Is There No End to Cap and Trade’s Failure?

Conn Carroll /

It is already well established that the European Union’s cap-and-trade plan has not only failed to actually reduce carbon emissions, but even if the reductions were met, they would have no impact on world temperatures. Now we learn that global collapse in commodity prices has rendered the system completley inoperable. The London Times reports:

In only three months, life has become a lot cheaper for polluters. The financial cost of warming the planet has plummeted in Europe’s emissions trading system (ETS) and the effectiveness of such a volatile market mechanism in curbing carbon is being questioned.

In July, the right to spew out one tonne of CO2 from a chimney would have cost a power generator E29.33, but yesterday it could be bought for only E18.25 ($34.14).

It is a terrible irony that one aim of creating a carbon market was to provide a measure of certainty to the energy industry in estimating the future price of carbon for the purpose of planning investments in new power generators.

Estimates of the price at which carbon capture and storage technology might be economically viable vary between E40 and E60 a tonne. Suffice it to say we are nowhere near these levels.

Carbon’s falling price spells companies going bust, the loss of jobs and the shredding of political reputations. Over the next year, no politician with re-election hopes will back a policy that would triple the price of carbon for industry and raise consumers’ energy costs.