ICAP Report 2015 highlights three key factors for success of emissions trading systems

Ten years after the start of the world's first carbon market in the EU, there are now 17 distinct emissions trading systems (ETS) in force across four continents. The new International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) Status Report 2015 now identifies three success factors of ETS around the world.


2015 will be a critical year for global climate action: in December, path-breaking decisions are on the agenda of the UNFCCC Conference in Paris. At the same time, 2015 also represents a significant milestone for emissions trading. Not only has the Republic of Korea launched their national ETS in January, but China is also taking bold steps in the development of their national carbon market, expected as early as 2016. Current systems are also maturing and expanding, playing an ever greater role in the fight against climate change. As of 2015, there are now 17 distinct ETS in force across four continents.

ICAP Status Report combines expert opinions and comprehensive data

In a world first, California and Québec linked their carbon markets in 2014, and with the inclusion of the transport sector in January their linked system became the world’s third largest. A decade following the launch of the world’s first major ETS in the European Union, jurisdictions with emissions trading now account for 40% of global GDP.

All these developments are well illustrated and set into context with the new "Emissions Trading Worldwide: International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) Status Report 2015". With the new Status Report 2015, the International Carbon Action Partnership provides a comprehensive overview of the global state-of-play of emissions trading and showcases the success of carbon markets around the world. Download the ICAP Status Report 2015 here (infographics also available separately).

adelphi is hosting partner of the International Carbon Action Partnership since 2008. As such, adelphi provides the staff for the Secretariat, including the ICAP Project Manager. Key tasks of the Secretariat include substantive assistance to the ICAP process, administrative support as well as financial management. For further information on adelphi's activities in this field, please see the Focus Topic: Emissions trading and carbon markets.

As each ETS offers a unique take on emissions trading, the ICAP Status Report provides policy-makers with a compact overview summarizing key ETS trends, while detailed ETS factsheets allow for in-depth comparisons of individual systems and their design features. International experts also offer insights into the latest developments in emissions trading.

Dirk Weinreich and Angelika Smuda from the German Environmental Ministry provide a German perspective on EU ETS reform, while Lois New and Justin Johnson from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative showcase their system as a compliance role model under the proposed Federal Clean Power Plan. The Québec Environmental Ministry share their experiences with linking to the Californian cap-and-trade program. Qian Guoqiang and Yu Siyang from SinoCarbon report on China’s transition from a pilot system to a national ETS, and from Tokyo, Masahiro Kimura gives an overview of the world’s first city-wide cap-and-trade program. Kay Harrison from New Zealand outlines the ongoing evolution of the NZ ETS, including the transition to a domestic-only system.

Report highlights flexibility, variability and individuality as key characteristics and success factors

"The ICAP Status Report 2015 showcases the great diversity of economic and political contexts in which ETS has been applied", state ICAP Co-Chairs, Jean-Yves Benoit, head of carbon markets at the Québec Environmental Ministry, and Marc Allessie, head of the Dutch Emissions Authority. As of 2015, there are systems operating in jurisdictions that vary largely in their geographical scope, economic profile and energy mix. Indeed, when it comes to ETS, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, rather the variability and individuality of the ETS are the key to its success: "Flexibility is certainly one reason why emissions trading has become such an appealing tool for policy-makers".

The growth and diversification of carbon markets is a success story, made possible through the dedication of policy-makers in an ongoing process of dialogue and consultation, to which forums like ICAP make an important contribution.

The International Carbon Action Partnership brings together regional, national and sub-national governments and public authorities from around the world to discuss important issues in the design of emissions trading schemes (ETS) and the way forward to a global carbon market. 30 national and subnational jurisdictions have joined ICAP as members since its establishment in 2007. For further information on ICAP and emissions trading, please visit the ICAP website, subscribe to the quarterly newsletter or follow ICAP on Twitter (@ICAPSecretariat).

» Publication: Emissions Trading Worldwide: International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) Status Report 2015

Media Coverage:

» Frankfurter Rundschau (German)

» klimaretter.info (German)

» Grist.org & The Climate Desk

» The Climate Group

» Eco-Business.com

» Climate Central