This Week in Voluntary Carbon:
Spring and CO2 are in the Air

Spring is the season of love – and what better way to say "I love you" than with low-carbon nuptials?  The British Royals did it, and so has the Gold Standard with its “Carbon for Water” program and the Santiago Carbon Exchange in its new partnership with the Verified Carbon Standard. You’ll find all the details in this week’s V-Carbon News.

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.

13 May 2011 |
Everyone knows that spring is the season of love – and what better way to say “I love you” than with low-carbon nuptials?   As you may have already heard (unless you live under a rock), the world’s favorite royal couple were wed last week in an over the top – and remarkably  sustainable  – ceremony.  


Although the event reportedly generated more than  ten times the emissions  that Buckingham Palace produces in a whole year, some effort was made to keep things green – not only was renewable energy used to partially power the event, but the remaining emissions will reportedly be  offset!  


But the royals aren’t the only ones coupling up – the last month has seen the announcement of several unions, with VCS and Fundacií³n Chile joining forces to  launch a VCS office down south  and the  EU seeking to link up  with emerging carbon markets.  


And from many emerging relationships, new carbon reduction strategies are being born – including two new methodologies from the  VCS, the Gold Standard-certified  “Carbon for Water” program  and two newly-released  CAR protocols open for public comment.  


But it’s not all rosy – like with any relationship, there’s sometimes trouble in paradise. RGGI has seen its fair share of relationship woes of late, with the State of  New Hampshire narrowly avoiding a repeal of the program  and  Republican lawmakers in Delaware now calling for an end to their participation in the cap-and-trade scheme.  


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V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Carbon Conservation sale no miner deal

A press release recently announced the sale of a 50% stake in Australian forest carbon project developer Carbon Conservation to a Canadian mining firm – including the sales and marketing rights to the carbon credits. As part of the deal, Toronto-based East Asia Minerals reportedly paid $500,000 and issued 2.5 million shares to Carbon Conservation – which had signed on to help generate credits from the 700,000 ha Ulu Masen REDD project in the Indonesian province of Aceh. But Makmur Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Aceh administration, thinks Carbon Conservation’s contract may be short-lived. “We may even cancel the contract if we find that they’ve abused the agreement [by selling the rights to a mining firm],” said Ibrahim. According to East Asia Minerals, the investment will fund a green mining project in the region.  

   – Read more from Mongabay
   – Read more from the Jakarta Globe


VCS program migrates South

The VCS announced this week the opening of its first global satellite office in Santiago, Chile – a partnership with Fundacií³n Chile that will promote the uptake of VCS and support project developers throughout Spanish-speaking South America. Fundacií³n Chile – a recognized public private organization – recently joined forces with Chilean brokerage Celfin to launch the Santiago Climate Exchange, on which VCUs will be accepted for trade. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, under which an Advisory Committee will be convened to guide the development of the office and its initiatives. “With this relationship Chilean and South American project developers, especially those in the forestry, agriculture, energy and construction sectors, will have better conditions for developing their projects at all scales,” said Aldo Cerda, Commercial and Corporate Director of Fundacií³n Chile.

   – Read the press release


Ven in Rome…

In landmark deal, American Carbon Registry (ACR) offsets have become the first to be traded using virtual currency on the social networking site Hub Culture – which lists thousands of products that can only be bought using the innovative tender of its own creation: the Ven. The credits were sold and retired as part of Nike’s Mata no Peito initiative, a revolving fund that offers seed money generated by the sale of industrial gas credits to forestry-based carbon projects in Brazil. “This is a real gap in the market,” says Mary Grady, Director of Business Development for ACR.  “You’ve got companies trying to get forest carbon projects off the ground, but they need a few hundred thousand to do all of the things they need to get started… This is a way to provide that sort of seed funding, which will then stimulate projects in Brazil.”

   – Read more from the ACR
   – Read the Ecosystem Marketplace article


ClimateCare Vetergaard-ing access to clean water

Beginning late last month, nearly one million LifeStraw Family water filters – reducing emissions by as much as 2.5 MtCO2e per year – are being freely distributed in western Kenya under Vestergaard Frandsen’s Gold Standard-certified Carbon for Water program. Offsets generated by the project – which prevents the burning of charcoal and non-renewable fuels to boil water – will be sold to J.P. Morgan ClimateCare, which Executive Director and Head of Global Sales Edward Hanrahan says “got all of the offtake from the Vestergaard project.” According to Hanrahan, “this project is the product of a lot of work being done around how to value and measure benefits other than the pure carbon price – particularly project services like poverty alleviation and public health.”

