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Saturday, 20.12.2014, 09:15
EU criticizes Estonia’s quota business
European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard proposes that no new AAUs be distributed to states in the next period that starts in 2013.
“We are ready to give up AAUs on certain conditions i.e. via a negotiable compensation mechanism,” said Estonian environment ministry canceller Allan Gromov. “The European Commission has proposed options for this but it is too soon to talk about those.”
Estonian government discovered the AAU or warm air quota last year when it was desperately searching for sources of income for the state budget.
The Estonian government will sell this and next year a total of around 2.2 billion kroons worth of AAU. This money enables the government to declare that the state budget deficit continues to be one of the lowest in the EU. Also, schools that will be renovated with the funds from selling the quota have already been chosen. The economy ministry is preparing a contest for wind energy park developers and purchase of environment-friendly buses has been talked about.
The AAU business is not the first time the Estonian state takes advantage of the European climate policy. In the previous period of trading with greenhouse gas quota, Eesti Energia sold billions of kroons worth of quota that it got for nothing. The Estonian state withdrew at least 2 bln kroons worth it as dividends to the state treasury.
The reason why Estonia has such a surplus of these pollution quota is that Estonian industry has by around a half less greenhouse gas emissions than in the reference year 1990 when large Soviet industries were still operating here.