Carbon markets proliferate worldwide — report

By Anne C. Mulkern | 04/16/2024 06:15 AM EDT

Washington state’s cap-and-invest program was among several new emissions trading systems in 2023.

Two Washington ferries cross each other in Seattle’s Elliott Bay.

Two Washington state ferries cross each other in Seattle’s Elliott Bay on Feb. 17 near Seattle. Washington state plans to use revenue from its new cap-and-trade market to electrify its ferry system. Manuel Valdes/AP

Three dozen emissions trading systems are now operating worldwide, raising $74 billion in revenue last year.

Washington state’s carbon market was one of five new or heavily revised systems to launch in 2023, adding to what the International Climate Action Partnership called a “rapid expansion” in cap-and-trade markets. ICAP — an alliance of policymakers from governments operating or starting emissions trading systems — included the findings last week in its 11th Emissions Trading Worldwide Status Report.

“Record high temperatures, extreme weather events, and other growing impacts serve as frequent reminders that the climate challenge is with us now: it can no longer be treated as a problem for the future,” the report said. “Against this backdrop, carbon pricing has proven to be a key instrument in the climate policy tool kit.“


Almost one-third of the world’s population now lives in an area with an emissions trading system, according to the report. The analysis included both economywide systems — like those in California and Washington state — as well as markets that target specific sectors, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for utilities in 11 Northeast states.