AMSTERDAM, Mar 14: With trade booming and prices up, it's no wonder traders are anxious to talk about the world's latest commodity: pollution permits.
The 850 businessmen, government officials and bankers meeting in the Netherlands recently are holding the first conference on the newly created market in greenhouse gases since the Kyoto Protocol on climate change went into effect.
Though only an exercise in networking, the size of the conference, to be opened by a Dutch Cabinet minister, reflects the explosion in trade in carbon dioxide, the waste product spewed into the air by heavy industry.
Under the climate agreement that took effect Feb. 16, 35 industrial countries must meet specific targets for reducing emissions of carbon and other gases blamed for trapping heat in the atmosphere and causing the planet's average temperature to rise.
The treaty allows countries and companies that cannot meet their quotas to buy carbon credits from others that produce less carbon than permitted, and thus have a surplus of allowances to sell.
The Netherlands posted its carbon registry where trades are recorded and companies can buy or sell credits on the Internet, becoming one of the first countries to have the Kyoto structure in place. In Norway, Nord Pool opened the first carbon allowances exchange, operating as a platform the way other exchanges trade in metals, soya or stocks.
CO2 officially became a tradable commodity Jan. 1, although buying and selling in "futures" has been going on for two years. Eventually, companies will trade directly with each other or through banks and exchanges.
"The market is growing quickly," said Stian Reklev of Point Carbon, a Norwegian-based company that analyses the trade and is sponsoring the conference.
Reklev said 8 million tons of carbon were traded this month. Source: Internet