The Guardian – Adam Vaughan

The amount polluters pay for emitting carbon in the EU has hit a 10-year high, in a blow for coal power station owners and a boost for renewable energy.

The price of carbon in the bloc’s emissions trading scheme reached €18 (£16) per tonne on Monday, triple the level a year ago.

About 12,000 factories and power stations have to pay for every tonne of carbon they emit under the scheme, but for years an oversupply of permits has meant the cost has languished at about €5 per tonne. That is too low to spur companies to lower emissions.

However, observers said the carbon price rises and further anticipated increases would begin to hurt coal operators’ profit margins and influence investment decisions.

Phil MacDonald, the head of communications at Sandbag, a group that monitors the carbon market, said: “It will already be cutting into coal profits … Renewables get a big win from this and so does nuclear.”

Mark Lewis, the head of research at the Carbon Tracker thinktank, said although coal plant owners were bearing the brunt of the higher carbon price, they would pass it straight through to consumers.

Read the full article on The Guardian website here.