Emission credits to curb Denmark's CO2 pollution
Denmark expects to spend 5-25 billion crowns ($0.7-3.6 billion) to reach its commitments to the Koyoto protocol to cut carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) by 21 percent by 2012.
"We want the most improvement for the environment we can get for as little money as possible," Danish Finance Minister Thor Pedersen said at a news conference.
"Buying credits is the cheapest way of improving our environment while only taking national measures would be the most expensive."
Denmark ratified the Kyoto protocol in May last year, and set the ambitious target of reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide, thought to contribute to global warming, by 21 percent by 2012 compared to 1990's level.
But since 1990 Denmark's emissions have barely decreased at all, and if no measures are taken, the carbon dioxide emission would be 20-25 million tonnes above the target by 2012, corresponding to 25-30 percent of Denmark's total greenhouse gas emissions.
"We have to reduce our emissions much more than we initially thought. Therefore it will also cost more than expected," Pedersen said.
Under its commitment to the Kyoto protocol, Denmark has to cut its CO2 emissions by 25 million metric tonnes to 55 million tonnes per year by 2012.
By buying emission credits from other countries which are below their target, Denmark hopes to reduce the cost of its commitment.
Emmissions trading schemes are planned worldwide as countries look for ways to meet their Kyoto protocol commitments to curb emissions of greenhouse gases.
Under the terms of the European protocol, if countries find it too difficult to cut their pollution to reach the targets, they can buy the right to pollute from others whose emissions are below their target.
Such mechanisms can also be used within states by companies, meaning firms which produce renewable energy such as wind energy can sell credits to those unable to meet the required reductions.
Britain said on Monday it could reach its target to cut greehouse emissions through more renewable power and greater energy efficiency.