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TALLINN - The Ministry of the Environment has said that the Estonian government has authorized Jaanus Tamkivi, Minister of the Environment, to enter into a contract to sell unused greenhouse gas emission ‘assigned amount units’ (AAU) to Austria.
This is Estonia’s first sales agreement for its AAU’s of greenhouse gases, allocated pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol. The transfer deed of the AAUs shall enter into force after ratification by the government of Estonia, the respective commission in Austria and the Minister of the Environment of Austria.
A state is only allowed to trade free AAUs. A number of projects have already been developed in the ministries for using the money received from the sale. The project, to which the proceeds from the sale will be directed, is chosen by the buying country.
The sales of the AAUs takes place in the framework of the Green Investment Scheme which provides that the money received has to be directed to environmentally friendly projects aiming to reduce CO2 and other emissions.
“If the transaction really does succeed, we would like to use that money to support 21 environmental projects,” said Tamkivi. “The projects would include renovating heating utility lines and building combined power and heat plants all over Estonia. Introduction of these plants would reduce heat loss already in the upcoming years, and also save fossil fuels. This would, in turn, reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in Estonia.”
Estonia has free emissions in the amount of 85.1 million tons of CO2 equivalent; this is 17.1 million tons of CO2 equivalent a year. The surplus of emissions came about in the process of a thorough reorganization of the Estonian economy, during which more modern technologies and alternative energy production methods were introduced, more renewable energy sources were applied, economy measures in energy use were implemented, etc.
In addition to Austria, Estonia is also conducting negotiations for selling AAUs to several other European governments and some buyers in the Japanese private sector.