Carbon passed a milestone on the road to acceptance as a tradeable commodity yesterday as the Climate Exchange recorded its first ever profit.
The company – which runs the European Climate Exchange in London and its US counterpart – recorded a near-doubling in volumes in the first half, pushing it to pre-tax profits of £1.5m compared with last year's £300,000 loss.
The market for "green" products is taking off, boosted by schemes such as Europe's emissions trading scheme and the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the US.
Climate Exchange trading volumes came in some 96 per cent higher in the first six months of this year than last. The jump was sharpest in Europe, where the half-year total of 2.7bn tonnes was up by more than 250 per cent year on year. In the US, trading also more than doubled.
But despite the strong growth, there is considerable uncertainty in such a young market. Both the Copenhagen global climate change conference in December and the impact of Barack Obama's Climate Bill with have a significant impact on the group in the coming months, Richard Sander, the executive chairman, said.
"Both Europe and the US are going very well," Mr Sander said. "But we face near-term uncertainty from Copenhagen and also from the legislative stance of the cap and trade programme in the US."