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Copenhagen's carbon market impact

By Juliet Eilperin

COPENHAGEN--So beyond the question of whether the Copenhagen Accord is enough to save the planet, is it enough to save the carbon markets?

For an answer, just look at European carbon markets Monday, the first day they were open since the deal was struck: European Union CO2 allowances for delivery a year from now declined 8.3 percent to close at 12.45 euros, or $17.82. The United Nations' Certified Emission Reductions credits for delivery next year fell 7.2 percent, to 10.98 euros,

The declines suggests the deal has failed to provide the long-term certainty traders were looking for. But market experts say one day of trading is not the end of the story.

Abyd Karmali, president of the Carbon Markets and Investors Association, said the outcome means different things depending on whether you're someone who wants to sink your money into green tech or someone eyeing the prospect of a global trading system.

If each country is pursing its own domestic climate policies, Karmali said, "it's a decentralized set of, ideally, interlinked markets.

James Cameron, vice-chairman of the London-based Climate Change Capital, e-mailed that a legally-binding treaty would have been better from his perspective, "but there are hopeful signs."

Countries will submit their climate goals by the end of January, the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol "lives on," the U.S. may move a climate bill within a matter of months, and the E.U. is still committed to substantial carbon cuts over the next decade.

"Long term, though, the politicians have got to step up to the plate and realize that their national interests are only really going to be served by solving the problem," Cameron wrote. "Copenhagen has shown us that the old way of negotiating is a failed model. With climate change it is selfish to share. Cooperation is a survival strategy. Intense competition to solve the problem faster is what the business community needs."


Juliet Eilperin

 |  December 21, 2009; 8:05 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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