2008 carbon market valued at Euro 90bn

The global carbon market grew substantially in 2008, despite the downturn in other global commodity markets - and the EU's trading scheme was responsible for most of this activity.

According to analysts Point Carbon, nearly 5bn tonnes of CO2 equivalent changed hands across the world during the course of the year – an increase of 83% on the activity in 2007.

The market’s total value for the year also grew to an estimated Euro 92bn (US$ 125bn), which was more than double its Euro 40bn value in 2007.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) accounted for two-thirds of the total carbon market, trading a total of 3.1bn EUAs. It was also responsible for three-quarters of its value – a total of Euro 67bn (US$90bn).

Veronique Bugnion, managing director of trading, analytics and research at Point Carbon: said: “The fact that the global carbon markets have now broken the $100bn mark is more than symbolic – it represents a market that has doubled in size in an otherwise depressed environment.

“It is all the more remarkable since the price of EU Allowances have in fact dropped significantly in the past months.”

Analysts are now waiting to see what will happen to the price of EU Allowances in the coming years as fewer are issued to incentivise emissions reductions.

Another important market in 2008 was the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – the first mandatory, market-based effort in the US – which saw 70m tonnes of CO2 equivalent change hands with a value of Euro 180m ($240m).

Point Carbon said this showed that the RGGI will become the world’s third largest carbon market when it comes online later this year.

Other headline figures were:

  • In the Clean Development Market, about 1.6bn tonnes of CO2 equivalent changed hands last year, worth Euro 24bn
  • The secondary market in Certified Emissions Reductions reached 1bn tonnes
  • The CER market was up 70% on 2007 figures
  • Kate Martin

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