The 2015 Point Carbon Market Survey from Thomson Reuters surveyed 1,200 people ‘from the world of carbon’, including traders, emitters, governments and NGO’s.

Experts were broadly supportive of cap-and-trade with 19% saying it is an ideal abatement instrument, 66% saying it is the best we can agree on, and just 8% saying it does more harm than good.

“This year’s results indicate that the increased confidence of 2014 shows no signs of slowing,” said Anders Nordeng, senior carbon analyst at Thomson Reuters. “2013 saw an all-time low for sentiment, with falling prices and doubts about political commitment. But things picked up in 2014 and this positive trend looks set to continue in 2015 too.”

The report authors said the results were particularly positive given the upcoming climate summit in Paris in December.

“Markets are not a key part of the negotiations, but even so, if a majority of the big emitters bring abatement targets to the table, it will send a very positive signal that there will probably be a role to play for markets in achieving many of those targets.”


European respondents were broadly positive about the world’s largest carbon market – the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Almost half (49%) agreed that the EU ETS is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, and two thirds believe it will “continue to be the main instrument of EU climate policy”.

Among the respondents who were covered by the ETS, 51% said the system had caused them or continued to cause them to reduce emissions. Emissions covered by the scheme fell by 4.4% last year.

Rest of world

Encouragingly, 43% of respondents in China – the world’s most polluting country – expected a national cap-and-trade scheme to be established by 2017.

A further 40% were confident a scheme will be launched between 2018 and 2020, reinforcing Reuters’ view that “the [Chinese] Government’s planning agency seems determined to introduce a nationwide emission trading scheme”.

By contrast, there was reason for pessimism in North America – which has several regional carbon markets, but no national scheme.

Only 17% of respondents were confident the US climate target (a 26-28% reduction by 2025) is achievable under current and planned policies, and 63% expect legal action against the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Brad Allen

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