Coal power plantEvidence has come to light that Poland is claiming over $8.5bn in carbon trading allowances from coal power plants that do not exist.

A EurActiv investigation has found that to be the case for at least one of the coal plants for which Poland is requesting $8.5bn in free carbon allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Poland applied for $40m worth of free allowances for the Łęczna coal plant, near the Ukrainian border, but there is no visible evidence of construction work, while photos of the Północ installation, for which Poland is claiming $120m of similar allowances, taken in November 2010 also show empty fields.

Under EU rules, exemptions from the ETS until 2020 can only be granted to power plants if their investment process was “physically initiated” before 31 December 2008, and if their greenhouse gas permits were issued before 30 June 2011.

The environmental group Client Earth, which is challenging the legality of the Łęczna plant and 12 others, says that the Polish authorities did not even apply for building permits at sites such as Łęczna before the December 2008 deadline, reports the Financial Times.

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