Voluntary Carbon Week in Review: Voluntary Carbon Dating

In our last issue, voluntary carbon market experts offered their opintions on the market outlook for 2011 while readers reflected on the most significant stories of 2010. Now, we’re again asking you to look into your crystal ball to determine what will be the most interesting events in 2011 – and share them with us!  And as always, we bring you the latest news from the world of voluntary carbon.

NOTE: This article has been reprinted from Ecosystem Marketplace’s V-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 January 2011 | In our last issue, voluntary carbon market experts offered their opinions on the market outlook for 2011 while readers reflected on the most significant stories of 2010. Now, we’re again asking you to look into your crystal ball to determine what will be the most interesting events in 2011 – and share them with us!

Throughout 2011, Ecosystem Marketplace will be undergoing some exciting changes, one of which will be to beef up the resources we offer to readers through our website’s events listing, MarketWatch site and other offerings. To do so, we need to know what’s going on in your corner of the market.

We’re currently seeking information (approximate dates ok) for events like, but not limited to:

  • Carbon market-related lectures, symposiums, briefings, conferences
  • Major company/project/standard/methodology milestones
  • Project/program/report launches
  • Anticipated auction dates
  • Political/policy milestones
  • Program implementation date/milestones
  • Any other date/event of interest to readers in 2011

Following a review by editors, events could be included in our Ecosystem Marketplace calendar, a static calendar resource, articles and reminders via V-Carbon news throughout the year. Submit your event(s) by email to Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program care of care of Maud Warner by January 21st, 2011.

In the mean time, keep your ear to the ground for several anticipated developments in the voluntary carbon marketplace, including the pending release of the VCS 2011 Programupdate and possible guidance from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on its treatment of Dodd-Frank act provisions related to emissions trading.

And if you – like 5,000+ other readers – value V-Carbon as a bi-weekly source for voluntary carbon headlines, analysis and job postings, help Ecosystem Marketplace (a project of 501c3 Forest Trends) keep its news briefs free. For a suggested $150 / year donation, you or your company can be listed as a V-Carbon News Sponsor (with weblink) for one year.

Reach out to inboxes worldwide and make your contribution HERE. You will receive an email from the V-Carbon team confirming your sponsorship information. —The Editors

For comments or questions, please email: [email protected]

V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Climex management change as Bloemhoff resigns

Just this morning, Climex released a statement that Sascha Bloemhoff, Managing Director of the Dutch bourse Climex for over five years, is resigning from role. Of the change, Bloemhoff states, “After more than five years with Climex, I have decided it is time for a new challenge.” Jeroen van de Kletersteeg will replace Bloemhoff as Managing Director of Climex, bringing to the operation his previous experience with Rabobank. There, he was director of a Corporate Risk and Treasury Sales Team. Before Rabobank, he worked for ABN AMRO Bank in several countries including Sweden and the United States of America. Bloemhoff will hand over Climex operations over the next two months before moving on.



3…2…1… happy carbon trading (for ACR)!

The Carbon Trade Exchange (CTX) and Winrock International’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) rang in 2011 with a commitment to work together to boost their voluntary carbon market transactions. A deal signed on New Year’s Eve will see the   ACR’s entire range of premium carbon credits traded electronically around the globe on CTX’s web-based trading platform by the end of the month. “Carbon finance is essential to stimulate wide-scale development of emissions reduction projects,” comments Mary Grady, ACR’s director of marketing. “Providing an exchange option will boost voluntary carbon market participation beyond over-the-counter trading and increase market transparency and liquidity,” she adds.

   – Read the press release


Syncing our v-carbon calendars
Throughout 2011, Ecosystem Marketplace will be expanding its resources and offerings for readers in the voluntary carbon markets. While we can’t give away all of our surprises, we are issuing an initial call for calendar items to beef up our events listing as a resource. If you have any of the following…

  • Carbon market event
  • Market-related lecture, symposium, briefing
  • Major company/project/standard/methodology milestone
  • Anticipated auction date
  • Political/policy milestone
  • Program implementation date/milestone
  • Any other date/event of interest to readers in 2011

…please respond with any relevant information about the event by January 21st, 2011, for possible inclusion in a special report and carbon markets resource page. Direct all responses to Ecosystem Marketplace’s Maud Warner.

