What are Your Thoughts on Voluntary Carbon and Forest Carbon Markets?

Ecosystem Marketplace is once again surveying for voluntary carbon frontier for this year’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Carbon Markets reports. What were last year’s major trends in the carbon markets? How does your organization measure up? Take part in the world’s largest survey of voluntary carbon offset suppliers and find out!

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.

31 January 2011 | Ecosystem Marketplace is pleased to announce an open call for organizations to contribute data to the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2011 and State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011 reports.

Over the past four years, Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have produced the annual State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report – the only market-wide, freely available quantitative report on the voluntary carbon markets. In 2010, Ecosystem Marketplace published the first-ever State of the Forest Carbon Markets report, giving the first deep insights and fundamental market data for this rapidly growing and historically significant sector.  

Both of these reports were quickly adopted as benchmarks in the carbon markets and are cited throughout the year by major news outlets, private- and public-sector decision makers, and other market players and observers.  

This year, we are combining and streamlining the survey efforts for these two landmark publications to collect 2010 market data for both reports.

If your organization supplied offsets to the voluntary market in 2010, we invite you to contribute data on the nature of these transactions. If your organization has developed forest carbon projects in either voluntary or compliance markets, we also invite you to participate.  

Sharing your data can benefit your organization at several levels:


  • Exposure: Organizations that share 2010 volume data can choose to be listed in the back of the final report (with weblink) as well as Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s online directories/catalogs. Each forest project also has the opportunity to be featured with a profile on the Forest Carbon Portal’s international Project Inventory.  

  • Credibility: Following the report’s publication, data providers can elect to receive an electronic “seal of transparency” logo to display on their website or other communication materials for one year.

  • Effectiveness: Sharing your data ensures this report adequately represents the voluntary and forest carbon marketplaces, providing critical transparency and bolstering the validity and functioning of the markets in which you participate.

  • Experience: Through our survey, obtain a useful benchmark of your organization’s performance and growth in the voluntary carbon markets – and see how it measures up in the final report.

While names of eligible organizations will be (optionally) listed, all other information remains confidential. Company-specific data that is not currently publicly available (including prices and volumes) will only be reported at an aggregate, regional level or with permission. Individual names and contact information will not be published or given out to third parties without prior permission.

The survey deadline for both reports is February 14, 2011 – please complete the online form by this date. A PDF copy of the survey is available for download from the survey landing page to help you collect and prepare all relevant information before completing the survey online.

Access the surveys HERE. We appreciate your assistance and look forward to working with you.

If you have any queries about confidentiality, content, or voluntary carbon report sponsorship please contact Molly Peters-Stanley (202-298-3005). For questions regarding the forest report, including forest carbon report sponsorship, contact David Diaz (202-298-3006).
—The Editors

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

V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Tokyo toys and go home

At least that’s the game plan for Natsource, which sources say will close its Japan office following staff cuts worldwide throughout 2010 due to flailing climate consensus in the US and abroad. Sources from the carbon asset management company told Reuters that Natsource Japan will close “due to the lack of fee-generating opportunities in Japan.” One source explained that, “As a broker, we’ve concluded that it would be difficult to fetch higher profits in coming years,” following the government’s decision to back burner its proposed emissions trading scheme. Natsource spokesman Richard Rosenzweig confirmed that its London office will remain open with a five-person project origination team still on board to manage deliveries – mostly from existing contracts.

Read more from Reuters
Read more from Reuters

California cleans up odious ODS

Decades after most industrialized countries banned Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), tons of the stuff is still lurking in old refrigerators and foam insulation. Now the US state of California is using carbon markets to pay for the destruction of this environmental WMD, which can have up to 10,000 times the global-warming impact of CO2. ODS destruction projects are also one of the largest projects of any kind listed on the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), and last year pushed the small southern state of Arkansas ahead of enviro-Goliath California as the nation’s largest supplier of CAR credits. And speaking of CAR ODS, pre-existing US and Article 5 projects with start dates between February 3, 2008 and February 3, 2010 are still eligible to register with the Reserve if submitted by February 3, 2011.

