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CO2 emissions quotas to be sold to Spain

SLOVAKIA is ready to sell 27 million tonnes of excess carbon dioxide emissions quotas to Spain, after the cabinet approved the sale and authorised Environment Minister Peter Žiga to represent Slovakia in the transaction on June 19, the TASR newswire reported.

SLOVAKIA is ready to sell 27 million tonnes of excess carbon dioxide emissions quotas to Spain, after the cabinet approved the sale and authorised Environment Minister Peter Žiga to represent Slovakia in the transaction on June 19, the TASR newswire reported.

The minister did not specify the price for which the emissions quotas will be sold, nor the date when the contract on the sale will be signed.

“We are waiting for the other party to get ready to sign the contract,” Žiga said, as quoted by TASR.

The current price per tonne of CO2 emissions quotas at the exchange is about 10 eurocents.

The money from the sale is to be used for purchasing hybrid-engine buses, and for thermal insulation of residential houses and public buildings, the minister said, as reported by TASR.

Slovakia has been negotiating the sale of the emissions quotas to Spain since last year, with two possible options: either selling all the 27 million tonnes of emissions quotas to Spain, or selling 22 million tonnes to Spain and the rest to Austria.

The sale to Spain will be the first time Slovakia will have sold emissions quotas since the infamous emissions quotas scandal in 2008, when the Environment Ministry sold emissions quotas to Interblue Group, a company that was at the time based out of an unattended lock-up garage in the United States, below market value.

In the original deal, in 2008, Slovakia sold quotas to emit 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to Interblue at €5.05 per tonne, just as Slovakia’s neighbours were cashing in their quotas for around twice that price. The deal resulted in the dismissal of at least two ministers, as well as the Slovak National Party (SNS) eventually losing political control of the ministry. The murky US-based firm was subsequently dissolved and was reported to have been re-established as Interblue Group Europe, registered in Switzerland.

Slovakia withdrew from the contract, which guaranteed Interblue Group the pre-emptive right to purchase additional quotas to emit 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, back in 2010. Interblue Group Europe has objected to Slovakia’s withdrawal.

Last year, Interblue Group insisted that Slovakia should sell it quotas to emit 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide based on the original contract. Slovakia said no to the firm in December 2012, with Environment Minister Peter Žiga explaining: “I do not have a relevant partner who would demonstrate the relevant legal succession of the American firm Interblue,” as quoted by the SITA newswire.

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