   – Submit event(s) to Ecosystem Marketplace via email


Carbon Friendly unfriends TSX

If unfriending someone online is considered one of the greatest social offenses, delisting could be the business world equivalent. In late December, Carbon Friendly Solutions Inc. (CFS) applied to the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V) for the delisting of its common shares. The company’s 2.7 million issued and outstanding common shares are now listed for trading on the Canadian National Stock Exchange (CNSX). The board of directors thinks the move will provide CFS with more flexibility to diversify its asset base and increase shareholder value by taking advantage of the lower costs and streamlined regulations of the CNSX. It is still unclear whether CFS and the TSX-V will remain friends on Facebook.

   – Read more from TradingMarkets.com
   – Read the press release


ERA branches out with new Director of Commercialization

Project developer ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. seems to be growing as fast as the trees it plants, recently announcing the addition of Mr. Steve Baczko as ERA’s Director of Commercialization. Previously Head of North America Voluntary and New Markets for EcoSecurities, Mr. Baczko brings over ten years of management, strategic consulting and business development experience to ERA. Dr. Robert Falls, CEO, commented: “We are privileged and excited to have Steve join our company at this juncture.   As CSR and pre-compliant markets continue to develop, Steve’s strong foundations and established networks in the carbon offset space will be of great value.”

   – Read the press release


Which comes first? The “reduce” or the “offset?”

Business leaders from ClimateCare’s Edward Hanrahan to Aviva’s Zelda Bentham tackle that question in this article exploring private sector offsetting approaches. Forum for the Future’s Iain Watt advocates the order “”Avoid – Reduce – Replace,” explaining that “offsetting may play an important part but it should not be the priority of your carbon management strategy.” Paul Monaghan, head of social goals at the Co-operative, agrees but adds, “To say you should only offset once all other options have been exhausted is daft: it’s like saying waste recycling activities should be discouraged as they incite people to duck the higher imperative of waste minimisation.” Monaghan speaks from experience, as the Co-operative has offset over 400,000 tCO2 since 2000.

   – Read more from the Guardian


Growth spurt projected for forest carbon market

The forest carbon market currently seems to be stuck in its awkward teen years – a time of uncertainty, sometimes embarrassment (think Coldplay’s controversial mango trees), and a lot of room to mature. With approximately six million ha of forest lost each year due to human activity, it’s about time to grow up – and that’s just what’s in store for the market in 2011+ according to a recent report by EL Insights. The latest issue of EL Insights projects that the global forest carbon offset market will grow from US$42.0 million in 2010 to US$65.1 million in 2015. This represents not only a compound annual growth rate of 9.2 percent, but a real step towards adulthood.

   – Read the Environmental Leader article


CCC targets indigenous lands for IFM

Vancouver-based Carbon Credit Corp has used its expertise in the implementation and monetization of climate-friendly land-use practices to develop a new Improved Forest Management (IFM) methodology currently being assessed under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) double approval process. The methodology elements, titled Methodology for Improved Forest Management – Logged to Protected Forest (IFM-LtPF) on Lands Subject to Unextinguished Indigenous Rights and Title  and  Tool for the Demonstration and Assessment of Additionality in the VCS IFM Project Activities on Lands Subject to Unextinghished Indigenous Rights and Title are currently available on the VCS website for a 30-day public comment period.

   – View the methodology elements


Reduce & Retire: The Latest on Carbon Neutral

FIJI Water drowning in greenwash allegations

FIJI Water Company (FIJI) has faced criticism over its carbon-negative marketing campaign in the past, but it looks as though it’s not water under the bridge just yet. A California woman is suing FIJI in a class-action complaint over the company’s claim to be carbon-negative. The suit, filed by Newport Law Group, contends that the “forward crediting” carbon accounting method FIJI uses is discredited, and that the plaintiff   “would not have purchased FIJI water at a premium if she knew that Defendants’ current operations did not remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they release into it.” According its website, FIJI has partnered with Conservation International to guarantee the quality of its offset program and has its carbon footprint verified annually by ICF International.

