New Zealand Has Kyoto Carbon Access Until 2015, Government Says

New Zealand, which renounced a second round of commitments to the Kyoto Protocol, can still take advantage of carbon-market mechanisms under the United Nations treaty until at least 2015, the government said.

The nation’s polluters will be able to buy UN Certified Emission Units until a so-called “true-up” period reviewing current Kyoto commitments ends, a spokesman for Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said. More than 190 countries in Doha agreed Dec. 8 to block nations that quit Kyoto’s second phase from buying the units after existing pledges expire this year.

“New Zealand will continue to have access to Kyoto units up until the end of the true-up period, which is scheduled for completion by 2015,” Jonathan Franklin said in an e-mailed response to questions. The status of other countries outside the second phase wasn’t clear, he said.

CERs, also known as offsets, represent emissions reductions made by investments in clean-technology projects in developing countries. They can be used to meet limits on greenhouse-gas discharges.

The restrictions from 2015 may bring forward a market auction of New Zealand domestic units, known as NZUs, to 2014, said Nigel Brunel, a carbon trader at OMF, an Auckland-based broker. Those units have plunged in value as polluters are able to fulfill their obligations by using cheaper UN offsets.

The NZU spot price climbed 1.1 percent to NZ$2.70 today. It has fallen 72 percent this year.

New Zealand last month chose to align climate efforts with the largest emitters such as U.S. and China by taking its pledge under the United Nations Convention Framework, after passing changes to its emissions trading scheme that critics including the Green Party said weakened its obligations.

The nation’s access to Kyoto carbon markets after 2015 will depend on progress in negotiating the global Climate Change Agreement and discussions around linking regional carbon markets, Groser said in a statement yesterday.

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