On 15 June 2010, ICAP held a public conference on Cap and Trade:  Lessons Learnt, Achievements and Prospects for an International Carbon Market in Tokyo. 

As the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's cap and trade system started in 2010 and considerations for a national system in Japan gained momentum, the conference brought together international and Japanese experts in the field to share their experiences and exchange ideas. The conference also provided an overview of recent developments of cap and trade and market mechanisms and the international carbon market, and will give an outlook on prospects for the future of the international carbon market. 

The conference’s program, presentations and report are available for download below.

Summary of the outcomes of the conference

Over 300 attendees participated in the discussions centered on experiences gained from, and perspectiveson, the progress made to date across the globe on the establishment of carbon markets to achieve emissions reductions in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

Three separate sessions were held at the conference, each one involving expert presentations followed by a panel discussion: 

  • Plenary One, Recent Developments in Cap and Trade Systems in North America and Europe .
  • Plenary Two, Recent Developments in Cap and Trade Systems in Asia and Oceania
  • Plenary Three, Cap and Trade - Achievements and Lessons Learnt

Overall, the following key points were made during the conference:

ETS has the ability to cover broad sectors of the economy, and it can play a central role in the policy mix to address global warming. Of the various possible measures, the cap-and-trade approach is widely held to be the most efficient, cost-effective method to guide the economy toward a cleaner, sustainable development path.

  • Sub-national programs very often lead development of national schemes, although it is necessary to consider how to integrate separate sub-national schemes and how to treat pre-existing sub-national schemes following establishment of a national system.

  • A fairly broad-based consensus has emerged that in order to achieve actual reductions in total emissions with certainty, the emissions trading scheme should be based on an absolute cap, rather than on an intensity target.
  • The experience of the EU-ETS implied that insufficient data collection may present a problem in the early stages of the scheme (leading to over-allocation and price decline), but this problem can be surmounted as the ETS operation improves over time.

  • Long-term stability and certainty of the policy scheme is desirable to send a meaningful signal on carbon price, while the government needs to "learn by doing", especially in the early phases of the scheme.