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Unit 1 Micro: Carbon Trading Scheme In Crisis

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
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The European Union's carbon emissions trading scheme is under huge pressure at the moment and there are many who believe that the market-based system of carbon pricing has effectively collapsed. 

  1. There is a fundamental over-supply of carbon permits in the market - on some estimates, an excess of supply of over 840 million permits (one permit = one tonne of CO2)
  2. This has caused a sharp fall in the market price of carbon to below Euro 5 per tonne
  3. At such low prices there is an incentive to use coal rather than cleaner natural gas for electricity generation 
  4. Latest figures show that greenhouse gas output in Europe fell in 2012 by 1.4% - but this is largely the result of very weak economic growth in the EU
Carbon trading is an important intervention at a European level but the system appears to be flawed and there are very powerful vested interests in the debate - for example the interests of Polish coal mining companies, airlines, producers of renewable energies. What are the alternatives to carbon trading? One is a carbon tax.

(Source: The Economist) - click here

Extension reading and supporting videos:

EU parliament rejects plan to boost carbon trading (BBC) - Click Here

International cap-and-trade markets expanding – but still contentious (Guardian) - click here

Guardian news articles on carbon emissions trading - click here

Carbon trading scheme in crisis (BBC news, April 2013)

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