The CO2 market

Some figures

  • - The voluntary market size tripled in volume and value both in 2006 and 2007, and doubled in 2008 to 123 Mt CO2, for a total value of US$705 millions.
  • - In 2009, suppliers reported a total volume of 93.7 MtCO2e transacted in the global voluntary carbon markets.
  • - After a decrease of a 20% in 2008, prices came back to normal prices trends in 2010, sign of improvement and solidification of the market.
  • - In 2008, 50% of the transactions were made by large corporations, NGOs, and Governments (against 30% in 2007).
  • - In 2008 Traders, Brokers, Retailers, still had an important share of the market but that might have decreased in 2009.
  • - In 2009 VCS credits were the most transacted according to volume, followed by CAR, CCX and the Gold Standard.
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What is the voluntary carbon market?

The voluntary carbon market, or carbon offset market, has evolved in parallel to the compliance market. In this market there are no caps or legal binding responsibilities to fulfil as there are in the compliance market. It usually involves buyers such as companies, individuals or organisations seeking to offset emissions for ethical reasons or branding and Public Relations. It is typical to offset emissions from events (pop concerts), flights, products or annual emissions. The voluntary carbon market is rapidly evolving since large multinationals, Governments and public institutions are starting to get more and more involved. Customers in the voluntary carbon market are able to purchase both credits which originate from the Kyoto compliance market (Certified Emission Reductions and Emission Reduction Units) and credits which originate from the voluntary market (Voluntary Emissions Reductions).

  • - 1 carbon credit = 1 tonne of avoided CO2 emissions.
  • - Buying one tonne of carbon offsets means there will be one less tonne of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there would otherwise have been.
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