EU emissions trading seen up to 8bln euros by 2007
Author: Neil Chatterjee
"I think we will see a gradually increasing market in terms of liquidity from 2005, possibly up to eight billion euros in 2007," said Atle Christiansen of PointCarbon, an Oslo-based independent research group on emissions trading.
PointCarbon said the EU market's capitalisation would be around one billion euros ($1.01 billion) in 2005, rising to between 3.9 and 8.0 billion in 2007, depending on how many of the 10 new members set to join the EU in 2004 take part in the trading scheme.
European Union environment ministers agreed on Monday to create the world's first international greenhouse gas emissions trading system, as part of an effort to fight global warming.
The scheme is key to the EU's drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions to eight percent below 1990 levels by 2012, required under the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol.
Subject to final approval by the European parliament, the scheme will cap the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that industries can emit from 2005, while allowing them to trade emissions rights with other firms in the 15-bloc nation.
PointCarbon estimates an average EU emissions allowance price of 4.8 euros per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, though prices could be in a up to 20 euros, depending on the overall reduction cap.
The EU scheme could be the precursor to a global emissions trading market between countries bound by Kyoto, although the United States, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has rejected the treaty.
The first deal within the framework of the pact was done earlier this month, when the government of Slovakia sold greenhouse gas emissions credits to a Japanese trading house.
"The emerging European market may demonstrate that trading in emissions allowances is a well-suited instrument to meet reduction targets in a cost-effective manner, providing a benchmark for the development of trading systems in other countries and regions," Christiansen said.
The UK and Denmark already have voluntary emissions trading schemes, though emissions trading was first established in the United States to deal with acid-rain causing sulphur dioxide.