   – Read more from Environmental Leader
   – Read more from Fast Company
   – Read more from GreenBiz


A carbon neutral empire

Operators of the iconic Empire State building are in a carbon neutral state of mind, recently announcing that the building would meet all of its energy needs through wind power. Supervisor Malkin Holdings has signed a two-year contract to purchase over 100 million kWh worth of renewable energy certificates (RECs)  supplied by Texas-based Green Mountain Energy Company. Although critics have questioned whether the RECs represent a true reduction in carbon emissions, Malkin Holdings president Tony Malkin thinks the deal has strong symbolic value. “There is no way to be certain that the power I paid for actually shows up at my building, but it certainly displaces other power that is not green,” he said.

   – Read more from Inhabit
   – Read more from the Guardian
   – Read more from BusinessGreen


Carbon neutral book bridges the Gulf’s ESG efforts

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to launch its first carbon neutral publication in February, a coffee-table book showcasing sustainability efforts by UAE-based companies. The book, which will be an annual publication, will contain about 20 entries from companies that have adopted environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) in their businesses. According to Lisa Durante, Managing Group Editor of GVP Media, the book will provide “a way for companies to think in terms of ESG and find inspiration from each other.” The emissions associated with the creation of the book will be offset through projects in the Gulf, says Durante, though the specific projects have not yet been identified.

   – Read the Gulf News article


Climate North America

Another day, another shot at EPA

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin isn’t the only one taking aim at carbon regulations. The GOP-heavy incoming class of US Representatives wasted no time in targeting the EPA’s GHG regulations, introducing several bills to delay, divert funding from or altogether delegitimize the EPA’s efforts. On January 2, however – the same day republicans unleashed their litany of bills – the EPA moved forward with its first round of regulations for stationary sources of GHGs. That included just yesterday winning a federal court battle to issue greenhouse gas permits in Texas – the only state that has refused to comply with its new rules. In the mean time, companies like ESPN and General Electric are spreading the word about the benefits of reducing company emissions ahead of federal mandates.

   – Read more from the Guardian
   – Read about the EPA in TX
   – Read about companies’ voluntary actions


MA’s carbon cutting New Year’s resolution

While most of us were making the same old resolutions to cut costs and calories in the New Year, the state of Massachusetts took things up a notch with an ambitious pledge to cut carbon. The 2008 Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act required the state’s 2020 GHG emissions limit to be set anywhere from 10 to 25 percent below 1990 levels by January 1, 2011. With the clock counting down, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles selected the statutory maximum. This puts Massachusetts on par with California and New Mexico, which have (ostensibly in NM’s case) pledged to cut emissions to the same science-based target of 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

   – Read the Reuters article


New Mexico board to tears

New Mexico’s newly elected governor Susana Martinez has canceled the publication of two GHG rules in the state, including one guiding the state’s GHG targets. She’s now turning her attention to rules already in place, targeting the state’s cap-and-trade measure approved in November 2010 – and the board that gave it the green light. As one of her first moves as governor, Martinez ousted all of the state’s Environmental Improvement Board members who supported action on climate change – which she felt fostered an “anti-business environment” in the state. Without support from Martinez, who received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, the outlook for NM’s participation in the Western Climate Initiative looks dim.

   – Read the Sustainable Business article
   – Read the BusinessGreen article


Obama greening the NEC

The White House has beefed up its environmental defense by hiring Nathanial Keohane, an environmental economist and ardent supporter of cap-and-trade, as the newest member of the National Economic Council. Keohane, former chief economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, will be advising President Obama on environmental and energy policy in the face of an onslaught from congressional Republicans determined to undermine the administration’s environmental agenda. Keohane’s beliefs are outlined in a 2010 video produced by the EDF and Clean Energy Works titled “The Facts of Cap and Trade,” in which he touts the benefits of such legislation and warns viewers about the perils of climate change.

   – Read more from the Daily Caller
   – Read more from the New York Times
   – Watch the EDF video


BC’s carbon tax truce?

