From Tullett Brown to Carvier
A London-affiliated group of companies that jumped from landbanking to carbon credit scams was shut down following an Insolvency Service investigation. Tullett Brown Ltd marketed carbon credits through cold calls, pocketing £1.6 million after telling customers their carbon credits were backed by the UN and ‘virtually guaranteed’ to show a profit of at least 50%. Earnings were shared with sister companies Tamar (London) Ltd, Johnnystone Ltd and Brad Baker Ltd. A past target of Tullett Brown has set their sights on another firm called Carvier, which the author of a Financial Mail article points out has the same London address as Tullett Brown, and a similar phone number. Behind Carvier is Barinua Nwikpo, who was part owner of Tullett Brown and the sole director of Tamar.
– Read press release from The Insolvency Service
– Read more from Mirror.co.uk
– Read more from Financial Mail
Dutch fish bites at Climex
An undisclosed Dutch company will buy 50,000 issued Gold Standard VERs to offset its carbon footprint through a reversed auction on the Climex platform, scheduled for September 19 starting at 1:30 CET. Sellers of Gold Standard VERs are invited to express their interest to participate and submit project information to Climex until September 7. The company is seeking to buy credits from wind or biomass/biogas projects for vintage years 2009-2011 at a maximum price of €7 – nearly twice the price of regulated units, according to Point Carbon.
– Read Climex press release
SCS outfits their toolbox
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has expanded the scope of its carbon offset verification services beyond forest carbon, in response to demand created by the launch of California’s cap-and-trade program. The company is now accredited to verify landfill gas offsets under the Climate Action Reserve protocol and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). SCS is also pursuing accreditation to verify projects that destroy ozone depleting substances (ODS) and livestock methane, eventually to offer verification around the California Air Resources Board’s Compliance Offset Program.
– Read more
SAA eyes carbon for biofuel
State owned enterprise South African Airways (SAA) is exploring the potential for a voluntary carbon offset project to support the development of forestry – and in turn biofuels – in the Southern African region. Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said that in order for SAA to avoid future penalties under EU ETS aviation emissions rules, it would require that biofuels constitute half of its fuel supply by 2020. SAA has convened a supply chain and technical working group and expects an initial strategy on meeting aviation biofuel requirements to be released in the third quarter of this year.
– Read more
A new era on Denman Island
ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd, through its subsidiary ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc (ERA), announced last week that the Denman Island Avoided Conversion of Forestlands Project received CCBA validation as of June 27. Through a public-private partnership, the Province of British Columbia, private land owner North Denman Lands Inc, and ERA are protecting 750 ha on Denman Island from future subdivision into residential and agricultural property. Environmental Services Inc provided third party validation of the project design document. The project is the third CCBA-validated project in Canada and just one of ten such projects in North America.
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BluForest Inc, a self-described carbon offsets marketing firm, announced that it has acquired 30,000 ha of native forest in Esmaraldas, Ecuador. It claims that the lands, appraised at about $180 million in value, will bring BluForest’s total land holdings to 135,000 ha. Earlier this year, junior mining company Greenwood Gold Resources Inc. changed its name to BluForest to “expand into land acquisitions that will result in the opportunity to trade and sell carbon offset credits in world markets.” Before the switch, Greenwood Gold appointed a new strategic management team that includes Charles Miller as CEO – who is currently also pursuing hotel development in Ecuador under the company Oceanview Real Estate – and James Donihee, former COO of the Canadian National Energy Board.
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Bird’s-eye survey of GS projects
With the summer holidays in full swing, the Gold Standard (GS) recently published a new article reviewing the efforts being made by major airlines and travel companies in offsetting carbon emissions using GS credits. Leisure travel company TUI Travel has invested in several renewable energy projects – including the GS certified Zengamina hydro scheme in Zambia – that are scheduled to deliver 483,000 tCO2e reductions by mid 2013. Another project transacted by myclimate is underway to deliver 52,000 efficient cookstoves to rural households in western Kenya, which will in turn help preserve the Kakamegu rainforest.
– Read more
VCS switches on ethanol methodology
VCS has approved a new methodology to quantify and credit greenhouse gas emission reductions from projects that substitute gasoline with ethanol in commercial fleets of flex-fuel vehicles. The methodology was developed by Keyassociados and Ecofrotas. Projects may apply the methodology if E100 ethanol substitutes at least 95% of the gasoline consumed by an existing fleet of commercial flex-fuel vehicles. The methodology was assessed by DNV and First Environment.
– Read more
Manage your nitrogen with CAR
The Climate Action Reserve (CAR) recently adopted its Nitrogen Management Project Protocol, which allows farmers to generate carbon offsets by following agricultural management practices that reduce the application of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer to corn crops in the Midwestern US. While earned offsets can be used in the voluntary carbon market at this time, California state officials have shown interest in incorporating agriculture protocols, including those that encourage improved nitrogen management practices – like CAR’s new protocol – into its cap-and-trade program.
