New laws to prevent fraudsters stealing carbon emission allowances have been proposed in the European Commission (EC).
Last Friday, the European Climate Change Committee backed proposals to toughen up the security of the registries system for the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
Spot trading of emissions allowances was suspended in January after a Czech firm reported 475,000 allowances had been stolen from its national registry. At the time, the EC estimated that 2 million allowances could have been illegally transferred.
New state-of-the-art security measures used in the financial sector will be brought into the system, such as trusted account lists and new account categories. Authorities will have stronger powers to act quickly by freezing allowances and accounts if they arouse suspicion.
Carbon “crooks” will be edged out by the move, said Energy Minister Greg Barker: “The EU’s carbon system is only as secure as the weakest link which is why the UK’s been pushing for tougher European security measures.
“The new rules will put serious obstacles in the way of carbon crooks, while ensuring this valuable market, much of which is based in London, can continue to function effectively.”
Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action said the new measures have “strengthened the integrity of the European carbon market”.
Tighter security is a priority for the EC because the EU ETS is gearing up for the third trading period.