Read the Ecosystem Marketplace article
For questions about the submittal process, please contact the Programs staff

VCS AFOLU: the snowball effect

It may not all be downhill from here, but last August’s announcement of the first Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) approved REDD methodology certainly set the ball rolling for others to fall out of the pipeline in quick succession. Flash forward to last week, when VCS introduced yet another approved REDD methodology, the Methodology for Avoided Mosaic Deforestation of Tropical Forests. Developed by Wildlife Works Carbon for the Rukinga project in Kenya, the methodology introduces a new approach for calculating historical deforestation. “This approval opens the door to a new approach that could be very useful for many REDD projects as it offers a credible new way to calculate the baseline rate where the historical imagery isn’t perfect,” said VCS CEO David Antonioli. The VCS has yet another agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) methodology currently posted for public consultation: VCS Methodology for Agricultural Land Management: Improved Grassland Management.

Read the Methodology for Avoided Mosaic Deforestation of Tropical Forests
Read the press release
Read the Methodology for Agricultural Land Management

CarbonFixes its sights on ICROA

Members of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) can now get their forest carbon fix, since the Alliance – a purveyor of carbon standards via its Code of Best Practice (“the ICROA Code”) – approved for use the CarbonFix Standard. Other ICROA standard selections include CDM/JI, CAR, the Gold Standard and VCS. In a statement to Ecosystem Marketplace, ICROA Co-Chair Edward Hanrahan commented, “ICROA has selected CarbonFix because these credits meet our strict criteria for offsets and are sourced from projects with compelling biodiversity benefits. The offset standards permitted in the ICROA Code of Best Practice are helping to define a voluntary carbon market that is stronger and more diverse than ever before.” Read about CarbonFix Secretary Pieter van Midwoud in this issue’s sidebar Practitioner Profile.

Read the Carbon Positive article

Luck o’ the voluntary carbon market

In spite of Ireland’s financial troubles, there may be a pot of (green) gold at the end of the rainbow. Ireland’s Green Party is spearheading an initiative that could see Ireland become a major center for green finance activity, supported by its own voluntary carbon market infrastructure. Proposals for the Irish Green International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), released last week, include the creation of an International Carbon Standard (ICS) for Ireland and a state-backed voluntary carbon registry known as the Dublin International Voluntary Offset Registry (Divor). The state is expected to invest €6.8 million in the initiative over three years, with an additional €1.5 million expected from the private sector. The official launch of the long-anticipated Green IFSC is expected in March according to a spokesperson from the Green IFSC Steering Group.

Read more from the Irish Times
Read more from the Irish Times

Nominate a Climate Action hero

Calling all eco-warriors: CAR is now accepting nominations for the 2011 Climate Action Champion Awards, recognizing individuals and organizations that show outstanding leadership in climate action and demonstrate commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Know someone committed to the cause? Why not recognize their efforts? Want to nominate yourself? That’s okay too! 2010 recipients included TerraPass, Nancy Ryan of the California Public Utilities Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The Reserve is accepting nominations (not limited to Reserve affiliates) from account holders until February 25, 2011.

Read more from CAR

CAR contractors doing their fieldwork

It’s back to the farm for CAR, which is plowing along with several agricultural project protocols in the works. The Reserve has now released a Request for Proposals (RFP) from contractors to assist in the development of the Cropland Management and Nutrient Management Project Protocols. Contractors will work with Reserve staff and protocol workgroups to research, draft, and resolve outstanding methodological issues pertaining to the protocols. There are two scopes of work under the RFP, and Contractors may choose to submit proposals covering one or both scopes of work by February 8, 2011.

Read more from CAR

A Friendly game of takeover

…and winner takes all by the time Carbon Friendly Solutions completes its acquisition of MicroCoal Inc. Carbon Friendly, a voluntary market project proponent with a focus on forestry and biomass projects, last week signed an Amendment Agreement to become majority shareholder in MicroCoal Inc. with 58 percent of the outstanding share capital of MicroCoal. Once the entire transaction is completed, Carbon Friendly will own 100 percent of MicroCoal. MicroCoal’s patented technology “cleans up” low-rank coal before it’s combusted, improving fuel efficiency and reducing GHG emissions – and generating a substantial volume of carbon credits in the process.

