, including Italy and Spain, of the need to stall the ban.

“Despite the delay, which may allow further use of about 50 million carbon credits, this is indeed an historic day,” said EIA Global Environment Campaign leader Fionnuala Walravens. “Less than a year after NGOs exposed the fraudulent and problematic nature of industrial gas credits, the world’s biggest carbon market has banned their use.”

EIA has been at the forefront of efforts to expose and halt these hugely lucrative dodgy credits, widely awarded to companies in return for the destruction of greenhouse gases manufactured solely for that purpose.

Last week, EIA addressed a top-level European Parliament hearing, highlighting how continued use of HFC-23 credits stifles investment in truly sustainable projects, is poor value for European consumers and conflicts with the goals of the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances.

“Industry interests have pushed hard for the ban to be delayed beyond May

2013 and today’s outcome is a compromise. It has demonstrated how all interests can unite for the sake of the climate and for the credibility of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme,” said Walravens.

“These deeply flawed HFC-23 offsets have no legitimate place in the market; all they’ve done is subsidise Chinese and Indian chemical producers and dominate the ETS to the detriment of truly sustainable offset projects in Least Developed Countries.

“Today’s vote sends a global signal that the industrial gas project ‘cash cow’ is over.”

Interviews are available on request: please contact Fionnuala Walravens, at
[email protected]
or telephone 0207 354 7960.

• Carbon Trading made simple – to help your audience quickly get to grips with the issue of carbon credits, EIA has produced a short animated film, narrated by comedian Ronni Ancona. View it at or and please feel free to include a link in your story or embed the film on your website.


1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) investigates and campaigns against environmental crime and abuses.