It may be time to raise the white flag, as interest in British Columbia’s (BC) battle against climate change wanes. BC Liberal leadership candidate George Abbot has promised to use an upcoming sales tax referendum to vote on the future of the province’s carbon tax, potentially freezing it for three years. In 2008, the province became the first and only jurisdiction in North America to implement a carbon tax, but, according to Abbott, it’s lonely at the top. “I believe we should retain the carbon tax. The issue is … should we be contemplating beyond July 1 of 2012 additional incremental increases to the carbon tax when the rest of North America is not dancing with us on this important issue?” he said.

   – Read more from the Times Colonist
   – Read more from the Winnipeg Free Press


RGGI values itself

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) seems to value itself quite highly… well, higher than in 2010, anyway. It was recently announced that the minimum bid for permits sold at the first quarterly CO2 allowance auction of 2011 will be raised by 3 cents to US$1.89 @ in order to keep track with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index. The auction, scheduled for March 9, will offer approximately 42 million allowances for the current control period (2009-2011) and 2 million allowances for the future control period (2012-2014). Permits for December delivery remained unchanged on Tuesday, at US$1.92 each on the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange.

   – Read more from Bloomberg
   – Read the press release


Kyoto & Beyond

If a tree is planted in China and no is around to hear it….

…the question may be philosophical, but the environmental benefits are real. The Chinese government recently announced plans to spend US$33 billion over the next decade to protect China’s natural forests in the second phase of the Natural Forest Protection Program. The initiative began in 2000, triggered by the massive floods of 1998 that many conservationists blamed on the loss of forests and wetlands. In late December, China announced another afforestation project designed to neutralize the estimated 12,000 tCO2e generated by the five-day UN climate change conference in Tianjin. It is hoped that the project will provide revenue to local farmers while raising domestic awareness of using forest lands to combat climate change.

   – Read more from iStockAnalyst
   – Read more from China Daily


Mitsubishi “russian” to claim credits…

…but did they get there first? Russia has issued a batch of 290,000 carbon credits worth an estimated US$4 million for emission reductions generated by a Siberian Joint Implementation (JI) project between August and December 2009. The project, jointly developed by Mitsubishi, JSC Gazprom Neft and JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, is expected to deliver savings of 3.1 million tCO2e from 2009 to 2012 through the recovery and utilization of flare gas from the Yety Purovskoe oilfield. According to Mitsubishi, this represents the first time Russia has issued credits; however, an analyst from Point Carbon reported last month on the issuance of 4.2 million tonnes of JI Emissions Reduction Units (ERUs) to another Russian project.

   – Read more from BusinessGreen
   – Read the press release


Takeover in all its Green Glory

The new year heralded takeover and transition for several companies in the carbon markets, including Tricor, which has entered into a conditional agreement that could lead to a reverse takeover with Green Glory – a company in the Cayman Islands with management rights for credits derived from at least 450,000 hectares of Cambodian forests. Independent oil trader Vitol Group has also purchased the remaining stake in Carbon Resource Management (it already had 24% stake) to take full control of the company. Elsewhere, UK clean energy investor Trading Emissions – which put its private equity portfolio up for sale last November – has said it would consider selling its entire business if doing so would bring more value to shareholders than selling it in pieces.

   – Read about Tricor
   – Read about Vitol
   – Read about Trading Emissions


Global Policy Update

Carbon markets 2011: onwards and upwards

After a tumultuous year, eyes are now turned to 2011 and the future of the carbon markets. Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (NEF) estimate that global carbon markets will grow 15 percent in 2011, the most in three years, due to higher prices and increased demand for emission allowances from energy companies. Emission markets worldwide are predicted to expand to US$139 billion this year as European power producers buy up permits ahead of auctions starting in 2013. Although the carbon market’s value rose 5 percent in 2010, trading volume dropped 10 percent with the collapse of the North American Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) market. The European Union accounted for 81 percent of total trades in 2010 and is expected to dominate the carbon market through 2020.

