Carbon prices drop in wake of climate talks.

Carbon prices plunged on Monday in the aftermath of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, dealing a blow to the credibility of the European Union’s carbon-trading scheme. Prices for carbon permits for December 2010 delivery, the benchmark contract for pricing European permits, dropped nearly 10 per cent in early trading, before recovering to end the day 8.3 per cent lower at €12.41. One dealer described the market as like “a falling knife” but said that a rise in European gas prices had helped to support the carbon market. UN-backed certified emissions reductions for December 2010 delivery fell 7.9 per cent to a low of €10.89 a tonne, a six-month low.

Maybe “in full” is a little unfair. I paid little attention to Copenhagen, I think correctly. That one story sums up the conference outcome rather neatly I think. Was there more?

Nurture. JA. NN. IC.

Comments

  1. #1 David B. Benson
    2009/12/22

    A hundred thousand or so visitors were snowed upon.

    Took it better than you, methinks.

  2. #2 carrot eater
    2009/12/22

    It’s refreshing to have a dose of brevity and understatement, and this fits the bill. A hilarious way to summarise, without using one word to describe the arcana of the proceedings.

  3. #3 Gerard Harbison
    2009/12/22

    There was the 40,000 ton carbon footprint. Not much, in the grand scheme of things. But you know what they say, a megaton here, a megaton there, pretty soon you’re talking about real climate change.

  4. #4 MarkusR
    2009/12/22

    Actually its about 28 billion tons. So the conference was 0.000143% of CO2 emissions this year. Not bad as an investment even if it manages to reduce global emissions by merely a gigaton or two.

  5. #6 dhogaza
    2009/12/23

    Yes, Obama got what he needed to get a cap and trade bill through the Senate, probably with a few Republican votes.

    There’s really no point in a US delegation pushing for a treaty ala Kyoto, I’m afraid. It takes 67 of 100 Senators to ratify a treaty, and with only 58 democrats and two independents who mostly vote with the party there’s no chance in hell that at treaty would be ratified.

    I’m a bit mystified by so many outside the united states (and many within) being so eager to see a treaty come out of conferences like this when it’s guaranteed the US will not be part of it.

    I think it was clever politics by Obama. The one thing he needed in order to push something through the Senate (remember, it takes a 60% vote to get through the procedural crap) was to get China to come to the table. Getting India helps a lot, too. It doesn’t matter so much that nothing concrete has been agreed to, he’s answered one of the major Republican wingnut screaming points.

    He’s not guaranteed of getting all 58 Democratic Senators to vote for passabe as quite a few come from coal and oil states (one each from Montana and Louisiana, as a minimum).

    Now, of course, maybe you don’t it’s not important for the US to pass the first, albeit, relatively weak climate bill in the country’s history. I would disagree. It will be a first step but unfortunately a big step is utterly impossible in the US at this time.

    So Obama will have to settle for a first, smaller step while at the same time he’s taking other action which will help (raising CAFE standards, routing stimulus spending into insulating homes – a large number of home in the US are heated with oil or natural gas furnaces, and of those heated by electricity, many get their electricity from coal-fired plants, etc). Also the EPA will play a role. These latter things are doable by the executive without further legislation.

    Anyway … more good came out of it than I expected. I expected nothing, and got something, even though mostly it helps with US domestic politics.

    And I don’t think China and India will run away and hide, and that’s important, too.

  6. #7 Gareth
    2009/12/23

    Mark Lynas on China’s tactics. Obama’s not running this show…

  7. #8 Alan Woods
    2009/12/23

    Gareth, according to Monbiot he is. Just sayin’.

  8. #9 Adam
    2009/12/23

    I posted this at JEB. It’ll vanish by Friday, but some parts were rather good:

    http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/fricomedy/fricomedy_20091218-1900a.mp3

  9. #10 Gareth
    2009/12/23

    Alan, George wasn’t in the room…

  10. #11 Alan Woods
    2009/12/23

    Gareth, George doesn’t need to be…

  11. #12 carrot eater
    2009/12/23

    I generally agree with dhogaza’s comment. One of the primary conflicts is between the US Senate and China, which makes things awkward because those two parties don’t negotiate directly with each other.

    Is there any other country where the ratifying body (US Senate) is so utterly independent from the negotiating party (US executive branch)?

    I’m surprised anything got done; the key is to have low expectations. And you can’t let the good be the enemy of the OK, which is a perspective the activists seem to utterly lack.

  12. #13 dhogaza
    2009/12/23

    Mark Lynas on China’s tactics. Obama’s not running this show…

    It’s common knowledge that China was monkey-wrenching the conference.

    It is also apparent the Lynas doesn’t have a clue as to how much Obama needed to get China and India to the table to ensure that something gets out of the US Senate this year.

    And I’d say Lynas is one of those that doesn’t understand that the US isn’t going to join a global treaty, period. Those 67 votes aren’t there now and unless there’s a huge change in Republican attitudes, a change that would boil down to throwing out essentially everything the Reagan Revolution brought to the party, it won’t happen in the future.

