Market price of carbon credits
The market price of trade carbon credits is determined by two factors: supply and demand. A shortage of supply means that the price of a carbon offset is higher, while a surplus means that the price is lower. However, there are many factors that influence the price of carbon offsets. One factor is the number of projects that are currently being developed. Despite the fact that many projects are still in the early stages, the number of projects is on the rise, which in turn affects the market price.
The market price of carbon credits is determined by the Market agent. This agent weighs supply and demand to find the Nash equilibrium point between the offering and asking prices of carbon credits. In addition, the carbon price is affected by abatement options and the cost per unit of abatement.
Industry sectors that are interested in purchasing carbon credits
While the carbon markets are relatively new, there are already a number of large players that are interested in purchasing carbon credits. The oil and gas industry has been one of the most active participants, but many other sectors are now joining the fray. The CFTC is currently evaluating the extent to which it should regulate carbon markets.
Voluntary carbon markets can be used by individual companies or as part of an industry-wide scheme. For example, the aviation sector has set up the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to help offset the industry's emissions of greenhouse gases. Airlines that are participating in CORSIA have committed to purchase carbon offsets to compensate for any CO2 emissions above a base year level. Unlike compliance markets, voluntary carbon credits are not restricted to specific regions and are accessible to all sectors of the economy.
Market infrastructure for carbon credits
To help the global community reduce carbon emissions, the Paris Agreement on climate change requires countries to implement market infrastructure to trade carbon credits. These credits are produced by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, converting to renewable energy, or increasing carbon stocks in ecosystems. The goal of the market infrastructure is to create a transparent, efficient environment for trading these credits.
As the world moves toward a net zero carbon emissions world, the demand for carbon credits will increase exponentially. A report by BloombergNEF forecasts that by 2050, the demand will rise by more than 10 times, with the drivers shifting from behavioural to fundamental factors. The amount of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) is expected to increase from 0.43 GtCO2e today to more than 5.2 GtCO2e by 2050. Ultimately, this demand growth will be driven by the desire of businesses to reduce emissions and be environmentally responsible.
Demand signals for the voluntary carbon market
To create a strong and scalable voluntary carbon market, it is important to have clear demand signals. Such signals could encourage suppliers to submit project plans and investors and lenders to provide financing. Developing such demand signals will require a concerted effort on many fronts. This client alert outlines six areas that need to be addressed to facilitate the development of a market that has enough liquidity to meet the needs of all parties.
The market must be regulated to prevent fraud and money laundering. It should also provide for continuous monitoring and reporting of project impact. It should be regulated by a governance body that will vet market participants and oversee the market's operations. In addition, demand signals can help encourage project developers to increase their supply of carbon credits. These signals can come in the form of commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Alternatively, up-front agreements can be made to purchase carbon credits from future projects.