Read the press release

Projecting an air of importance

Are you racked with green guilt over the CO2 emissions caused by the operation of your projector? Well, maybe not, but if you’re a school or university perhaps you should be. Much to the relief of presenters everywhere, you can now offset the emissions generated during the entire life of your projector through Panasonic’s “Offset for Life” scheme. Working closely with ClimateCare, Panasonic has selected three Gold Standard certified projects to support with the proceeds: wind farm projects in Turkey and China, and an efficient cook stove project in Ghana. The projects are designed to both reduce GHG emissions and provide sustainable development benefits to local communities.

Read more from AV interactive
Read more from Panasonic

Crow Wing County at the top of the (trash) heap…

… which is a compliment when being on top of the pile means receiving the EPA Landfill of the Year Award for operating one of the lead methane recovery operations in the nation. The EPA recognized Crow Wing at its annual Landfill Methane Outreach Program conference held last week in Baltimore. According to the announcement, Crow Wing County was one of the first small-scale landfills in the nation to capture the gas and use it to heat its on-site buildings. The county works with TerraPass to generate carbon credits from the project, which earned Crow Wing an additional $100,000 in carbon revenues in 2009.

Read the Brainerd Dispatch article

How should I put this?

Can you take a hint? Well, that’s the idea behind the US Federal Trade Commission’s freshly updated Green Guides – which are not actually binding regulations in their own right but indicate to marketers the FTC’s definition of deceptive marketing under the FTC Act. To be sure, carbon offset buyers, sellers and marketers should pay close attention to the Guides’ treatment of offsets and carbon neutral claims. For example, marketing must disclose if emissions reductions being claimed through offsets will not be made within two years. In the case of new trees, any reductions not made within the next twenty years must also be disclosed. And of course, reductions must be additional to regulatory requirements. Be sure to read these and other precautions before you stake your carbon neutral claim.

Read more from Environmental Leader
Read the guides

Reduce & Retire: The Latest on Carbon Neutral

The biggest (low-carbon) loser

It won’t be your typical scandal-filled reality TV drama, but it promises to be entertaining. “One Tonne Life” is an experiment in which members of an average Swedish family will be challenged to drastically reduce their carbon footprints by seven metric tons in six short months – “without departing significantly from its regular lifestyle or standard of living.” It may sound tough, but they’re not in it alone – the project is sponsored by A-hus, Volvo Vattenfall and other partners who will provide the Lindell family with a climate-smart house, electric car and energy monitoring equipment to help them lead a greener lifestyle. The project aims to highlight the ways in which modern technology and energy savvy can significantly reduce emissions.

Watch the teaser
Read more from One Tonne Life

Two thumbs UPS for offsets

Shipping is pretty much synonymous with CO2 emissions, making it an increasingly tough sell to carbon conscious customers. Responding to this increasing pressure, UPS has decided to expand the availability of its carbon offsets to its WorldShip shipping system customers. Not only will more customers be able to calculate and offset the emissions associated with their shipments by supporting environmentally responsible projects, but UPS has committed to matching the offset purchases up to US$1 million. “This product was developed in response to customer demand for environmentally responsible shipping options. Now UPS carbon neutral will be accessible to the majority of our customer base” said Alan Gershenhorn, senior vice president of global sales and marketing.

Read the press release
Read more from the CarbonNeutral Company

“The Situation” fist pumps for green living

The Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino – America’s favorite muscle head – might just have to change his daily mantra from GTL (gym, tan, laundry) to GTGL (gym, tan, GREEN laundry). When he’s not at the gym, the Sitch has been busy promoting the Green Garmento 4-in-1 laundry/hamper/duffel/garment bag, designed to be an eco-friendly alternative to the 300 million pounds of plastic dry cleaning bags used every year. Not only is the bag reusable and recyclable, but the company offers free carbon offsetting for all shipments from Earth Era Energy. According to the Situation, it’s a no brainer. “There’s nothing sexy about plastic bags,” he said.