   – Read more from Bloomberg
   – Read the press release


It’s a Blue (Carbon) World without you

Blue World Carbon (BWC) is staking their claim in the fast-growing Southeast Asian carbon markets with the opening of their new Singapore-based regional headquarters. Having recently taken on the Caspervandertak (CVDT) Southeast Asia team, BWC expects a fast start and rapid expansion – with a focus on CDM projects and Programmes of Activities (PoAs) in the renewables, energy efficiency and methane avoidance sectors. Headquartered in Belgium with offices in Russia, Ukraine, South Africa and now Singapore, BWC plans to further expand its reach in Southeast Asia’s CDM and JI markets. BWC – together with carbon development company Climate Change Global Services (CCGS) – is majority owned by the Russian-Dutch private equity firm 4RCap.

   – Read more from


Maori-ing into landed wealth

Maori landowners in the Southland region of New Zealand are putting carbon finance to the test in an effort to protect their indigenous forests. The Rowallan Alton Incorporation – run by a collection of SILNA forestry owners – is collaborating with Carbon Partnership, the Office of the Maori Trustee, Landcare Research and Sinclair Knight Merz to assess whether a forest carbon project can compete with timber harvesting. As NZ’s domestic market only includes forests established after 1990, the group is targeting buyers on the international voluntary market. Carbon Partnership Principal Sean Weaver admits that selling on the voluntary market is “not a gold rush,” but would allow landowners to market a non-timber product. “Even if it can’t compete dollar for dollar … conservation can start to pay for itself,” said Weaver.  

   – Read more from the Southland Times
   – Read more from Carbon Partnership


Credits off the rails

Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon Limited (RMGL) is developing India’s first private rapid metro rail system in the city of Gurgaon – and cal-cutting carbon en route. According to RMGL, the five-kilometer stretch of rail will generate carbon credits by reducing vehicular CO2 emissions in the region by an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 tons. The company has proposed spending two percent of the revenue generated through the sale of the credits on infrastructure development in the city, such as the construction of footbridges and cycle paths, and also plans to plant eight saplings for each tree cut during construction at two nearby government schools.

   – Read more from the Times of India


Jet emissions all washed up

Just in case the aviation industry didn’t have enough  incentive  to reduce emissions, the VCS has come up with a new way to cut high-flying carbon. Its most recently approved methodology, developed by Pratt & Whitney, aims to incentivize the washing of contaminated engines – increasing propulsive efficiency – to curb fuel use and generate emission reductions. According to the VCS, although jet engines are periodically scheduled for off-wing overhauling and maintenance, less than five percent of are actually washed while on the wings of aircraft. “This is a simple yet powerful way to reduce the fuel consumption of aircraft, which we know are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions,” said VCS CEO David Antonioli.

   – Read more about the methodology
   – Read the press release


Your standard information overload

Can’t see the forest for the trees? It’s understandable, considering the slew of forest carbon standards out there these days. Because investors and buyers are seeking a combination of GHG mitigation, conservation, and social benefits, project developers often have to combine a number of standards to attract those investors and buyers, which is costly and time consuming. Thankfully, a recent study investigates the effectiveness and auditing rigor of ten third-party certification standards being utilized to verify forest carbon projects. The authors conclude that VCS while is comprehensive in assessing GHG mitigation benefits of REDD projects, no one standard is yet comprehensive enough in assessing social and environmental benefits.

   – Read the Carbon Positive article


Let’s talk it out

Everyone knows that communication is key in any relationship – and in protocol development for that matter. That’s why the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) is seeking input on its newly released version 4.0 of the US Landfill Project Protocol and version 2.0 of the Organic Waste Digestion – both open for public comment through June 3. Proposed changes to both the protocols are summarized  here, and have been tracked in the draft protocols available on their respective webpages.  The Reserve will also hold two public webinars to discuss the proposed changes on May 19 (Organic Waste Digestion Project Protocol) and May 20 (Landfill Project Protocol).  

   – Read more from CAR


Climate North America

Breaking up is hard to do


RGGI’s relationship with certain northeastern states remains on the rocks – but can they work it out? Last week a New Hampshire Senate committee opposed a bill that would pull the state out of the 10-state program, and yesterday the full state Senate voted to reform – rather than repeal – the program. Under the amended bill, the state would replace an emission reduction fund with an energy efficiency fund and increase energy-efficiency rebates. Furthermore, it would allow the state to withdraw from RGGI if another state with at least 10 percent of the total electricity production under the initiative exits the program.

