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The last three years have seen the world grapple with a global pandemic and then the onset of geopolitical turmoil and war, yet carbon markets have not been diverted from their determination to produce the low-carbon future that we need.

Prices for EU Allowances topped the psychologically important €100 barrier for the first time in February as the regulatory process entered its final stages.

In  China there is still debate over when and how far to extend the nationwide ETS and when to impose an absolute limit on emissions, and in Australia, it remains a strong constituency calling for an explicit price on carbon despite recent advances.

In Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America our respondents had a wide variety of views on when compliance markets would begin to emerge, underlining the challenge that governments have in meeting domestic targets while waiting for clarity to emerge on the international policy front.

The voluntary market too has navigated some fairly choppy waters in the past few months, yet anecdotal evidence continues to demonstrate how many more private sector entities are pledging to take action to address their internal greenhouse gas emissions, and how innovation and investment are still being brought to bear.

Our survey respondents expressed strong confidence that the voluntary market has the capacity to scale up to meet the potential additional demand over the rest of this decade, and while some benchmark prices for carbon offsets are expected to end 2023 weaker than where they started it, there is still underlying optimism.

While the last two years have been characterised by optimism and resolve, it’s clear now that the market is developing the resilience it needs to get through the process of building international frameworks, supporting more countries as they work to implement their own mechanisms.


Carbon markets around the world are set to continue growing rapidly as countries double down on climate ambition, and as corporates continue to pursue net-zero goals, IETA’s latest annual Market Sentiment Survey finds.

The growth is expected to extend to the Voluntary Carbon Market, where efforts are underway to scale up supply of offsets to meet growing global demand, according to the survey, carried out by PwC UK's Sustainability and Climate Change team.

Prices in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) have more than doubled since the beginning of March 2021, when Europe was beginning to emerge from the shadow of coronavirus. Prices in other carbon markets have also risen, though by smaller increments.

The conflict in Ukraine and the resulting concerns over energy security are likely to lead Europe to adopt more ambitious climate targets. Around half those surveyed this year said they expect Europe to strengthen its “Fit for 55” climate package and this, along with measures to cut Russian imports of fossil fuels and speed up the deployment of renewables, is expected to drive EU carbon prices to an average price of almost €100 in the period 2026-30.

Most respondents to the survey believe that the agreement reached at the climate talks in Glasgow last year is insufficient to achieve the global goal of net zero emissions by the middle of the century. 52% of survey respondents also say there has not been enough progress in translating commitments into action since COP26.

On voluntary markets, nearly three-quarters of respondents – up from two-thirds in 2021 – expect the market to partition between credits for carbon avoidance or reduction on one side, and carbon removals on the other by 2030. Most of those polled plan to use nature-based offsets in their market growth strategy.


Climate change will be at the centre of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as governments bake emissions reduction plans into their stimulus measures and prepare to improve their Nationally Determined Contributions ahead of this year’s Conference of Parties, IETA’s annual Market Sentiment Survey has found.

Three-quarters of respondents to the survey, carried out by PwC UK’s Sustainability and Climate Change team for IETA, believe carbon markets globally have remained resilient to the impacts of COVID-19, and the same number believe that recovery from the pandemic will strengthen global carbon markets. 

Expected carbon prices over the next decade are higher for all major emissions trading systems, with EU ETS prices predicted to average €47.25 over 2021-25 (compared to €31.71 estimated for the whole of Phase 4 last year) and €58.26 over 2026-30.

Prices for California allowances are expected to reach €23.44 between 2021 and 2025, and rise to €35.49 between 2026 and 2030, the survey showed. The survey also revealed bullish price expectations for emissions markets in South Korea, China, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the Northeast United States.

Most respondents indicated that a successful agreement on implementing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is essential to achieving the global goal of net zero emissions by the middle of the century, though most are doubtful about whether such a deal will be reached this year when countries meet in Glasgow.

Carbon border adjustment mechanisms (CBAMs) were also a hot topic in the survey, with nearly 75% of respondents saying the EU should introduce a CBAM that would also lead to an end to free EU ETS allowances, while two-thirds expect that US President Joe Biden will introduce a similar measure.

