Kyoto carbon trade hits 1 million tonnes a day

SINGAPORE - The European Climate Exchange (ECX) said its futures trade in carbon emissions credits from developing countries based on a U.N.-scheme has hit a million tonnes a day after launching the contracts in March.

CEO Patrick Birley said it was difficult to predict forward volumes but saw no threat for a host of new exchanges that are likely to sprout from New Zealand to the United States, as these countries come up with their own carbon trading schemes.

"For us the most important thing is to build up greater liquidity. The important thing is the market grows. The competition among exchanges is not really important," Birley told Reuters in Singapore.

ECX, a subsidiary of UK-based Climate Exchange Plc, is the world's largest exchange for trading carbon derivatives based on the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme.

On March 14, the exchange launched futures and options contracts based on the U.N.-run Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) offsetting scheme.

The CDM scheme allows rich nations to invest in clean energy projects in developing countries and in return receive offsets called CERs which they can sell for profit or use to meet emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Birley said China and India would continue to be the major supplier of CERs.

He said growth in carbon trading would remain strong as more nations come up with their own trading schemes but the biggest boost would be from the United States.

"The big event is going to be when the next U.S. president is elected. All three of the candidates are supporters of carbon trade. So then you'll have a U.S. (cap and trade) system," he said.


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