Assigned Amount Units (AAU) Surplus
The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established a cap-and-trade system that imposes national caps on the greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries that have ratified the Protocol (called Annex B countries). Each participating country is assigned an emissions target and the corresponding number of allowances – called Assigned Amount Units, or AAUs.
AAUs are tradable emission permits under the Kyoto Protocol. One AAU allows a country to emit 1 metric tonne of CO2e. Kyoto Protocol rules allow countries to carry over all unused AAUs into the next commitment period. The other units that can be used for compliance under the Kyoto Protocol are offset credits generated under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), ERUs from Joint Implementation (JI) and RMUs from land use, land-use change and forestry activities.
The AAU surplus from CP1 is estimated to be over 13 billion tonnes of CO2e. Russia (5.8), Ukraine (2.6) and Poland (0.8) are the largest surplus holders, followed by Romania (0.7), the UK (0.5) and Germany (0.5) (Point Carbon, 2012). Many of the former Economies in Transition had weak reduction targets under CP1. At the time when their targets were defined their emissions were already well below the level that they committed to CP1. That meant that they received millions of excess AAUs. Meanwhile, many western European countries have seen their emissions fall dramatically since 1990 and particularly in the last few years due to the economic crisis.
If the 13 billion were used fully, countries with a CP2 reduction target would not need to engage in any further mitigation action until well beyond 2020 (assuming Kyoto style rules would continue) and would still meet their targets (for more on this the analysis by Climate Analytics, 2012).
Related video from our actions at COP18:
Carbon Market Watch Publications on Assigned Amount Units (AAU) Surplus
Reports & Studies:
- ПОЯСНЕНИЕ ПРИНЯТЫХ В ДОХЕ РЕШЕНИЙ О ИЗБЫТКЕ ЕДИНИЦ КИОТСКОГО ПРОТОКОЛА.
- Policy Brief: Doha decisions on the Kyoto surplus explained
- Policy Brief: G-77 and China Proposal on the Carry-Over Rules of Kyoto Surplus Units from the First Commitment Period
- Point Carbon Study on the Carry-Over of AAUs from CP1 to CP2 – Future Implications for the Climate Regime
- Policy Brief: The Phantom Menace – An introduction to the Kyoto Protocol Allowances surplus
- Policy Brief: A New Look at Loopholes
Submissions on Policy Issues to UNFCCC:
- Open letter to Environment Ministers and delegates of all UNFCCC Parties: Increase ambition and close loopholes at COP18
- Recommendations for AWG-KP18
Submissions on Policy Issues to European Union:
Publications by Others:
- Press Statement: EU Member States fail to agree on eliminating 13 billion Kyoto surplus, squander opportunity for real climate action
- Press Release: Environmental groups call on EU Ministers to eliminate ‘hot air’ pollution permits to save a future climate deal
- Press Release: New study shows Kyoto Protocol surplus of emission permits threatens future climate deal
- Statement by CCAP and CDM Watch on the G77 proposal to address AAU surplus
- Press Release: New study shows loopholes could nullify climate commitments
- Press Release: Loopholes Undermine Viability of Climate Regime
Carbon Market Watch Newsletter:
Carbon Market Watch Newsletter Articles:
- Doha on AAUs: The Future of the Phantom Menace
- The Phantom Menace: How to tackle the 13 billion Kyoto surplus (Newsletter #1)
- Doha – Negotiating the Future (Newsletter #1)
- Hot air: toxic for the Kyoto Protocol (Newsletter #20)
- CDM Watch Durban assessment (Newsletter #18)
- Insights from the CDM workshop for NGOs, activists and citizens in India (Newsletter #5)
Watch This! Articles:
- COP18 summary – We won a game of poker on the Titanic! (Watch This! #4)
- Getting hot in Doha (Watch this! #3)