Lawmakers in Delaware are also opposing the program, calling on a House committee to release a bill ending the state’s participation in the initiative –scheduled to be discussed in the House Energy Committee  on Wednesday. Meanwhile, in California, the battle over cap-and-trade continues, with plaintiffs offering the court a touch choice: hold off on the scheduled cap-and-trade scheme, or put a halt to all measures related to AB 32.  


   – Read more from Reuters
   – Read more from Bloomberg
   – Read more from Forbes


British Columbians, start your engines…

… well, cut them actually. But get ready to move ahead with carbon trading, which BC’s environment minister has confirmed will begin on schedule in January 2012. Although doubt has recently been cast on the government’s commitment to cap-and-trade under new Premier Christy Clark, the province is sticking with its Western Climate Initiative (WCI) partners. “As a new government we obviously want to look at where we’re going moving forward,” Environment Minister Terry Lake told the Tyee. “We’ve got to build a strong relationship with California. They’re moving forward. We are working with them.” Federally, however, the recent victory of the Conservative Party is considered likely to keep carbon trading off the national agenda for the next four years.  

   – Read more from the Tyee


BC offset debate flares up

BC’s Pacific Carbon Trust recently announced the purchase of 84,000 tonnes of carbon offsets from natural gas developer Encana Corporation – generated by cutting emission from an energy development project  by a whopping 85 percent. The project improves the drilling process by using natural gas – that can be conserved through on-site recovery – as a lubricant instead of nitrogen, eliminating the need for flaring. “As B.C. puts a clear price on carbon, Encana has implemented an innovative technology that can help B.C. as it works towards becoming a global leader in environmentally responsible energy extraction,” said Pacific Carbon Trust CEO Scott MacDonald. But critics are wary of the deal, which will see a transfer of money from public bodies – including school boards – to a private gas company.  

   – Read more from the Vancouver Sun
   – Read more from the Tyee
   – Read the press release


Kyoto & Beyond

Take the money and run

That’s the attitude EU regulated emitters seem to be taking as Europe prepares to ban offsets generated by projects that destroy industrial by-product gases HFC-23 and N2O – by rushing to unload the contentious credits. According to Point Carbon, factories and power utilities handed in a record 137 million metric tons of UN offsets for the 2010 year – an increase of 68 percent over 2009 levels. Senior Analyst Stig Schjolset believes the increase was likely due to the impending May 2013 ban. “As these credits will hold zero value as compliance instruments during phase three of the EU ETS (2013-2020), many operators have probably already opted to surrender a higher amount of such credits in 2010 than would otherwise have been the case,” said Schjolset.

   – Read more from Environmental Leader
   – Read more from Bloomberg


A cause for CDM celebration

A wind farm in the Inner Mongolia region of China has become the site of the 3,000th Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project – a major milestone for the UN-backed carbon offsetting scheme. From its humble beginnings in late 2004 with the first registered CDM project in Brazil, the mechanism has succeeded in attracting private sector investment to carbon abatement and mitigation projects around the world – but has also faced continued criticism over its favoring of large industrial clean-tech projects over small-scale renewable energy projects. But projects continue to seek CDM validation, with 2,600 in various stages of the vetting process and a 17 percent increase in projects beginning validation in the first three months of 2011 compared to the first quarter in 2010.

   – Read the BusinessGreen article


EU seeking eligible ETS

With potential carbon markets emerging all over the world – including in China, Australia, and South Korea – the EU is looking to hook up. EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard has recently been globe-trotting in order to meet with government officials in those countries in an effort to coordinate the markets. “We are working closely with everyone who tries to introduce these kind of schemes,” Hedegaard told Reuters. “Our counterparts recognize that all the experience Europe has gained for good and for worse, what to do, but also what not to do … can be used so that others can move to the right solutions.” South Korea aims to have an emissions trading scheme running between 2013 and 2015, with Australia and China following similar timelines.  

   – Read the Trade Arabia article


Global Policy Update

Climate deal or no deal?

No deal, according to two leading climate envoys. Following a meeting of the Major Economies Forum, neither US climate negotiator Todd Stern nor European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard expressed much hope in achieving a legally binding climate deal in Durban. “There is just this feeling that it’s simply not doable for Durban,” Hedegaard told reporters. Stern echoed these sentiments, casting doubt on whether the US would support any successor to the Kyoto Protocol. “I think that there are different views about the sort of degree of necessity or not of a legally binding agreement. Our view in the US is that it is not a necessary thing to happen right away,” he said.

