Analysts Cut Carbon Price Forecast for California

Carbon may come cheaper than first predicted when California’s cap-and-trade program finally gets rolling.

Craig Miller

Analysts at Thomson Reuters have dropped their projections of what polluters would pay for emissions permits from $40 to $36 per metric ton of CO2-equivalent gases.

Emilie Mazzacurati, who heads the firm’s North America Carbon Team, says pushing back the compliance date to 2013 and fears of a double-dip recession are behind the 10% trimming from its prior forecast.

Analysts say they expect greenhouse gas emissions to decrease in a sluggish economy. In 2009 and 2010, California’s emissions from power plants dipped by 12% due to a combination of milder temperatures, leading to less air conditioning demand, and a lull in manufacturing.

The trading price assumes that California goes it alone in cap & trade, although two Canadian provinces are expected to join the market eventually. Rules for the State’s cap & trade program have to be finalized by the end of October.

  • Mark J. Fiore

    The planet will probably settle at 1000 ppm co2 by the year 2150.Carbon, properly valued, should be priced at about $3000 per ton.This figure would include all damage to the environment and all damage to human cities and the people of Earth.In fact, a price anywhere below $900 per ton is ludicrous.The planet will have 7 billion people by October 2011.The environment and the benefits it provides to humanity is calculated at 40 trillion dollars per year.Gretchen Daily, Stanford biologist, and founder of the Natural Capitalism Project, is an expert in this area.Also Peter Ward has written science articles on what a 1000 ppm world will look like.Humans need to get real and price carbon so that we do not destroy the Earth.That price,properly accounting for all externalities and costs, is $3000 per ton.
    The 6th major extinction, caused by man, has ushered in the sixth major geologic Epoch, the Anthropocene.This planet is in severe trouble.Meanwhile, Congres dickers and passes zero climate legislation.What a shame for the humans and the planet.Gives new meaning to the phrase”fiddle while Rome burns”.Climate change denialists and Republicans d’ont bother to post here your dribble about climate change not being real.It is.End of story.
    Mark J. Fiore
    Harvard, 1982
    Boston College Law School, 1987.

  • Craig Miller

    And of course, initially the plan is to give away most emissions “allowances” while the program ramps up. Estimates were that more than half the permits would be auctioned off by 2015–but then compliance with the program has also been delayed by a year.
    Meanwhile the Union of Concerned Scientists has weighed in with objections to the plan for allowing industry to use carbon “offsets” to comply. According to Dan Kalb of the organization’s California office:

    “Given the large number of offset credits CARB is proposing to allow polluters to use to meet the emissions cap under AB 32—around 80 percent of cumulative reductions under the cap through 2020—the offsets provisions as currently drafted, risks reducing the effectiveness of the entire cap-and-trade program. Moreover, the most recent changes CARB has proposed would not prevent polluters from receiving offset credits from activities that don’t actually reduce additional emissions.”

    So…we’re a long way from $3,000 a tonne.