LONDON (Thomson Reuters Point Carbon) - Croatia has dropped an appeal against its emission target under the Kyoto Protocol, removing a major hurdle for the country’s plan to join the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) by 2013, U.N. documents showed Thursday.
The withdrawal, in a letter from Croatia’s environment ministry on August 4, means the Balkan state accepts the U.N’s ruling over its greenhouse gas limit from 2008-2012, its dispute of which has banned Croatia from trading U.N-backed carbon units since November 2009.
The ban will remain until the matter is formally addressed at a year-end U.N. climate summit in Durban, South Africa, according to a note posted on the UNFCCC website on Thursday.
Croatia needed to get the ban lifted to enable its biggest emitting companies to join the EU ETS in 2013, when the government intends to become an EU member state.
The country must toughen emission reduction efforts if it joins the EU, as the 27 member state bloc targets 20 percent reduction by 2020 under 1990 levels, while Croatia’s pledges a 5 percent reduction, according to UN documents.
Based on information from Croatian think tanks and green groups, the 81 installations that would be covered under the cap-and-trade system emit around 10-12 million tonnes of CO2 a year, around 0.6 percent of the entire cap.
Croatia has clashed with U.N. regulators of the Kyoto Protocol for several years over how to account for emissions in 1990, when the country was still part of Yugoslavia.
Croatia agreed to cut emissions 5 percent below 1990 levels over 2008-2012, but had previously argued that the 1990 baseline of 31 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent should be higher, which would make the target easier to meet.
Croatia’s emissions totaled 31.2 million tonnes in 2008 and 28.9 million in 2009, putting the country slightly above its five-year goal to limit average annual greenhouse gas output to around 29.9 million tonnes.
If the government reckons it will overshoot the target, the administration will need to buy a corresponding amount of assignment amount units (AAUs) to meet its Kyoto obligations.
No one from Croatia’s environment ministry was able to comment at time of press.
Reporting by Ben Garside