   – Read more from Reuters
   – Read more from BusinessGreen


Carbon Match-making

Although it sounds like a good name for a low-carbon dating site, Carbon Match recently launched something much more exciting for the Kiwi carbon market: an online spot trading platform for carbon instruments under the New Zealand Emissions Trading scheme (NZ ETS). The NZ market has faced many challenges to date – including weak price signaling and supply uncertainty – that it’s hoped the exchange will help to alleviate. Carbon Match believes that its new platform will improve transparency, squeeze brokerage margins and increase trade volumes. The launch of the trading platform is welcome news to regulated companies, as it is expected to lead to lower transaction costs for trades and increased price discovery.  

   – Read the BusinessGreen article


Carbon Finance

A bonding experience

In the first of two reports examining the role of the private sector in halting deforestation, the United Nations Environment Programme Financial Initiative (UNEP FI) found many barriers to the forest carbon market – but was careful to highlight its potential.  Although at this stage the role of the private sector remains uncertain, Abyd Karmali – Managing Director and Global Head of Carbon Markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) – believes it’s all about the right product. “If you can come up with projects that can attract capital, examples would be rainforest bonds where returns would go to investors in the form of monetised ecosystem services – that would be a pretty successful product,” he said. In fact, the bank is structuring the transaction of just such a “rainforest bond” – the first of its kind – which has reportedly been in the works since last year.  

   – Read the Climate Action article


Green Power Play: Renewable Energy

No love lost for renewables…

… at least that’s the attitude of the UK-based think tank Policy Exchange. The group is urging British policy makers to abandon costly renewable energy targets. Britain has pursued ambitious – and expensive – offshore wind projects as part of its renewable energy portfolio. But authors of the report say that “energy efficiency, nuclear and carbon-capture and storage” could provide more cost-effective ways to reach targets, going so far as to say that “The UK’s commitment to meeting the EU’s renewable energy target is actually damaging the goal of global carbon reduction.” Meanwhile, the Committee on Climate Change has called for an increase in the construction of nuclear energy facilities and a decrease in offshore wind farm projects, which it sees as too expensive in the short to medium-term.

   – Read more from Bloomberg
   – Read more from Bloomberg


Just Energy’s investments justified

… you can’t argue with US$40 million! Natural gas and electricity retailer Just Energy announced this week that its investments in green projects in Canada and the US now total US$40 million – making it one of North America’s largest green energy providers. The company offers JustGreen™Power and JustGreen™Natural Gas products to consumers who want to select “green energy options” to offset their energy consumption. By purchasing renewable energy credits and carbon offsets on behalf of its customers, Just Energy offsets their average electricity and/or natural gas use. The company uses the EcoLogo certification and has its green purchases audited by Grant Thornton LLP. According to the press release, its programs have helped customers offset emissions equivalent to taking 69,300 passenger vehicles off the road for a year.

   – Read the press release


Featured Jobs

Climate Action Reserve – Multiple Openings

There are multiple openings available with the Climate Action Reserve.  

   – Read more about the positions here


Manager REDD+ Readiness, Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) is seeking a  Manager, REDD+ Readiness for the Global Change and Ecosystem Services team in the Science + Knowledge division.  

   – Read more about the position here


Intern – Carbon Disclosure Project

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) seeks an Intern, Investor CDP, to work closely with the Senior Manager in their London office.  

   – Read more about the position here


Blue World Carbon – Multiple Openings

Blue World Carbon is expanding its presence across its main client markets and is currently seeking best-in-class professionals for its offices in Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.  

   – Read more about the positions here


REDD Forestry Sector Leader, DNV

DNV seeks a  REDD Forestry Sector Leader to provide technical expertise, project delivery/management and forestry business development/sales in the Americas region.

   – Read more about the position here


Gold Standard Foundation – Multiple Openings

The Gold Standard Foundation has multiple openings available in its Geneva office.

   – Read more about the positions here


Sustainability & Climate Change Senior Associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers

PricewaterhouseCoopers seeks a  Sustainability & Climate Change Senior Associate for their office in San Jose, California.  

   – Read more about the position here


World Resources Institute – Multiple Openings

The World Resources Institute (WRI) has multiple openings in its Washington, DC office.  

   – Read more about the positions here


Carbon Advantage Program Manager, Earth Advantage Institute
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