   – Read more from Bloomberg
   – Read more from BusinessGreen
   – Read more from Reuters


Carbon credits in Taiwan on

Although Taiwan is not a Party to the Kyoto Protocol (nor a member of the UN for that matter), it is taking marked steps toward voluntarily reducing its carbon footprint. The island’s emissions are currently reported to be four times the national average, and there are fears its exports may be targeted by “carbon tariffs” and international pressure. As a result, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) announced the “Principles Governing Preliminary Implementation of Greenhouse Gas Emission Credits and Offsets,” aimed at using carbon credits to incentivize industries to reduce emissions.  “From now on, so long as companies meet these regulations, they will be given carbon credits,” says Zhou Shuwan, head of the carbon audit and trading section at the GHG Reduction Office of the EPA.

   – Read the Taiwan News article


Cap-and-trade opposition turning Japanese

At the same time that the Japanese government is committing to expand its carbon offset project portfolio overseas, it announced the postponement (or cancellation) of plans to cap and trade emissions from domestic companies – intended to go into effect in 2013. South Korea also delayed its plan, which was supposed to start in February. Japan pointed to US and Australian policies that have failed to achieve implementation because of strong opposing interests – the same kind of opposition the Japanese government claims to face. Still, the government has pledged to fund 180 feasibility studies overseas in 2011 – six times the number of studies funded in 2010 – by allocating 5.2 billion yen ($63 million) for the studies in developing countries aimed at exporting low- carbon technology.

   – Read the Sustainable Business article
   – Read the Bloomberg article


Carbon Farming Initiative creeps closer

Maybe it’s the summer heat that’s got the Australian government in hot pursuit of a carbon offset scheme that will provide economic opportunities for farmers, forest growers and landholders. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet released draft legislation and methodology guidelines for the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) on January 4. “While there is still work to be done, the government is making these early drafts available now to give stakeholders more information on how the proposals described in the consultation paper released last November would work in practice,” said Combet in a statement. The CFI is part of the Gillard government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and building resilience in farmers to prepare for climate variability.

   – Read more from the Sydney Morning Herald
   – Read more from TTKN
   – Read the draft legislation and guidelines


China plans regional regulation

China is ramping up efforts to meet its 2020 goals by imposing binding emission targets on its many regions. “Since China has a binding carbon intensity target, each region will have a sub-target and the major carbon-intensive industry sectors should have their own responsibilities,” said Su Wei, director general of the climate change department at the National Development and Reform Commission. According to Su, China is currently studying ways of introducing a domestic carbon trading platform, though “certain steps” will still have to be taken. Concerns have recently been raised over Asia’s largest economies delaying the development of a global carbon market by pursuing local or incremental steps rather than national initiatives.

   – Read more from Reuters
   – Read more from Reuters


Carbon Finance

Utilities look to CFTC for answers

As federal regulators implement the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, utilities are seeking clarification on how the implementation will affect emissions trading in the US, urging the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to stick to the law’s original intent. The CFTC has yet to determine what constitutes a “swap” under the law, which authorizes the commission to oversee swaps markets. According to Argus, it also directs the CFTC to oversee an inter-agency working group to examine ways to ensure spot and derivative carbon markets operate efficiently, securely and transparently. Seeing that this could have broad implications for carbon trading in the US, industry representatives submitting comments during the period from November to now have encouraged the CFTC to focus on ‘market oversight” as directed under Dodd-Frank, instead of a broader look at how to construct carbon markets. The CFTC has indicated it will offer greater clarity on its role and definitions this month.

   – Read more at Argus


GreenX hits record high

New York-based Green Exchange’s (GreenX) EU carbon volume rose 33 percent to a record high in December as it handled more than 14 million metric tons of futures for delivery of EU emissions permits in the years through 2013. The company recently revealed that it plans to announce the launch of a new Certified Emission Reduction (CER) product designed to respond to the European Commission’s quality restriction proposal for secondary CERs in phase 3 of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS). “We will be announcing a new product imminently that will be robust and flexible enough to stand up to any European Commission restrictions,” said GreenX managing director of product development Henrik Hasselknippe.

   – Read more from Bloomberg
   – Additional resources

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