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Competition for carbon for water
In a recent FastCompany feature piece by Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen of the eponymous firm, the CEO describes the “humanitarian entrepreneurship” business model that paved his company’s path to the Carbon for Water Project. The project, which – you guessed it – develops and sells carbon credits to finance the delivery of the Lifestraw water purification device, grew out of a family history of crafting work wear for workers that evolved into providing blankets and tents for displaced refugees, and then into humanitarian entrepreneurship in the public health space. Now, Mikkel invites other companies to pursue similar means to better social ends. Keep an eye on Ecosystem Marketplace in coming weeks as we cover the LifeStraw project and similarly innovative projects at the intersection of CO2 and public health.
– Read more
Reduce & Retire: The Latest on Carbon Neutral
More than serendipity
Starting this month, German parcel delivery firm DPD introduces Total Zero – pledging carbon neutrality for all shipments from the UK, France, Germany, Benelux, and Switzerland – at no extra charge to customers. DPD’s parent company GeoPost will offset an initial 550,000 tCO2e through projects chosen in partnership with French offset partner CDC Climat, including a biodigester project in Cambodia run by the Development Organization of Cambodia and the Cambodia Ministry of Agriculture (GS), Forestry and Fisheries; reforestation and habitat restoration with Asorpar in Colombia (VCS/CCB), and a biomass energy project in France led by Coop de France (JI-UNFCCC).
– Read about France project
– Read about Cambodia project
– Read about Colombia project
Kudos in Costa Rica
As Costa Rica works toward its goal of developing a carbon market for major industries and becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021, nine businesses – Bridgestone, Intel Costa Rica, Travel Excellence, Florida Bebidas, Florex, Holcim Costa Rica, Geocycle, Cooperativa de Productores de Leche Dos Pinos RL, and Plycem – received recognition for measuring and reducing their carbon emissions at the Second Environmental Congress held by the Environment Ministry (MINAET) and the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries. MINAET’s William Alpízar said efforts by the companies represent a reduction of about 700,000 tCO2e in Costa Rica since 2010. Costa Rica’s C-Neutral program to engage such corporates in carbon offsetting was one of 13 efforts worldwide profiled in Ecosystem Marketplace’s report Bringing it Home: Taking Stock of Government Engagement with the Voluntary Carbon Market.
– Read more from Tico Times
– Read Ecosystem Marketplace report
NCOS falls into favor with printers
Australia’s Vega Press and Focus Press announced carbon neutrality today, both certified under the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). Rob Nugent at Vega Press said the move would help the firm tender for government work and make it a more appealing print partner for the polluters required to pay Australia’s new carbon tax. Mat Eldred at Mystique, another Australian carbon neutral printer, said, “A point of difference like NCOS will never give you exclusive rights over a client; it still comes down to service, quality and price… But it’s a great story to tell and great to know that you are making decisions to reduce the impact your business operations have on the environment.”
– Read more
In BC we Trust, or don’t we?
CEO Scott MacDonald recently wrote to stakeholders that the Pacific Carbon Trust has acquired over 1.5 MtCO2e in offsets on behalf of the BC government since its carbon neutral policy has been in effect, retiring 775,988 tCO2e in 2011. The BC auditor-general is now examining whether the BC government has truly achieved its claims for 2010 and 2011, including a focus on whether the offsets it bought were “credible.” Trust money is only supposed to be awarded for projects that wouldn’t be viable without the help of the extra cash injection. The Vancouver Sun recently reported that 22 of 25 projects were already underway when given incentives by the trust to cut emissions, though this point alone does not prove that projects were non-additional. The audit will also determine whether the province is taking enough action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and whether it is properly evaluating its efforts and reporting them.
– Read more
Carbon’s weekend off at the Breakers
For the first time, leadership conference convener Leadership Florida went carbon neutral for its Annual Meeting – albeit with a bit of whimsy – at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida from June 28 to July 1. Carbon emissions associated with the four-day event were offset through JustGreen, a Just Energy program. Carbon credits donated by Just Energy originate locally from the JB Hunt Intermodal Transportation Project in Florida, which is transitioning JB Hunt’s trucking-only shipping model to a combined use of rail and trucking to move freight.
– Read more
Climate North America
A stalled descent on the WCI, pneumatics drawbridge
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) was expected to decide two weeks ago on a link with Quebec that would allow companies to use carbon offsets and permits issued by the province to meet California’s greenhouse gas emissions targets. However, California lawmakers passed a bill that may stall plans for a link of the state’s cap-and-trade system with Quebec. The measure, approved as part of the legislature’s $95.1 billion budget package, requires the ARB to win the governor’s approval before linking cap-and-trade systems with other jurisdictions. Ecosystem Marketplace sources say that this decision did not stop California regulators from considering Quebec in its decision to potentially shelve the high bleed pneumatic controllers protocol that was under consideration for the state’s offsets program – purportedly because of the province’s objections to the type and because the emissions sector will come under California regulation mid-decade.
