Today, the number of auctions for carbon allowances reached four digits as auction number 1000 of emission allowances under the EU ETS Auctioning Regulation took place at the European Energy Exchange.
Since these auctions started on 26 October 2012, more than 3 billion carbon allowances have been auctioned and Member States have generated revenues of over €16 billion. Most of this money is used for climate and energy related purposes.
European carbon allowance auctions represent a tremendous technical success. Nowhere in the world have environmental assets been auctioned before at such a scale, covering carbon emissions from manufacturing and power plants across 28 EU Member States.
This is a cornerstone of the market that puts a price on carbon emissions and provides companies with a clear EU-wide signal to incentivise climate action.
While most allowances were handed out for free in the first two phases of the European carbon market as of 2005, since late 2012 the regular supply of allowances via auctions has become a daily routine for the carbon market. Almost every working day a few million allowances are put in circulation via auctions.
Transparency and predictability are at the heart of the system, with auction dates and volumes being determined up front through year-ahead auction calendars and rapid publication of the results of each auction within 15 minutes of closing. The allowances are quickly delivered to the successful bidders and the revenues are divided up among Member States.
A key element underpinning this unique system is the successful cooperation between Member States: 25 Member States and the Commission participate in a joint procurement process to contract a common auction platform that delivers dependable carbon allowance auctions while saving costs by avoiding duplication.
The technical success of European carbon allowance auctions offers a powerful example to countries interested in putting in place carbon pricing policies, showing that auctions can play a key role in delivering a flexible and market-based mechanism.
- Publication date
- 4 May 2017
- Directorate-General for Climate Action