LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters Point Carbon) - The U.N. has called in more than 40 contractors and shifted internal resources to help it unclog a bottleneck of requests from companies seeking carbon credits, officials at the body’s climate secretariat said on Tuesday.
As of August, the U.N. was taking an average of 30 days to start processing applications handed in by project developers seeking approval under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or requesting carbon credits, according to a report from the CDM’s executive board.
This is up from 20 days at the beginning of 2012 and 10 days in April.
“An intensive assessment period was started at the end of August to deal with these peak submissions, which is expected to bring the average waiting time back to within 15 days,” the report said.
The support has likely helped lift credit issuance this month, with more than 26.6 million Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) being handed out so far - the most since January.
A U.N. spokesman said the CDM’s administrative division currently has 41 contractors working on project submissions.
“(The department) is pulling any resources they can internally with the intention of bringing the waiting period down and ending the year without a backlog,” another U.N. official said.
Developers are racing to get their CO2-reduction projects registered because installations that are approved after December 31, 2012 and located anywhere but the least developed countries are barred from exporting CERs to Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
And a May 2013 ban prohibiting the use of most CO2 offsets from the $148-billion EU scheme, the world’s largest carbon market, is also sending project owners scurrying to get their credits issued.
The U.N. spokesman said it was the fourth time the CDM administrators had called in external help, the first being in December 2010 when 23 contractors were summoned to help dislodge a backlog of applications.
A record 50.2 million credits were handed out the following month.
“Since then, we’ve had the capability in place for when submissions spike ... so we can stick to the prescribed (processing) timelines,” the spokesman said, adding that contractors were also called in to help in June 2011 and April 2012.
Credit issuance in the months following periods when contractors have been called in has averaged 25 million units per month, data collected by Reuters Point Carbon showed.
U.N. research agency UNEP Risoe will likely this week lift its 2012 carbon credit supply forecast after issuance will in November exceed its current year end estimate.
Reporting by Michael Szabo