Title: Post Durban: Moving to a fragmented carbon market world?

Contributor: NULL

Languages: English

Type: Document

Region: Global

Country: Global / Non-Specific

Keywords: Renewable Energy


Document Details:

The agreements recently struck during the COP 17 global climate change negotiations in

Durban, South Africa, from November 29th to December 9th, bring us to a new crossroads.
The outcome of Durban will influence whether the initial Cartesian vision of a global
carbon market and one single price for carbon, which emerged from the Kyoto Protocol but was
never accomplished, is to receive a new impetus, or whether we are heading towards a long
period of building through a bottom-up approach, which may or may not lead to a unitary
carbon market in the future.
The emergence of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions markets was the direct result of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP),
which included in its provision three articles that provided for the creation of offsets and the
trading of these units:
• Article 12, the Clean Development Mechanism (Certified Emissions Reductions or CERs),
• Article 6, Joint Implementation (Emissions Reduction Units or ERUs) and
• Article 17, emissions trading for Assigned Amount Units Assigned (AAUs), which are
emissions rights that are allocated to the Parties to the KP. They are good for Parties to
comply with the KP and good for corporate obligations in Japan, but they are not valid
compliance instruments under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
In order to meet KP obligations, the EU set up the EU ETS, a domestic cap and trade system for
about 15,000 installations inside the EU that were constrained in their CO2 emissions, and which
could also use some KP units, CERs and ERUs under certain conditions, to meet their
Focusing on the initial vision of a global carbon market, what has emerged so far is the
beginning of a fragmented carbon market. The activities of the EU and Japan in the carbon
market and their use of Kyoto Protocol-recognised units were driven by their obligations
stemming from the Protocol. Thus, trade in EUAs, CERs, ERUs and AAUs, representing the
vast bulk of GHG market activity, was largely confined to the EU, Japan and the developing

© 2011 Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)


Author: Andrei Marcu

Logo Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Tracking Number: PostDurban_2011_English


Updated: August 25, 2020