Japan’s TEPCO pulls out of carbon market

TOKYO, June 4 (Reuters Point Carbon) - Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), Japan’s biggest greenhouse gas........



TOKYO, June 4 (Reuters Point Carbon) - Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), Japan’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter and buyer of carbon credits, has pulled out of the U.N.-regulated carbon market, cutting offset credit demand by millions of tonnes per year.

The utility, which owns the Fukushima nuclear power plant hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, will no longer buy carbon credits such as Certifed Emissions Reductions (CERs) and Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), a company spokesman said.

“We cannot revoke existing carbon credit purchase contracts, but we no longer have any plans to sign new contracts,” he told Reuters Point Carbon.

The government last month approved a 10-year- recovery plan for the crisis-stricken company, through which TEPCO will receive $12.5 billion over the next decade on certain conditions.

According to the plan, TEPCO will cease CO2 credit purchases during that period, the spokesman said, adding that it’s unlikely the firm will be able to meet its 2008-2012 emissions target.“We will not declare publicly that we have abandoned the CO2 emissions intensity target, but it is now clear that we cannot achieve it,” he said.

The Fukushima disaster threw Japan’s economy into crisis, and with the country’s nearly 70 nuclear plants now offline, the government has had to rethink the nation’s energy mix.

The new government strategy is also expected to include new investment in energy efficiency and re-newables, but Japan’s increased economic challenges have largely removed climate change from the national agenda.

 (Source: Carbon Market Daily, by Hisane Misaki and Stian Reklev)