Global carbon permit auctions raised $58 bln in 2021 -study

Credit: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Global auctioning of permits in emissions trading schemes raised $58 billion in 2021, more than double the previous year due to an increase in ambition globally to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Many countries and regions have launched emissions trading systems (ETS) to put a price on emissions and incentivise companies to invest in low carbon technology and help meet climate targets.

As of 2022 some 25 ETSs are in operation globally, covering around 17% of global emissions, according to a report by the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP), an intergovernmental forum on emissions trading systems based in Berlin.

Under an ETS, governments set a gradually decreasing cap on the amount of emissions that a sector, or group of sectors, can produce. They create carbon permits for those emissions, which are auctioned, and companies must buy one for each tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) they emit.

The $58 billion raised from permit auctions in 2021 was up from $25 billion in 2020, the report said.

“The increase in global (climate) ambition has resulted in an increase in carbon prices across almost all systems, reflecting the expectations of more ambitious emissions caps in the future,” ICAP said.

Prices in the EU ETS rose by around 150% during 2021 to end the year around 80 euros ($87.76) per tonne as EU policymakers unveiled more ambitious climate targets, pledging to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, up from a previous target of a 40% cut.

The allowance price in California and Quebec, which have linked schemes, grew to $28 from $18 by the end of the year.

In China, which launched its national ETS in 2021, the closing price on Dec. 31, 2021, was 54.22 yuan ($8.51), 13% higher than its starting price in July, the report said.

($1 = 6.3714 Chinese yuan renminbi)

($1 = 0.9116 euro)

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale in London Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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