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Japan in talks to buy Czech emissions rights

Japan is in talks with the Czech Republic to buy surplus carbon emissions rights, following similar discussions with Russia, Poland and Hungary, a Japanese government source.

The rights, known as Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), are sold by countries like Russia that are well below the greenhouse gas emissions limits assigned to them under the Kyoto Protocol agreement during 2008-12.

The other 36 industrialized countries that have signed up to Kyoto can buy the AAU emission rights if they have exceeded their own quotas.

“A memorandum has been done with Hungary, but it's ongoing with Poland and Czech (Republic),” said the source.

By buying AAUs, countries can avoid the cost of reducing emissions at home.

This trade has drawn criticism from environmentalists who say the rights are not necessarily related to actual emissions cuts.

Russia is one of the world's biggest potential sources of AAUs, with a bigger surplus than the shortages of all other Kyoto countries combined.

Talks between Russia and Japan are ongoing, but are moving slowly, added the source. (Reuters)