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Today saw the arrival of our [first map of emissions trading](http://sandbag.org.uk/see “”). At the moment it is only showing the top 100 polluters in the UK but we are exploring ways of being able to show the full 900 or so without rendering it too complex to be useful. Getting to this stage has involved quite a lot of data cleaning and re-organisation. Our conclusion – the UK is a lot better at handling data than the EU.

We’ve opted to display just the 2008 allocations of permits at the moment – i.e. the amount each participant is legally allowed to emit. We have emissions data for 2006 and are awaiting the arrival of 2007 emissions data. This will allow us to compare the number of permits with what people have actually been emitting. We suspect some have been given rather more than they may need which will need a bit of investigating! It’s all part of the process of bringing this issue out of the dark corridors of Whitehall and Brussels and into the cleansing light of day.

While we may have succeeded in mapping the emissions permits they still don’t actually exist yet. The carbon market was reacting badly today to the news that the process of actually handing them out for this year, which should have happened last week, has been indefinitely delayed. Since permits equal money, people interested in trading them have become more than a little agitated at the delay, describing it as a farce. It’s all down to incompatibilities between databases – probably the only person who properly understands it all properly is DEFRA’s carbon markets expert and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s even harder to get hold of than usual at the moment.