European Commission Outlines Actions to Enhance Carbon Market Registry Security

23 February 2011: The European Commission has outlined a series of actions to strengthen the integrity of the European carbon market following cyber-thefts from several EU Emissions Trading System (EUETS) registries in January 2011.

During a meeting of the EU Climate Change Committee held on 23 February 2011, in Brussels, Belgium, the Commission has recommend that member States undertake a number of short-term measures, including: regular reviews and updates of registry security plans; strengthening of policies concerning the opening of registry accounts, building on best practice, and a risk-based review of existing registry account holders; facilitation of information exchange between member States regarding suspicious requests to open an account; better training for registry users; and better use of options in existing EU legislation to prevent VAT fraud.

In addition, the Commission indicated the intention to: propose a modification of the EU Registry Regulation so as to give a stronger legal basis for measures to protect the integrity of the carbon market and uphold the reputation of the EU ETS; intensify work to make the European carbon market subject to appropriate financial markets legislation, initiating a public consultation on enhanced carbon market oversight; pursue options for addressing the issue of stolen allowances with member States and stakeholders, starting by hosting a stakeholder meeting on registry security measures and stolen allowances in March 2011; and intensify its dialogue with relevant stakeholders on key implementation issues concerning the EU ETS.

EU member States welcomed in broad terms the proposals by the Commission for enhanced registry security measures as a basis for the further discussions in the context of amending the registries regulation. At the same time several emphasized the need for striking the right balance between enhanced security requirements and the administrative costs for authorities and market participants. Discussions regarding stolen allowances confirmed the complexity and divergence of national legislation. Member States agreed on the importance of further exploring solutions in the amended registries regulation to restore the market confidence. Discussions are expected to continue in the Climate Change Committee in March 2011. [EU Press Release]