Global carbon trade rose 80 pct last year: group

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Trade in the world greenhouse gas credits market rose 80 percent last year as emissions rules became a concern for more companies, a carbon analysis group said on Friday.

Global carbon credit trade rose to $60 billion in 2007, from $33 billion the previous year, according Point Carbon, an Oslo-based group of greenhouse gas analysts and consultants.

Total traded volume in the global market reached 2.7 billion tons of greenhouse emissions reductions in 2007, a 64 percent jump in the same period.

The U.N.’s climate panel last year squarely blamed human actions for global warming.

Carbon trade allows companies that have cut emissions under a set limit to sell credits representing the reductions to slower-moving players. It is seen as a major way to spur clean technologies that are hoped to slow and then decrease global emissions.

The United States, the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluter, has not yet regulated the gases scientists blame for warming the planet. But 10 states on the East Coast plan to start trading carbon dioxide emissions credits from power plants next year, while states in the West and Midwest also plan to trade in regional markets.

Banks, hedge funds and exchanges in the United States, including the New York Mercantile Exchange, last year became increasingly involved in voluntary trading and preparation for possible national carbon regulations.

“This indicates a growing confidence that GHG emission trading will soon take off in the U.S., whether it is at the state or federal level,” Point Carbon said in a statement.

Nearly two-thirds of the global trading volume last year occurred on the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, with 1.6 billion tons of greenhouse emissions changing hands worth $41 billion. The EU ETS, which kicked off in 2005, covers more than 10,000 power stations and other stationary sources of greenhouse gas pollution.

The other major market was the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism, under which 947 million tons of greenhouse emissions were traded, worth $17.5 billion, despite complaints that red tape has delayed projects.

The CDM allows players in rich countries to meet their emissions limits by investing in clean projects in developing countries, such as wind farms and hydroelectric projects, which otherwise would not have happened.

The secondary market in issued CDM credits rose from 40 million tons and $836.2 million in 2006, to 350 million tons and $8.3 billion in 2007, Point Carbon said.

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Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Matthew Lewis