More than 1700 participants from about 70 countries gathered in Cologne, Germany to discuss current carbon market trends at the 11th Carbon Expo conference ended on Friday (May, 30).
According to media releases, delegates including UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres and industry and power sector chiefs encouraged policy makers and businesses to step up efforts toward creating a single price for GHG emissions. “We need a substantial global price on carbon” Figueres told a plenary session on Wednesday. “Emitting has a cost wherever it happens”.
During the three-day event the World Bank disclosed its annual report on “State and trends of carbon pricing” (pdf), according to which efforts to put a global price on greenhouse gases have been hampered by nations scaling back pledges. While international negotiations may be slow, countries and cities are moving on climate pricing, the report said.
A total of eight new carbon markets opened in 2013 in countries including the world’s top emitters China and the United States, and another launched in early 2014. The World Bank estimated that the world’s carbon markets, which cover the emissions of 39 national and 23 sub-national jurisdictions having implemented or scheduled carbon pricing instruments were worth around $30 billion in 2013. Emissions trading systems and carbon taxation together regulate the equivalent of nearly 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, or about 12 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, the report said.
However, the carbon trading landscape is largely fragmented, with per-tonne prices varying widely within the schemes (from $1 in Mexico and New Zealand to Sweden’s $168 carbon tax). Furthermore, oversupply and a lack of international ambition have pushed permit prices in several schemes to levels that are too low to boost low-carbon investment.