Italy shields companies from CO2 cuts, says NGO

Italian taxpayers are set to pay €1.7 billion for unnecessary international carbon credits to meet the country's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol while Italy's government hands out free allowances to companies, according to climate NGO Sandbag.

Sandbag criticised Italy's strategy to meet its Kyoto targets in a new report published on 14 December, claiming that the government will have to spend as much as €1.8bn on international offsets between 2008 and 2012.

In addition, Italian companies will spend €500 million to fund emissions reductions in developing countries rather than invest at home, Sandbag said.

At the same time, the government will grant superfluous permits corresponding to 166 million tonnes of carbon for select installations under the EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS), the report shows.

The climate NGO argued that if Italy had made its installations participating in emissions trading shoulder greater emissions cuts instead of handing out surplus credits, the amount of offsets the country needs to buy would have fallen drastically from 181Mt to 15Mt. This would have saved Italian taxpayers €1.7bn in "unnecessary costs," it said.

"Ironically, while the Italian government will need to spend some €1.7 billion of public money on Kyoto compliance it will have given away €2.5 billion worth of carbon permits as windfalls to companies like Riva Group, Edipower and Italcementi," said Damien Morris, who authored the report.


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