Carbon Market More than Doubles 2006 Growth

The global carbon market grew to a whopping US$64 billion (€47 billion) in 2007, more than doubling over 2006, according to a new report from the World Bank highlighting the state and trends of the global carbon market.

The European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) also saw a doubling of both value and number of allowances transacted to the tune of US$50 billion (€37 billion).

The report's data show that the global carbon market doubled or tripled in value for all segments, except for projects in developing countries that saw a leveling off of market volumes transacted under the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM)—from 537 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2006 to 551 MtCO2e in 2007. The report cautions that market momentum may be at a crossroads for many developing countries just as they are beginning to reap the benefits of carbon finance and are stepping forward to show that they are making efforts to mitigate climate change through advancing clean energy technology. The report shows that the CDM is delivering on clean energy—energy efficiency and renewable energy accounted for nearly two-thirds of the transacted volumes in the project-based market.

"Sixty-eight developing countries participate in the CDM, among them Jamaica, Kenya, Mali, and Madagascar, which offered climate-friendly projects for the market for the first time in 2007. But, at a time that global cooperation to reduce the risk of climate change is more important than ever before, the prospects for developing countries benefiting from the carbon market are in question. It would be a shame for the world to lose this momentum now", said Karan Capoor, senior World Bank carbon markets expert and main author of the State and Trends of the Carbon Market Report 2008.

The overall data in the report masks some key vulnerabilities — especially for developing countries. All developing countries face a demand gap sometime in 2008 when buyers realize that there is not enough time to fulfill Kyoto commitments with new projects, and demand will have not yet kicked in from emerging markets in the United States and Australia that are expected to be players in a future market after 2012.  Added to that is the fact that the European Commission has proposed freezing new demand for projects from developing countries in commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2012. The success of the CDM is also weighed down by procedural delays as more than 2,000 projects out of more than 3,000 have not yet been processed through the CDM approval cycle.

"Projects for renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as investments in poorer developing countries make up the bulk of the projects this year and it is these projects that are losing out as a result of procedural delays and bottlenecks in the CDM, putting their eventual implementation into question," said Philippe Ambrosi, also of the World Bank, and co-author of the report.  

The report reviews the trends of the carbon market based on material provided by carbon market analysts and brokers Evolution Markets Inc. and Natsource LLC and on interviews with a large number of market participants.

"Carbon trading market data in 2007 reflects the ability of market mechanisms to mobilize capital to address climate change", said Jack Cogen, chief executive officer of Natsource LLC, a leading emissions and renewable energy investment bank. "In order to continue market growth and investment in clean energy, policy-makers need to send the project development and buying sectors a clear signal that these mechanisms will continue to be an important policy tool in the post-2012 policy framework to address climate change and improve their performance. In addition, all those participating in the U.S. climate policy debate should draw important lessons from the world's efforts to develop carbon markets and apply them in U.S. legislation," said Cogen.

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