The price of polluting is soaring: report

(Eco Business, 10 Feb 2022) The cost of emitting greenhouse gas carbon dioxide skyrocketed in 2021 in all major emissions trading systems, according to Refinitiv’s carbon market report.

The value of traded global markets for carbon dioxide (CO2) permits grew by 164 per cent to a record US$851 billion last year, according to analysis by Refinitiv, a financial markets data provider. Higher volumes and skyrocketing prices underpinned the growth. 

Carbon markets are designed to put a cost on carbon dioxide for some of the most highly polluting industries. Carbon pricing usually takes the form of taxes on polluters’ emissions or “cap-and-trade” emissions trading systems (ETS) that limit how much companies can emit before having to pay more. 

The European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which launched in 2005 and is the most established carbon market, is driving growth. Prices have surged there—climbing to over US$90 a tonne by the end of 2021, more than double the previous year. The bloc accounted for 90 per cent of global value at US$728 million, the annual Refinitiv Carbon Market Year in Review showed. 

“High prices are fundamentally a sign that the market is pricing in the cost of transition to a greener economy. It shows confidence in climate targets and in emission trading systems as tools to meet them,” said Anders Nordeng, senior analyst at Refinitiv and report co-author.  

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Eco Business, 10 Feb 2022: The price of polluting is soaring: report