It’s been a busy week for voluntary carbon, with the Voluntary Carbon Standard issuing its first credits for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting healthy land use, and BNP Paribas inking a $50-million deal to develop projects that protect threatened rainforests and lock carbon in trees. Both of these developments are in Eastern Africa, but China also delivered a good chunk of news in this weeks V-Carbon Newsletter.
It’s been a busy week for voluntary carbon, with the Voluntary Carbon Standard issuing its first credits for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting healthy land use, and BNP Paribas inking a $50-million deal to develop projects that protect threatened rainforests and lock carbon in trees. Both of these developments are in Eastern Africa, but China also delivered a good chunk of news in this weeks V-Carbon Newsletter, reprinted below.
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24 September 2010 | Here at Ecosystem Marketplace, scanning Chinese environmental news with Google Translator has become common practice. Why? A recurring acronym in the text – VERs! The market for voluntary emissions reductions (VERs) and voluntary action generally is buzzing as government and other high-ranking officials mull the size and shape of the CO2 trading scheme it’s writing into its next 5-year plan.
From China’s expanding voluntary environmental exchanges and energy intensity scheme pilots to China-specific voluntary carbon standards – including the Panda Standard – change is afoot for Asian voluntary carbon.
Most recently, we tracked down Winrock International’s Chief Technical Officer Nicholas Martin to find out the latest on the Panda Standard’s progress. Martin, who had just returned from a Panda Standard Technical Committee workshop in Beijing, told us that project partners are hard at work on Panda’s AFOLU Standard – sectoral specifications they hope to have in hand in time for Cancun.
Why the focus on AFOLU? Martin says that AFOLU’s perceived link with development dovetails nicely with China’s desire to pair poverty alleviation and carbon emissions reductions (and Winrock’s historic capacity in those areas).
The Panda Standard isn’t the only market mechanism making news in Asia. Also noteworthy was this month’s series of MOUs between coastal opposites California and Shanghai, one of which saw the Shanghai Environment & Energy Exchange and the Pacific Carbon Exchange agree to a business relationship to facilitate China/U.S. green technology and environmental market partnerships.
Also read up on China’s “pilot carbon exchange centers” announced for five provinces and eight cities. While it seems like China is birthing an excessive number of pilots and environment exchanges, the World Wildlife Fund’s director of global climate solutions Dr. Yang Fuqiang recently said that he predicts an eventual merger of exchanges with the strongest two or so left standing.
In another recent interview, Xiong Yan, chairman of the China Beijing Equity Exchange and China Beijing Environment Exchange spoke about what he thinks are two challenges facing the Chinese voluntary market: low domestic demand and a lack of regulations and pricing mechanisms, particularly a national tracking system for voluntary activities.
An important question – and one Ecosystem Marketplace posed to attendees of its June report launch in Beijing – is “why reinvent the wheel with market infrastructure? Aren’t there enough registries and standards available for international users?”
A common response was that Chinese project proponents and market participants want mechanisms that reflect China’s national situation – its poverty alleviation objectives coupled with complex geographic disparities in market capacity. Given the nation’s size, environmental challenges and market potential, can you really blame them?
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