The European Commission published today the total number of allowances in circulation on the European carbon market. It amounts to 1 654 909 824 allowances.
The total number of allowances in circulation plays an important role for the operation of the Market Stability Reserve (MSR) of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which began operating in January 2019. This indicator shows the surplus of allowances in circulation in a transparent and predictable manner; as long as its level exceeds the threshold set in the legislation, of 833 million allowances, then allowances are placed in the reserve every year.
Allowances are either placed in, or released from the reserve, by increasing or decreasing the future amount of allowances that Member States auction.
The revised EU ETS Directive, establishing the architecture of the EU ETS for the next decade, provides for doubling the rate at which allowances will be placed in the reserve between 2019 and 2023.
Thus, based on the indicator published today and on the provisions of the revised legislation, auction volumes from September 2019 to August 2020 will be reduced by 397 178 358 allowances, corresponding to 24% of the total number of allowances in circulation.
The next publication of the total number of allowances in circulation will take place by 15 May 2020 to determine the reserve feeds taking place for the remainder of 2020 and the first eight months of 2021, i.e. from 1 September 2020 until 31 August 2021.