Japan Adds to Supply of Kyoto CO2 Offsets Faster Than AAUs

Japan last year added to its stockpile of United Nations emission offsets at a faster pace than Assigned Amount Units, suggesting the nation or its emitters have not started swapping the credits for cheaper AAUs.

Japan had 120.1 million metric tons of UN Certified Emission Reduction credits at the end of the year, 17 percent more than a year earlier, according to reports on the website of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The nation more than doubled the number of Emission Reduction Units in its inventory to 5.1 million tons, as its holdings of Assigned Amount Units rose 0.6 percent to 6.123 billion tons.

Japanese emitters may ramp up exchanges of CERs for cheaper AAUs this year to free up cash, an executive from Mitsubishi Corp. said last year. Swapping might push down the price of UN credits and drive European Union carbon allowances lower because EU factories and power stations are the biggest source of demand for the offsets.

Not much swapping was taking place as of October, Jerzy Chlebowski, manager of the global environment business development division of Mitsubishi Corp. International (Europe) Plc, said at the time. “Toward 2012, this process will start and get more intense,” he said.

AAUs, given to developed nations with targets in the UN-overseen 1997 Kyoto Protocol, were valued in October at 3.50 euros ($4.61) a ton by Trading Emissions Plc. UN CERs for December were at 3.74 euros today on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London as of 2:20 p.m., compared with 7.80 euros for EU allowances.

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