Emissions trading popular Christmans

Many Swedes received emissions trading "allowance units" as Christmas presents in 2006.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SNF) sold allowance units corresponding to 8,822 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2006, of which 6,906 were sold in December.

The European Union Emission Trading System is currently engaged in a three year trial period, which will come to an end on December 31st, 2007.

The system entails that companies reducing their carbon dioxide emissions quicker than expected can sell their emission rights to other companies that are not as effective.

According to SNF spokesman Anders Friström, the system in its current form is too generous.

“I can’t say that it’s working yet. There are so many allowances not used.

“But the system does have a symbolic value in that it raises awareness.

“There is a lot of trial and error, but we calculate that by 2008 allowances will be lower than emissions,” Friström told The Local.

A third of the December purchases were made by companies, which SNF takes as a sign that many businesses intended giving their employees allowance units as Christmas presents.

Meteorological agency SMHI, for example, bought allowance units corresponding to 625 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

SNF buys its allowance units on the European emissions trading market. Once in the organisation’s hands the units are “locked”, meaning they cannot be used to increase carbon dioxide emissions.

Companies and private individual are then free to purchase the units from SNF’s website.

SNF sells the allowance units at a fixed price of 350 kronor per tonne, and customers can purchase units corresponding to half a tonne and upwards.

The organisation assures customers that the money it makes from emissions trading is ploughed straight back into its climate protection projects.