Despite the slow pace of summer, there is no shortage of happenings on the voluntary carbon front this week – with experts and stakeholders across the globe weighing in on new developments. California is again in spotlight, with the release of the public comment’s about AB 32. Read on for v-carbon highlights from around the world.
NOTE: This article has been reprinted from Ecosystem Marketplace’s Voluntary Carbon newsletter. You can receive this summary of global news and views from the world of voluntary carbon automatically in your inbox by clicking here.
25 August 2011 | Despite the slow pace of summer, there is no shortage of happenings on the voluntary carbon front this week – with experts and stakeholders across the globe weighing in on new developments.
In California, the Air Resources Board (ARB) received a whopping 109 comment letters during the public comment period for the AB 32 Scoping Plan Functional Equivalent Document (FEV), which concluded on July 28.
These public comments – responses to which can be found here – were released on Monday. Many addressed the issue of a carbon tax, which some respondents consider a better option than the cap-and-trade scheme. The second hottest topic was the program’s forestry offset protocols – with at least one respondent pointing out that the regulation does not address REDD+.
One issue that continues to draw fire in California is ARB’s buyer liability provision, recently described in a statement by IETA as inefficient, unfair and uninsurable. “Any policy under which already-issued offset credits carry a risk of invalidation will prevent the development of a market in offsets,” commented the organization.
Much like temporary and long-term Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), liability for replacing invalidated credits rests with the buyer rather than the party at fault.
In a recent blog post, the CarbonNeutral Company’s Jem Porcaro laments, “for the sake of Californian businesses, rate payers, offset project developers and the rest of the carbon market, I sincerely hope CARB learns from Europe’s past mistakes and finally does away with its buyer liability provision.”
The AB 32 Scoping Plan and Final Supplement are being discussed at a Board meeting scheduled today – so stay tuned for updates.
Things are heating up down under as well, where on Monday the Parliament endorsed the Carbon Farming Initiative. Although the move is expected to boost market activity, the real momentum is yet to come.
“There is increased interest in the CFI from across market and the first wave of investment activity will start to unfold now the Act has been passed,” Martijn Wilder, global team leader for environmental markets at law firm Baker & McKenzie in Sydney, told Reuters. “But the really significant activity under the CFI will come with the approval of carbon pricing laws.”
Australian Carbon Traders, which owns and manages the Australian Farm Abatement Registry (AFAR), welcomed the news. “Whilst a long time coming, it is exciting that landholders can now move forward with certainty to access international and domestic carbon markets,” the company said in a statement.
Manager Ben Keogh told Ecosystem Marketplace that the move will most definitely lead to an increase in activity. “There are a whole range of projects ready and waiting,” he said. “Now we have legislation and importantly support for the package from the opposition, who said they will not repeal it but will try and improve it, developers and landholders can move ahead with confidence. There is no doubt this will be a great benefit to the environment and to many farmers.”
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