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Global carbon market grew by 68% in 2009

World Coal,

The global carbon market saw 82 billion t of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) exchange hands in 2009, up 68% on 2008, according to a recent report published in Carbon Market Research and released by Point Carbon. In 2008, trade was also up an impressive 83% on 2007, reflecting the rapid expansion in global carbon trading over the past three years and showing how carbon has dramatically bucked the current global downturn which has depressed most global commodities.

Despite this impressive growth in trade, however, the value of the global carbon market remained virtually unchanged compared to 2008 figures, having doubled between 2007 and 2008. The carbon market was worth € 94 billion (US$ 136 billion) in 2009, € 92 billion (US$ 133 billion) in 2008 and € 40 billion (US$ 58 billion) in 2007. “The expansion in carbon trading in 2009 was mainly due to a strong increase in the volume of EU Allowances (EUAs) traded”, said Endre Tvinnereim, senior analyst at Point Carbon, adding “however, due to lower carbon prices the market barely grew in value over the past 12 months when compared to 2008”.

Point Carbon’s weighted-average world carbon price last year stood at € 11.40, down from € 18.87 in 2008. The weighted-average EUA price was € 12.89/t, down 41% on 2008, whilst secondary Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) were seen at a weighted average of €11.80/t or 91.5% of the EUA price. The price of CERs was down 21% on 2008.

Taking each market segment separately, the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), continued to see the lion share of carbon traded in 2009, with 5.6 billion t traded, equivalent to 68% of global volume, with a value of € 73 billion, or 77% of global value. The second-largest segment was the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) market, which includes the primary and secondary market for CERs, as well as options. In 2009, the CDM market saw 1.6 billion t of carbon traded, worth some € 17.5 billion. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first mandatory, market-based effort in the US, was the third largest segment in 2009 and showed the greatest growth over 2008, rising from a market where 71 million t CO2e was traded, worth € 178 million, to a market where 765 million t CO2e was traded, worth € 1.7 billion last year.

“The almost ten-times increase in value and volume traded in the US last year shows that cap-and-trade has finally landed in America, with the launch of the RGGI on 1 January 2009”, said Tvinnereim.

Since Point Carbon’s records began in 2003, the world’s carbon markets have exchanged 18.3 billion t CO2e to a total value of € 259 billion. Thus, the 2009 numbers constitute almost half the total volume and just over one-third of total value transacted over the past seven years.

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