On voluntary markets, nearly half of respondents believe that voluntary carbon markets can supply enough carbon credits to match the growth in demand from corporations. One-third of all respondents are exploring the use of Natural Climate Solutions and reforestation/afforestation schemes respectively, as part of their net zero and market growth strategy.

IETA's 2020 GHG Market Sentiment survey

Carbon market participants expect the COVID-19 pandemic to weigh on emissions allowance prices for the next two years, with price expectations for the coming decade also dropping, according to the 15th edition of IETA’s annual GHG Market Sentiment Survey.

The survey, conducted by PwC, reveals that respondents expect EU ETS prices to average €31.71/tCO2 in Phase 4 (2021-30), a reduction of 12% from last year’s €36.05/t prediction.

The poll of 137 IETA member companies and 22 airlines also showed diminished expectations for all the major emissions markets over the coming decade. Respondents expect prices in the Western Climate Initiative, which groups California and Quebec, to be 12% lower over the coming 10 years, while prices in the US Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will be 27% lower.

Prices in Mexico and New Zealand could see the largest drop compared to 2019 expectations, with NZ ETS allowance prices expected to be 35% lower, and Mexican prices 38% lower, than respondents forecasted last year. 

This year’s survey also investigated the growth of Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) over the last 12 months, and the prospects for NCS to contribute to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Around one-fifth of survey respondents felt that the biggest challenge to wide-scale investment in NCS is the lack of compliance systems that recognise the benefits of carbon storage in natural sinks, while the same number also expressed concerns over the permanence of such removals.

IETA's 2019 GHG Market Sentiment survey

A survey conducted by PwC of over 100 IETA members from across the globe has revealed considerable progress in carbon markets over the last year, with the hope of more to come. Regional developments in Latin America and China have given cause for optimism. Similarly, a record increase in the EU ETS price per tonne of carbon over the last year has been well received, as the EU ETS is still considered by many to be the carbon price benchmark.

Confidence in China’s national ETS launching in the next two years has doubled this year, with two-thirds of respondents expecting trading to start by 2021. The future of China’s ETS is considered by many respondents as pivotal for global carbon markets, as the country’s ETS is predicted to overtake the EU ETS as the world’s largest.

Tempering this sense of optimism is respondents’ scepticism that other Asian countries will align their NDCs with the Paris Agreement by 2020. Similarly, there is a loss of confidence in Canada achieving its NDC target. This may be due to Ontario’s withdrawal from the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) and the ongoing legal challenges to Canada’s federal backstop carbon price. Furthermore, respondents expect carbon prices to be significantly lower than what they think is needed to limit global warming to below 2°C.

Nevertheless, there is hope for the future. Shareholders are demanding more climate risk action and an overwhelming 85% of respondents expect corporate voluntary offsetting to increase over the next 5-10 years. Important drivers for voluntary markets include the TCFD recommendations and investor pressure, as well as increasing commercial viability, consumer pressure, and compliance obligations. Going forward, countries will need to focus on agreeing the rules of Article 6 at COP25 in December.

IETA's 2018 GHG Market Sentiment survey

Respondents to IETA’s annual GHG Market Sentiment survey are optimistic about the prospects for emissions trading around the world, despite concerns about an ambition gap between current trends and the Paris Agreement’s 2°C goal.

This year’s survey, conducted by PwC, yielded responses from 100+ IETA member representatives, from a variety of sectors and geographies. Responses showed an overall more positive sentiment towards emissions trading around the world, although an overwhelming majority caution that any shortcomings in the Chinese national ETS could have an impact on the mechanism’s reputation.

And for the first time since 2011, price expectations for Phase III of the EU ETS broke above €10, with the average price in this year’s survey settling at €15.21 – almost double last year’s average.

IETA's 2017 GHG Market Sentiment survey

Two-thirds of respondents to IETA’s annual GHG Market Sentiment survey think that the rise of populist political movements globally are a threat to action on climate change, despite a high level of executive engagement.

