European emitters question the relevance of emissions trading

19 May 2017

The Thomson Reuters ‘Carbon Market Survey 2017’ finds that support for emissions trading as a climate policy instrument has gone backwards from the position last year. Some 18% of the respondents now agree with the statement that cap-and-trade is “the best way in theory and in practice”. This is down from 23% in 2016, as three out of four respondents now prefer the pragmatic statement “the best we can agree on”.
The share of those who believe it “does more harm than good”, at 7%, is roughly the same as in the two previous years. This tells us that even if cap-and-trade is under constant attack from many industry companies (for being too strict) and from many environmentalist NGOs (for being too lax), very few
see it as a genuinely bad solution (compared to the alternatives).
Some 45% expect international climate markets to expand in the years up to 2030, 21% believe they will contract. Respondents do not seem to think that the reversal of US federal climate policy – following the election of Donald Trump – will have a huge impact on emission trading. 
Among European businesses subject to the EU ETS, 24% say it leads them to reduce emissions. 38% say it had an effect in the early days, but not any more. This is a reversal of last year’s distribution, when many more went for the first option. 
Only 14% of European compliance respondents see the EU ETS as very important for their competitiveness, half of them see it as ‘somewhat important’. 38% now see ‘little or no effect’, which is more than twice the share in 2016.
•The survey ran from 20 March to 17 April, and collected replies from 768 respondents from among carbon data users, traders, emitting companies, government officials and so on around the world.

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