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Green Digest

April 5, 2009

Pay more to emit

THE price of permits to emit carbon dioxide should be at least £85, about eight times the present price, if they are to meet their goal of getting big polluters to cut emissions, according to a government-sponsored study.

The findings, which will be published later this year by Chris Hope of Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, will shock industry at a time when pollution permits under Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are trading at about £11 per ton.

The government commissioned Hope to assess the effectiveness of the ETS, the system under which companies are set limits on the amount of carbon dioxide they can emit. Those that exceed their limits must buy permits from others who have come in below their quota.

Hope is expected to say that the ETS is deeply flawed and that carbon permits should cost at least £85. He will suggest that a “green tax” on top of the carbon price may be necessary.

Oil giants pull out

BIG OIL picked up the pace of its withdrawal from renewable energy last week when BP revealed that it was closing two solar-panel plants in Spain and part of another in America.

The cutbacks, which will result in 620 job losses, come only weeks after BP announced a 30% spending cut across the company, including at its renewables arm. Earlier this year it decided not to invest in the British wind-power industry.

Shell has made the same decision and sold out of its wind interests. Last month the company also said it was pulling out of solar and hydrogen technologies.

The oil giants have been rethinking their operations since the oil price plunged from $145 a barrel to $50.

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