A European Union (EU) programme aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has made significant progress despite low prices in carbon markets, according to a study at the Universities of Strathclyde and Pittsburgh.
Under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), introduced in 2005 in response to the Kyoto Protocol, governments set a cap on an allowable total amount of emissions over a certain period. They also issue tradable emission permits, which allow for one ton of CO2.
It is widely considered that carbon markets require high prices to reduce emissions but many observers believe they often set prices which are considered too low. However, the study by Strathclyde and Pittsburgh has found that the EU ETS saved around 1.2 billion tons of CO2 between 2008 and 2016, nearly half of what governments pledged to reduce in their Kyoto Protocol commitments.
The study has been published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America). Strathclyde’s home city, Glasgow, is due to host the next United Nations Climate Change Conference.
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