The overheating European carbon market

More than 40 euros per tonne of carbon! This is the record reached on February 12 on the European market for CO2 emissions allowances, the largest carbon market in the world. This “rights to pollute” market allows 11,000 installations in the energy, industrial and air transport sectors in 31 countries to buy and resell tonnes of carbon to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. . It represents a little less than half of the European Union’s emissions.

The principle is as follows. An emissions cap is set by the European authorities. It determines to what extent companies can receive for free or buy emission allowances, a quota representing the right to emit one tonne of CO2. If a company reduces its emissions, it can keep excess allowances to meet future needs or sell them. If it increases its emissions without being able to justify the corresponding quotas, it pays a fine.

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