Read more from Ecorazzi
Read more from the Green Garmento

Climate North America

New Mexico: about face

It’s forward march for the state’s cap-and-trade provisions, despite Tea Party Governor Susana Martinez’s recent move to block publication of the law – without publication, the rules would not become effective. In response to a lawsuit filed by non-profit New Energy Economy, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the governor’s move to block publication of the rules was unconstitutional and ordered the publication of the rules on Wednesday. “It shows that no one is above the law,” says Mariel Nanasi, New Energy Economy’s executive director. “And as the judges said, there’s a separation of powers and everybody has their duties and that has to be respected.”

Read the Reuters article

It’s the economy, stupid

If New Hampshire lawmakers decide to repeal the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, observers say ratepayers may still supplement the regional cap-and-trade program costs – but without receiving any of the benefits. Bob Scott, NH Air Resources Director, points out that the state is part of the ISO New England power grid, meaning that prices will remain high for the entire region that includes New Hampshire. But repealing RGGI means that the state would no longer receive revenues from the program’s periodic auctions, the same revenues that are increasingly being raided to support states’ general funds. As the most recent auction revenues fell well below the state’s budget mark, New Hampshire is already considering dipping in to current RGGI funds or pulling proceeds from future auctions to balance the state budget.

Read more from Public News Service
Read more from NHBR
Read more from MPBN

CARBon capture and storage

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) made a landmark move when it approved for use in California’s cap-and-trade scheme four offset protocols born in the voluntary carbon market. Now, market observers wait with baited breath as CARB considers additional project types for inclusion. First up, carbon capture and storage? The Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Review Panel – formed last year from three state agencies – says yes, pointing to the need to evaluate every viable technology for emissions reductions. In the text of the independent panel’s #1 recommendation to the agencies was the challenge to “decide whether offset protocols for CCS projects within the State should be adopted.” Adds Mary Nichols, CARB Board Chairman, “The Review Panel findings identified important next steps including development of methods for emissions monitoring, verification and reporting.”

Read the press release
Read the report

You win some, you lose some

Obama is stacking the deck in favor of his environmental agenda, recently appointing General Electric’s chief executive, cap-and-trade advocate Jeff Immelt, chairman of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Another notable ally may be new Delaware Senator Chris Coons, a longtime supporter of energy conservation and favorite of green groups. Unfortunately, the administration is facing climate casualties as well. The departure of Obama’s top advisor on climate change, Carol Browner, was recently announced, as was climate champion Senator Joe Lieberman’s decision not to seek re-election in 2012. Meanwhile, Senator Joe Manchin – who famously took a shot at climate legislation in a 2010 ad (yes, with a gun) – will join the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has primary jurisdiction for US energy policy.

Read more from Bloomberg
Read more from the New York Times
Read more from Bloomberg

Kyoto & Beyond

Climate pirates take no prisoners…

… but they sure did take credits (about 2 million of them in fact). The suspension of spot trading on European carbon markets entered its second week yesterday after cyber attacks in Austria, the Czech Republic and Greece led to the theft of carbon permits valued at up to US$39 million. Trading, supposed to be partially reopened this week, will remain closed until national regulators receive confirmation that security systems are up to date. ICE Futures Europe will not reopen for spot carbon trading until Feb. 1, according to a note released on Wednesday. Czech registry operator OTE confirmed today that the country’s national contract registry will be offline until at least March, and published a list of serial numbers for the credits that were reported stolen.

Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace
Read more from Reuters
Read more from Platts

Disneyland might be more fun

As if things weren’t bad enough, the European Commission is facing further embarrassment after a botched statement regarding the future of a carbon offsets ban led to heavy losses. The commission announced last week that it would ban controversial industrial gas offset credits from January 1, 2013, only to rescind the statement half an hour later. A new statement was later released with the accurate date, May 2013, but the damage had already led to a 10 per cent spike in the price of CERs for 2013 delivery. “This is a significant mistake on the part of the European commission. Some traders have lost a lot of money today. If I want a Mickey Mouse market, I’ll go to Disneyland,” one angry trader told Point Carbon.

Read more from Reuters
Read more from Yahoo! News
Read more from the Guardian

No more Stalin on offset approvals

Russia has 18 new Joint Implementation (JI) projects to chekhov the waiting list, after they were recently approved in the country’s second round of tendering. The diverse selection of projects have the potential to produce 30 million tCO2 of emission reduction units (ERUs), adding to the 30 million tCO2 of credits that were permitted through the first round. Meanwhile, in neighboring Estonia, the government has approved the sale of 1.6 million Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) to Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation for an undisclosed amount. Belarus, however, is trailing the former soviet pack. The country is still awaiting Annex B status, making it eligible to register JI projects but not to issue ERUs.

Read more from Argus Media
Read more from Argus Media
Read more from Reuters

Global Policy Update

How provincial

Chinese provinces are seeking approval from the government for regional low-carbon five-year plans – even those that were not initially tapped by the National Development and Reform Commission to pilot low-carbon initiatives. PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Allan Zhang says that despite the provinces’ desire to get ahead of a national cap-and-trade program, the government is not likely to entertain their requests, perpetuating the ongoing “tug-of-war” between the central and local governments. Even so, China remains ahead of some other Asian nations – like Japan and South Korea – that are taking a step back from their domestic programs under mounting pressure from industry groups.

Read more from Reuters
Read more from Carbon Positive

No news isn’t good news for climate change


The John Lothian Environmental Markets Newsletter (EMN) recently drew attention to last year’s largely negative media coverage of climate change… or marked lack thereof. According to an article in the Daily Climate, articles in English on climate change fell 30 percent in 2010, with much of the remaining coverage focused on the failings of Copenhagen and US climate legislation. At the Environmental Markets Association meeting in Chicago last September, many fingers were pointed at the media for its poor coverage of the debate and for perpetuating a perception that science is split 50/50 on climate change. However, many reporters remained dedicated to the cause and continued to churn out stories in 2010.


Here were 2010’s five most prolific:


Andrew Revkin – New York Times

Darren Samuelsohn – Politico

Louise Gray – London Daily Telegraph

Alister Doyle – Reuters

Robin Bravender – Politico


Read the EMN
Read the Daily Climate article

Carbon Finance

Money Never Sleeps

The Michael Douglas sequel wasn’t the only Wall Street to get two thumbs up lately. A Commodity Futures Trading Commission-led panel last week issued its long-awaited report stating that carbon markets are likely to function best with input and investment from a variety of actors. The report cautions that restricting carbon market participation to compliance end-users “may not have sufficient participation, or liquidity, to facilitate efficient price discovery.” While some critics and lawmakers were concerned about the potential for abuses (eg “freewheeling derivatives trading”) in the carbon markets, the inter-agency panel tasked by the Dodd-Frank Act with exploring carbon market oversight gave Wall Street a much needed nod in the report. With sufficient oversight, of course.

Read more from the Hill
Read the press release
Read the full report

Life in the tranches

The future of the UN-backed carbon market was left in limbo last month, as several countries clashed in Cancun over the future of the Kyoto Protocol. But good news finally came for some worried stakeholders: the World Bank recently announced that tranche 2 of its Umbrella Carbon Facility (UCFT2) is now operational, with €68 million in funding available to enable CDM projects to continue selling credits when the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. “During a period of regulatory uncertainty, the (second tranche) is helping to maintain demand for post-2012 carbon credits,” said Joelle Chassard, manager of the World Bank’s carbon finance unit. Seventeen CDM projects are currently under consideration, with the potential to collectively reduce 26 MtCO2 from 2013 to 2018.

Read more from Reuters
Read more from BusinessGreen

Additional resources

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