– Read more
CFTC gets (Dodd-) Frank about environmental commodities
Yesterday, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued rules related to its implementation and enforcement of the Dodd-Frank Act governing financial regulatory reform. Specifically, the rules confirm that environmental commodities (including carbon offsets, allowances and RECs) are non-financial commodities and so do not qualify for inclusion within the agency’s statutory swap definition – which would have potentially set them up for intensive regulation and fines. Additional rules and information are summarized in this brief by McGuireWoods LLP.
– Read more
Moving past the atom
Last week, the EPA confirmed its plans to restrict new greenhouse gas emissions rules to America’s largest power plants and industrial facilities that emit over 100,000 tCO2e, stressing a “common-sense, phased-in approach.” This confirmation comes just after the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled that the EPA’s decision to set limits on industrial and auto greenhouse gas emissions was legitimate. In response to criticism from select business groups and states that the regulations will cripple economic growth, the EPA argues that any additional compliance costs will be more than compensated by environmental and health savings, as well as energy-efficiency improvements at facilities covered by the rules.
– Read more from JD Supra
– Read more from BusinessGreen
– Read more from Bloomberg
Kyoto & Beyond
EU ETS on the operating table
The European Commission approved the allocation of just over 233 million free EU ETS allowances for phase 3 of the scheme to power installations in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania, previously having okayed the allocation of nearly 35 million free allowances to Cyprus, Estonia and Lithuania. In June, EU carbon permits reportedly approached their highest point in over three months, buoyed by prospects of regulatory intervention. Exactly what magnitude of intervention is still under question, however. While 13 of Europe’s biggest firms urged the EU to remove 1.4 billion carbon permits from the EU ETS in support of higher prices, Poland voiced opposition to price support measures, stating that it is not the ETS’s role to specify a carbon price and that higher prices would exacerbate the region’s economic crisis.
A CER-ious case of ERPAs
The World Bank’s carbon-finance unit boosted the value of its funds’ emission reduction purchase agreements (ERPAs) by 9.4% last year, even as prices plunged by over two-thirds. The sustained value despite price drops may owe partially to the fact that the contracted valuation and price are fixed at the time of ERPA signing. The Bank declined requests by Trading Emissions Plc – a UK-listed fund that invests in CERs – to renegotiate ERPAs between the Bank’s climate funds and emerging-nation suppliers, which leaves the firm no option but to buy offsets through 2014 at a fixed price of €4.12 – about 53% above market levels.
– Read more
Global Policy Update
On July 1, Australia’s biggest polluters began paying A$23/tCO2e ($23) emitted – over twice the cost of carbon pollution in the EU. Reception has been polarized. On the one hand, Westpac’s Geoff Rousel called for Australia to board the global trend of carbon pricing, and almost 300 businesses signed a joint statement backing the carbon price. On the other hand, Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott signed a pledge to rescind the carbon tax if he wins the next election – claiming the world is running away from emissions trading. Economics professor Ross Garnaut voiced concern that the policy discussion is “being treated as a football game” at the expense of serious discussion. David Hone at The Energy Collective challenges claims that Australia is undercutting its competitiveness by pricing above the “prevailing global price” of carbon. Meanwhile, a series of investigations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reveal that companies should take care regarding any carbon policy-related price hikes, to which the ACCC has been paying special attention in recent weeks.
NZ holds the door open for Europe
A day after Australia kicked off its carbon tax, New Zealand’s government said it would continue allowing carbon emitters to offset just half of their emissions until at least 2015, in order to avoid putting NZ firms under more financial stress. The government will also allow unrestricted use of cheaper, international carbon credits in the NZ ETS through 2015 and cap the price at NZ$25/tCO2 ($20.09). Agricultural emissions would be excluded from the NZ ETS until at least 2015. While this will enable the ag sector to avoid paying to offset livestock emissions, some believe it will limit the overall environmental impact of the ETS.
– Read more from Reuters
– Read more from The National Business Review
– Read more from NZ Forest Owners’ Association
The straw that broke the camel’s back
For dromedaries across Australia, life may be taking a dystopian turn. Following last year’s discussions over a proposal by project developer Northwest Carbon, Australia’s Federal Government is considering to allow carbon crediting based on culling camels – high methane emitters that are also considered an invasive species – as part of its Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund. Leonard Cohen of Greening Australia, an organization that is helping indigenous communities in South Australia take on carbon farming projects, says killing camels for carbon credits would provide incentive for people to rehabilitate their land.
– Read about last year’s discussions
– Read about new developments
PCA’s precarious but back on the table
Tim Yeo, chair of the British Parliament’s energy and climate change committee, recently called for the launch of a pilot personal carbon allowance (PCA) trading scheme. Yeo volunteered his own constituency and said the pilot could be funded by the private sector – and possibly the EU – without taxpayer money. Tina Fawcett from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute estimated the pilot would cost around €620,000 ($760,926). Fawcett defended PCAs as a politically neutral attempt to address climate change, even if vulnerable constituencies would need special consideration. Disinterest among policy-makers, however, continues to pose an obstacle to the idea’s development.
– Read more