Market sentiment is on the up at Carbon Expo

The positive sentiment captured in IETA’s GHG market sentiment survey was tangible at the first day of Carbon Expo in Barcelona, notes Sam Unsworth who worked with IETA on the report. IETA President Dirk Forrister expressed this during the opening ceremony this morning. He likened the inspiration he draws from Gaudi’s architectural innovations to the recent developments in the carbon markets.

The day began at a press conference to launch the IETA survey alongside a World Bank report on the emergence of carbon pricing in countries around the world . The headline that EUA price expectations amongst IETA members have increased for the first time in four years to €10.79 (see chart below) caught the attention of the media. Improved prospects for emerging markets around the world was also a hot topic for discussion, particularly the positive sentiment towards China, South Africa and Mexico.

The day saw plenaries covering a range of topics, as well as side events and a bustling trade fair. The carbon pricing leadership plenary led to fascinating exchanges over the role of pension funds stimulating corporate reform as major shareholders. At the CEO roundtable, companies recognised the importance of internal and external carbon pricing in improving their efficiency. Companies and governments discussed the potential for innovation in finance to support  adaptation and mitigation measures, with the growth of the solar panel industry in China cited as evidence of this.

However, potential barriers to the optimistic vision outlined by a number of speakers were also identified. A recurring theme was the stumbling block of regulatory uncertainty preventing the private sector making long term investment decisions.

The IETA survey shows a big gap between hopes and expectations for Paris: most members think that Paris will deliver a series of national pledges that aren’t legally binding.  These national targets will be achieved by companies investing in low carbon infrastructure.  And the theme that dominated the first day of Carbon Expo was the importance of carbon pricing in enabling and incentivising businesses to do this. 

If you would like to hear more about the results of the IETA survey or my experience at this years' Carbon Expo then please get in touch.