    That’s the reality. The world needs to deal with that. The US brought false hope of our potential participation at Kyoto, a treaty that Gore had a lot to do with, and one that Clinton, despite public support for Kyoto, never bothered to have introduced on the floor of the Senate.

    Am I optimistic about the future? No, not really. But anything meaningful coming out of Copenhagen, any international agreement, would’ve been thrown in Obama’s face by the senate. Might’ve been a 60-40 vote or even a 62 or 63 vs. 37 or 38 vote, but it would’ve been rejected. 67 vs. 33 for a treaty ratification just isn’t going to happen.

  13. #14 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/23

    dhogaza,

    I will go on record right now. There is zero chance of a cap and trade bill being passed in 2010. Mid-term elections coming in November.

  14. #15 Alastair
    2009/12/23

    dhogaza,

    You are missing the point. You Americans think that you rule the world, and your Senate thinks that if it votes down a Kyoto type treaty then global warming is not happening.

    But you don’t rule the world any more. China does!

    It doesn’t matter what the US Senate does. We need the permission of the new Emperor of China to get anything done, and that is even less likely than getting the Senate to move.

  15. #16 dhogaza
    2009/12/23

    I will go on record right now. There is zero chance of a cap and trade bill being passed in 2010. Mid-term elections coming in November.

    OK. I’ll remember that. We’ll keep score.

    It will be much easier than the health care bill was.

  16. #17 dhogaza
    2009/12/23

    You are missing the point. You Americans think that you rule the world

    No, I don’t, so kindly shove it.

    However I *do* know that the US is second in the world in per-capita emissions of CO2 (the first being, apparently, OZ, which has too few inhabitants to matter much), and that if the US doesn’t take action, then we’re not going to crack this nut.

    and your Senate thinks that if it votes down a Kyoto type treaty then global warming is not happening.

    I would guess that 20-25% of the Senate believes that climate science is either pulling a hoax on the world, or is greatly exaggerating the potential negative outcomes of business as usual.

    But you don’t rule the world any more. China does!

    Good reason for the US and China to work together and ignore Europe, right?

    (No, that’s not what I believe we should be doing, but be careful of the points you make …)

    It doesn’t matter what the US Senate does. We need the permission of the new Emperor of China to get anything done, and that is even less likely than getting the Senate to move.

    Yes, we need China on board. But to claim that US emissions are meaningless … well, maybe I should agree. Maybe everyone in the US should agree. Back to the SUVs, folks, yeah, that’s the ticket! We’ll let China fix it!

  17. #18 dhogaza
    2009/12/23

    I will go on record right now. There is zero chance of a cap and trade bill being passed in 2010. Mid-term elections coming in November.

    The House already passed one, and the Senate’s much less sensitive to midterms than the House…

  18. #19 Paul Kelly
    2009/12/23

    Does anyone disagree with this proposal? Scrap the UN IPCC and COPs. Don’t waste another dime or man hour on it.

  19. #20 Gareth
    2009/12/23

    Dhog et al,

    The point you’re dancing around is that the US does not decide our future any more. China does. The only hope of getting some sort of credible (ie likely to do some good) emissions reductions, is to get China to the table (with all big emitters) and get them involved in action. Obama got them to the table, but Lynas indicates that was all he got. Once there, they weren’t about to cooperate. How do we do that? That’s the big question…

  20. #21 Alastair
    2009/12/23

    Yes, we need China on board. But to claim that US emissions are meaningless … well, maybe I should agree. Maybe everyone in the US should agree. Back to the SUVs, folks, yeah, that’s the ticket! We’ll let China fix it!

    If you 300 million Americans keep driving your SUVs it won’t make much difference compared with all the 1,300 million Chinese starting to do the same.

    “Here’s another fine mess you’ve got us into.”

  21. #22 dhogaza
    2009/12/23

    Does anyone disagree with this proposal? Scrap the UN IPCC

    and COPs. Don’t waste another dime or man hour on it.

    Don’t agree with this, either. But if we can’t put together a plan all members can agree on, then there need to be alternative paths to getting stuff done.

  22. #23 Paul Kelly
    2009/12/23

    dhogaza,
    The useful service in evaluating and summarizing the science every few years could be done very well for less than the chairman’s annual salary and travel expenses. .

    Seventeen years of failure should prove the COP can’t put together a plan all members can agree on. It is time to find an alternative path. Top down doesn’t work. Bottom up can.

    Follow the President. Change starts at the community level.

  23. #24 dhogaza
    2009/12/23

    The useful service in evaluating and summarizing the science every few years could be done very well for less than the chairman’s annual salary and travel expenses. .

    Sorry, you need structure and support services. In the grand scheme of things the cost of the IPCC isn’t much at all.

    Seventeen years of failure should prove the COP can’t put together a plan all members can agree on. It is time to find an alternative path. Top down doesn’t work. Bottom up can.

    I should think my comments make clear that I don’t disagree with the fact that Obama’s stepped somewhat outside the COP structure.

    But why give up one path just because you’re following another? It doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.