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GlobalData Forecasts Increasingly Volatile Carbon Market

The price of carbon credits traded in regional and national emissions markets worldwide will become increasingly volatile and difficult to accurately forecast through 2015, according to a report by GlobalData.

GlobalData said the prolonged European sovereign debt crisis, a glut of carbon credits and uncertainties under the Kyoto Protocol are expected to keep prices low through 2012. The recession in the European Union, which operates the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, will cause emissions to grow less than expected through this year.

Economic conditions in the eurozone and outcomes of the Kyoto Protocol will determine the global carbon prices between 2013 and 2015, GlobalData said.

Global macro-economic conditions will play a role in carbon prices in 2015 and beyond, the research house said. Prices will increase if India, China and Brazil agree to meet certain targets by 2020. The carbon market also could be impacted positively from 2013 and beyond 2015 as some countries develop regional and national emissions markets.

Last week concern over the low price of CO2 credits traded in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme prompted 13 major companies and associations, including General Electric, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil, to send a letter urging the EU t0 take action. The companies said the EU should pull 1.4 billion CO2 permits to prop up the carbon market and encourage investment in green technologies.

Meanwhile, US researchers found that the EU cap-and-trade scheme and a carbon tax implemented in Scandinavian nations have not made a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The study, published in the International Journal of Critical Accounting, examined selected firms affected by the Kyoto Protocol and analyzed their carbon emissions reduction disclosures in Europe. On the whole, the carbon tax and the cap-and-trade system doesn’t appear to have been very effective in achieving the goals of Kyoto during the period between 2005 and 2007, the researchers said.

The data analyzed suggests that the EU’s commitment to reduce GHGs 8 percent from 1990 levels by 2012 will not be met, the researchers said in the report.

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