California carbon-emission allowances sold for $13.62 a ton this week in the state's second carbon auction, the Air Resources Board reported today.
The price was considerably higher than the first auction last fall and reflects growing familiarity among heavy industrial users for California's "cap and trade" carbon market, the centerpiece of the state's effort to contain greenhouse gases.
All 12.9 million of the credits, each good for a ton of carbon pollution in 2013, sold out during Tueday's electronic auction.
The auction for credits that can be used to spew carbon in 2016 was less robust - just 4.4 million credits sold, at the minimum price of $10.71 a ton.
At the initial auction in November, credits sold for barely above the $10 minimum, but analysts say market participants are getting more comfortable with the process now and are bidding more aggressively for credits.
The cap and trade mechanism puts a cap, or ceiling, on annual carbon emissions. The participants - several hundred heavy industries - can either find a way to scale back their pollution to get into compliance, or buy credits from the state or other participants.