An unprecedented outpouring of emotion was seen last week at Carbon Expo, the annual jamboree of carbon market lawyers and traders that occurred for the first time in Barcelona. On Wednesday 27th May the effects of Spanish sun and complimentary cava took hold as carbon traders took to the streets in their tens of thousands to celebrate their astonishing achievements of the past 12 months. The delirious loss of self control was all pervasive as great crowds of cheering carbon professionals thronged the streets as they chanted, sang and lit fireworks in a prolonged gleeful rampage.
Analysts have since been picking over the factors that might have contributed to such unexpected behaviour. One possible cause is the widespread delight apparent throughout the Expo that so many firms were pressing ahead with freebie drinks and receptions in a valiant effort to deny any sense of financial hardship. Another touted reason is a recent rally in the carbon price, with EUAs rising from a low of about €8 earlier this year to break through the €15 mark during the Expo – although some of the older hands in the market are reported to remember a time when prices topped €25 and Manchester United were champions of Europe. The rock-solid certainty of the market being cemented by a comprehensive climate agreement in Copenhagen in December this year may also have added to the high spirits that bubbled over so loudly in Barcelona.
Sadly, as the festivities grew increasingly rowdy the mood of the crowd began to sour. Violence crept in during the small hours as inebriated traders and analysts found themselves disagreeing over the finer points of the market and just why they were celebrating so hard. Scuffles were reported in several locations with some participants even resorting to wrestling to settle some burning issues. A sense of sobriety was finally restored when riot police were called to the scene and began to restore order and disperse the celebrations with a show of force that would have surpised even the Met police (and to the delight of the mainstream media).
As the carbon market returned to work this week with sore heads and some dented dignity, the army of analysts moved on to consider the next key question in the industry – can the 2010 Expo, back in its usual Cologne abode, be able to live up to Barcelona’s street party?