The failure of the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen to produce a strong, binding agreement to cut carbon-dioxide emissions sowed gloom in European carbon markets Monday, with prices for carbon-emissions permits falling more than 8%.
The slumping price for carbon reflected disappointment among traders and businesses that the nonbinding Copenhagen Accord didn’t stipulate how much big countries such as the U.S. or China have to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. The deal also left unresolved most of the big issues of how to curb emissions linked to climate change. On Tuesday, China’s Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, taking issue with British complaints about the summit and China’s role.
Because the U.S., China and other major economies didn’t agree to binding emissions cuts, European countries didn’t increase their own pledges to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. European officials, who had considered curbing emissions by 30% from 1990 levels, instead maintained their target of a 20% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020.
That helped push prices for carbon permits to €12.41 ($17.73) per metric ton Monday, down from €13.58 Friday. Carbon-permit prices have fallen 14% since the beginning of the Copenhagen conference, a reflection of how expectations steadily fell as countries bickered over how much they would cut emissions and who would pay for it.