SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s first carbon trading exchange opened on Monday, setting an initial price for carbon at A$8.50 ($7.50) per metric ton under the voluntary scheme.
Australian Climate Exchange (ACX) established the joint venture aimed at cutting the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and bracing firms for possible pollution limits five years ahead of the introduction of a government-backed scheme.
About 1,600 tonnes of Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) changed hands, opening at A$8.50 per tonne for 2007 and closing at A$8.60. The total value of the trades was A$13,610, according to data on ACX's Web site www.climateexchange.com.au/
This compared with prices of 19.50 euros ($26.96) for European Union carbon emissions on the ECX exchange for delivery in December 2008, the first year of commitments under the U.N. Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
Australia has not ratified Kyoto, which sets binding limits on emissions and envisages global emissions trading, but Prime Minister John Howard has pledged to establish a national carbon trading scheme by 2012.
The ACX exchange is the fourth voluntary market, following schemes in the United States, UK and Japan.
ACX Limited Managing Director Tim Hanlin said businesses wanted an opportunity to sponsor clean technology now.
“This is a voluntary emissions trading market and it’s business to business trading of greenhouse gas emissions,” Hanlin told Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) radio.
Carbon trading involves putting a price and limits on pollution, allowing companies that clean up their operations to sell any savings below their allocated level to other companies.
ACX is a joint venture with companies trader Australia Pacific Exchange.
($1=1.133 Australian Dollar)