This week in voluntary carbon...
Two major acquisitions this week sought to tap into synergies among major carbon offset suppliers and standards in the voluntary carbon marketplace – motivated partly by opportunities in the compliance landscape.
The Gold Standard, historically focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency, has acquired the CarbonFix standard and signed an MOU with the Forest Stewardship Council in order to support its expansion into land use and forestry. In a market that otherwise continues to proliferate new standards for project certification, the Gold Standard's move represents the first effort of its kind to begin consolidating demand and expertise under one brand. An Ecosystem Marketplace article dives into the Gold Standard's move to diversify, how it reflects the CDM's shift toward land use based projects in developing countries – and corresponding demand for a landscape approach that encompasses multiple project types.
Ecosystem Marketplace also provides coverage on ERA Carbon Offsets' impending acquisition of Offsetters and Carbon Credit Corporation, as the three Canadian project developers look to consolidate their expertise and supply offsets for the emerging Western Climate Initiative program. In preparation for California's cap-and-trade scheme, Finite Carbon registered an improved forest management (IFM) project under the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) in Maine, reportedly the nation's first compliance-grade IFM project located outside California.
As other early movers seek a place in California's market (details on the Nov 14 auction now available here), California regulators are defending the scheme's design against industry protests and continuing to discuss whether to approve additional offset project types in order to deal with the projected undersupply of credits. Potential project types on the table include fertilizer management, avoided deforestation, coal mine methane capture, and rice management.
On the Mississippi River delta, the American Carbon Registry (ACR) approved the world's first methodology for deltaic wetland restoration. Ecosystem Marketplace covers the methodology and pilot project with commentary from Sarah Mack of Tierra Resources, an environmental consulting firm based in New Orleans that developed the methodology. On the east coast, researchers at Duke University shine light on the economic impacts of losing coastal-marine ecosystems, otherwise known as blue carbon. Ecosystem Marketplace covers it here.
Zooming out, the Carbon Disclosure Project recently released its 2012 Global 500 Climate Change Report, ranking corporate disclosure and performance on emissions reductions. The report says that while some companies are active on climate change, few are setting sufficient targets or making the investments required to ensure their long-term resilience – largely reflecting regulatory uncertainty and the lack of a strong long-term price signal. Against the grain, a new report from the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency forecasts that by 2013, 33 countries and (sub-)regions (e.g. California) will have some level of carbon tax or emissions trading scheme.
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