California’s market-based program for fighting climate change had struggled badly over the past year. On Wednesday, it bounced back sharply. “It’s a validation of the overall program,” said Chris Busch, who tracks the California carbon market for San Francisco think tank Energy Innovation.
State regulators announced strong results from California’s cap-and-trade program on Wednesday. That’s a shift from other recent auctions, where most of the permits went unsold. But rules governing how the market for permits operates are helping to stabilize the system, said Chris Busch, research director at Energy Innovation. He called it “a triumph of policy design.”
Permit demand surged at California’s carbon allowance auction this month, in line with our prediction: 100 percent of current vintage allowances sold at the auction floor price of $13.80. The sale will raise upwards of $450 million dollars for the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Today’s results underline the California carbon market’s core strength – fundamentally strong policy design.
Demand for California pollution permits rebounded in the first quarterly auction since an appeals court upheld the program. The California Air Resources Board reported that it sold out of permits to release greenhouse gases during 2017 or later. The demand exceeded the total supply for the first time since 2015, pushing prices above the minimum.
California’s latest carbon allowance auction could be up to 80% subscribed, a pair of analysts predicted, bucking the trend of weak bidder demand seen for much of the past year.