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California Carbon Auction Sells All Allowances

carb-logoCalifornia companies bought all 16.95 million allowances to release carbon emissions at the state’s most recent cap-and-trade auction, according to data posted on the state Air Resources Board’s website.

The state’s seventh auction on May 16 sold carbon allowances for $11.50 each. An additional 4 million permits that can’t be used until 2017, of the 9.2 million that were available, sold at $11.36.

The price is slightly higher than the previous two auctions in February and November, each of which sold allowances for $11.48 each.

During CARB’s August 2013 auction, the state’s largest emitters paid $12.22 per metric ton for the right to release carbon.

Earlier this year, analysts with Thomson Reuters Point Carbon predicted California carbon prices would remain low through 2020 due to excess permits, which limits the revenue the state will raise through its carbon auctions.

The output of greenhouse gases from California’s carbon market partner Quebec was 12 percent lower than anticipated last year, which means prices for the linked market will hover just above the program’s auction floor price of $11.34 a metric ton this year, according to Thomson Reuters.

As a result, California’s quarterly permit auctions will only raise $21 billion for the through 2020 — well below the forecast $60 billion in revenue, analysts said at the time.

Last year, Superior Court judge rejected a legal challenge to California’s carbon auctions. The California Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Legal Foundation, on behalf of a dozen clients including Morning Star Packing Company and Dalton Trucking, had filed lawsuits in Sacramento Superior Court to block the carbon allowances.

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