What are the Different Carbon Trading Jobs?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2019
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One of the biggest industries to emerge from the green energy push of the late 20th and early 21st centuries was that involving carbon trading jobs. Emissions trading is a method of trading carbon emissions permits in order to avoid governmental fines for pollution. This burgeoning industry offers a variety of jobs, from governmental analysts to managing directors at factories to independent traders. No matter the job, each position has the end goal of lowering emissions and improving the environment.

Thanks to the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, many nations, including those in the European Union, the United States, Canada and more, agreed to reduce carbon emissions in order to improve environmental air quality. The protocol gave companies a decade to reduce emissions to acceptable levels. In order to ease companies into these areas of emissions, governments issued permits that allowed certain amounts — normally measured in tons — of carbon emissions to be over the limit without being fined. Companies that successfully lowered emissions found themselves with a surplus of permits, and companies that failed to meet standards found themselves being fined heavily. A booming carbon trading industry, focused on trading permits for sums of money or goods, built up around this situation, as did many carbon trading jobs.


Government analysts are the foundation of carbon trading jobs and the industry itself. These workers study current environmental codes in that country and work with a group of companies, usually factories, to ensure that they are meeting these standards. This often requires getting emissions reports, visiting sites and communicating with environmental directors at each company. Another big job of these government employees is issuing permits and fines based on emissions findings.

Within a company, there usually are different layers of carbon trading jobs, mostly organized around measuring carbon and creating ways to lower emissions. The managing director normally is in charge of all environmental issues within the company. This person manages the team in charge of lowering emissions, works with government analysts and, most importantly, deals with the carbon permits. If a company has lowered its emissions and has a surplus of permits, the director frees up some to trade and if a company needs permits, the director acquires more to avoid the associated fines.

The actual trading usually is done by an independent consultant who is contacted by a director. These carbon trading jobs deal specifically in emissions trading and are experts on the subject of the international emissions trading market. These brokers have contacts within companies that are looking to buy permits and companies looking to sell, and the brokers can match them together. The trader usually moderates these deals and ensures that trades follow all carbon emissions trading laws.


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