Conducted by PwC, the survey of 135 IETA members from across the globe raised widespread concerns that an increase in nationalist policies could hinder an international response to climate change, with one respondent urging market participants to go on a “PR offensive” extolling the virtues of emissions trading.

However, over three quarters (77%) of respondents said that climate change is a board-level priority – and 90% said board engagement on the issue has either increased or remained the same year-on-year.

Survey respondents are more optimistic about national and sectoral efforts, such as China’s planned national emissions trading system, efforts across Canada, and a new market for aviation. In Canada, 69% of respondents expect the federal Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to drive action by the provinces and territories, while an overwhelming majority expect Ontario’s new market to link to those of Québec and California.

Meanwhile, respondents’ Phase III EUA price expectations have fallen slightly this year, but remains in the €8-11 range, consistent with the past four years. Expectations for prices out to 2030 also dipped, while the majority of respondents agree that a carbon price floor is needed in the EU ETS.

IETA's 2016 GHG Market Sentiment survey

An overwhelming majority of respondents to IETA’s annual market sentiment survey expect an expansion of carbon markets, driven by the Paris Agreement.

Over 80% of respondents to this year’s survey, conducted by PwC, said they expect existing carbon markets to expand as a result of the Paris Agreement – compared with 58% last year. This will be driven by developments at both the national and sub-national level, the survey found.

By 2025, new emissions trading systems (ETSs) are seen starting up in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey, said respondents. This is in addition to the national ETS in China that is expected to begin next year, as well as the Ontario market, the legislation for which was passed in mid-May.

The carbon price respondents feel is needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s objective to limit warming to well below 2°C jumped by a third this year, to €40. This is in stark contrast to their expectations for prices in major carbon markets from now until 2020, ranging from €6 to €15.

IETA's 2015 GHG Market Sentiment Survey

Respondents to IETA’s annual market sentiment survey expect European carbon prices to rise for the first time in four years.  

This years survey, conducted again by PwC, found that respondents expect the average Phase III EUA price to be €10.79 – up from €8 last year, and the first rise since 2011. Prices between 2020 and 2030 are expected to average €18.40, according to the survey of IETA’s members.
This 10th edition of IETA’s annual market sentiment survey found that respondents see a lower carbon price needed to drive low-carbon investment than five years ago, averaging €29.60 now compared with two-thirds saying a price of €40 or more is needed in 2010. 
However, unsurprisingly, an overwhelming number of respondents (88%) see carbon markets as an effective policy instrument – with 58% saying markets are the most effective driver of low-carbon investment, up from 36% in 2010. 
The Paris climate talks will lead to an expansion of global carbon markets, according to 58% of respondents – with strong growth seen in Asia and North America in particular. Notably, all respondents expect China to have a national ETS, with 64% expecting the market to be implemented by 2020.

IETA's 2014 GHG Market Sentiment Survey

An overwhelming majority of IETA members expect carbon markets to have a role in an international climate change deal, expected to be agreed in Paris next year, according to IETA’s ninth annual Market Sentiment Survey. 

Over 80% of respondents to this year’s survey, conducted by PwC, expect the Paris 2015 climate agreement to pave the way for more carbon markets globally, with the potential to link them in the future. Around two-thirds of respondents (63%) believe that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will continue on in some form, with most of those replying think it is likely to be reformed. 

However, only a handful (4%) anticipate all major economies to face legally-binding reduction commitments from the deal.

IETA's 2011 GHG Market Sentiment Survey

IETA's 6th GHG Market Sentiment Survey highlights:

  • Expectations for future traded volumes are generally positive, and price sentiment is more bullish than last year
  • Opinion is divided on whether Cancun had a positive impact on the carbon markets. Progress around specific issues is expected at Durban, but not the implementation of legally-binding emissions targets
  • Future EUA prices alone are not expected to be high enough in Phase 3 to reach the EU’s 80% GHG emission reduction target
  • The transport sector could be a key source of demand for offsets
  • The CDM is expected to be boosted by EB reform and new market demand, but lose share in a growing international offset market over the next decade
  • Hopes are high for the emergence of trading schemes in Asia before 2016

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