Carbon Offsets Daily

Daily carbon offset news, insight, community.

Europe’s Carbon Sink Under Threat

Reuters reports that according to a study carried out by the Finnish Environment Institute, the increased forest logging in Europe could
completely wipe out its carbon sink. Carbon sinks refer to natural
systems such as trees, soil, plants that absorb CO2 from the
atmosphere. Since carbon sinks help offset carbon emissions, they can
be used by countries to meet their emission targets under the Kyoto
Protocol

The study states that the carbon sequestration capacity of European forests has
increased by seventy per cent since the 1950s. However, the European Union’s
bioenergy production targets call for increased logging which in turn
will significantly reduce or even wipe out its carbon sink. Moreover, the capacity of new trees to store carbon has gone down considerably to about 40 tonnes per hectare, in comparision to old forests that can store 100 to 240 tonnes of carbon per hectare. As such, the efficacy of the carbon sink will preserved only if the logging rate is far lower than the growth rate.

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Interview: myclimate on the Voluntary Carbon Market

Carbon Offsets Daily: When do you think the domestic voluntary carbon market will become a
compliance market and how will that change affect the environment?

myclimate: We at myclimate don’t think that the voluntary market will become a
compliance market. Maybe, in the future, some emissions that can now be
offset on a voluntary basis, will be regulated under a compliance system
in some countries. However, there will still be other, maybe new,
sources of emissions that are still being offset voluntarily. We
believe that the voluntary market will remain a market for high-quality
projects and is able to set standards when it comes to project quality.

www.myclimate.org

 



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Australia Faces Rising Energy Costs Due to Emissions Plan

As Australia begins to implement its new emissions trading plan, prices of electric and gas will rise drastically in the country. The Australian government is expected to have a $1.6 billion federal payout to families in order to help offset the rising energy costs.

A CISRO report has been issued by the Climate Institute states that families may see a rise in ten or more dollars per week for energy costs. The report estimates yearly payments of $185 would offset the rising costs for most families.

Experts say that the payment plan should be affordable; especially since the carbon trading system is expected to bring in $18 to $21 billion. Those hardest hit by the rising costs will be the elderly, poor and working families of Australia. The Australian government had issued the action on carbon emission reduction in a combined effort with Indonesia.

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Profile: AtmosClear

AtmosClear helps individuals and families reduce their carbon footprint by providing them with the opportunity to purchase VERs. They also work with companies and other organizations to devise methods for reducing their emissions. These include – identifying economical solutions for emission reduction, developing  internal and external emission reduction strategies, automated purchases of VERs etc. In addition, they provide a  platform  for sellers of VERs to offer their products/services to individuals or companies.

Website
URL

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Canada Contemplates Carbon-Tax

Stephane Dion – Canada’s Liberal Party Leader, has proposed a new Green Shift carbon-tax plan with a view  to curb Canada’s greenhouse gas
emissions (read the Green Shift Handbbok here). The plan recommends a revenue neutral carbon tax, that is,
the revenue generated through imposing taxes on fossil fuels will be
returned to the taxpayers via tax cuts and tax breaks. The carbon-tax will raise $15.4 billion a year. However, the Prime
Minister Stephen Harper is vehemently opposed to the plan as it would
"screw everybody".

The PM might have his reasons for slamming one
initiative after another,
but we are waiting for him to come up with a
potent solution of his own to reduce Canada’s carbon footprint, which
continues to be one of the biggest in the world.

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Papua New Guinea Rainforests are Disappearing

Despite protection, forests in Papua New Guinea are being eradicated. Reports are estimating decimation of nearly half of the forests that are logger-accessible in as little as 13 years.

Papua New Guinea is the site of many pristine rainforests, and despite warnings, these pristine forests are disappearing at an alarming rate; about 15% of the Paupa New Guinea rainforest have been cut over the last 30 years. An additional 9% has been damaged or eroded over the same time period.

The reasons for the disappearance of the pristine forests is both legal and illegal clear cutting, agriculture and burning. Papua New Guinea governments have claimed that they want to be paid to conserve the pristine rainforests, but havent made any real improvements in securing the safety of the forests. Critics of the plan to support the preservation of the rainforests in Papua New Guinea claim the government allows multinational logging companies to come in and cut the forests, leaving only inaccessible forests that would have been preserved because of their location.

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Turkey to Ratify Kyoto Protocol

After previously rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, Turkey has now agreed to sign the U.N. led document, and begin the process of reducing their carbon emissions to the baseline levels. The Turkish government claims that the potential costs of making these changes were the underlying cause of the previous rejection.

Turkey has already reduced its carbon emissions by five million tons, and is actively involved in thirty projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the voluntary carbon market. Although Turkey’s initial greenhouse gas emissions were low compared to other EU-25 countries, it has begun a large number of developments that may increase emissions dramatically.

Even though Turkey signed the Kyoto Protocol earlier this month, there is to be a three month waiting period before the countrys membership is approved by the U.N. With an impending International conference in Poland, the Turkish government is hoping for a speedy approval in order to attend the conference. The Turkish Parliment is ready to ratify the Protocol, after they recieve approval from the U.N.

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New Carbon Calculator for Flights

The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization has introduced a new carbon calculator on their website that allows anyone who is taking a flight to calculate the carbon footprint that they will leave due to their flight.

The plan is to use the calculator as a guide for buying carbon offsets that are equal to your carbon footprint. Your carbon footprint is generated from information about from where and to where you are going, whether your ticket is economy class or premium class and how many people are going with you on your trip.

The UNICAO believes this information will be useful to those who are interested in buying carbon offsets to reduce their carbon footprint. For instance, buying economy seats results in half as much carbon emissions than a premium seat. The UNICAO says that the tool is

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World Business Leaders Push for International Carbon Market

The World Economic Forum today presented to the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, recommendations on how to deal with climate change post 2012 – that is after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol. The proposal titled "CEO Climate Policy Recommendations to G8 Leaders", has been endorsed by as many as 99 international business groups including Alcoa Inc., Royal Dutch Shell Plc among others.

The recommendations seek to initiate action on part of world leaders to combat global warming through stipulating emission targets for all countries and setting up an international carbon market. To quote from the report, "We urge governments to seek consensus on a long-term goal of at least halving global emissions against current levels by 2050."

The proposal couldn’t have come at a better time since Japan is all set to host the G8 summit next month, where environmental concerns will be discussed at length.

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Europe Fails to Meet Greenhouse Emission Targets

The European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) –
the world’s largest greenhouse gas market was established in 2005. The
objective of the ETS – a cap-and-trade system, was to help its members
rein in their greenhouse emissions as per the Kyoto Protocol. However,
the International Herald Tribune reports that according to the European
Environment Agency, carbon emissions of participant industries have gone
up. More specifically, emissions rose by 0.4 per cent between 2005 and 2006 and again by 0.7 per cent in the 2006-2007 period.

Europe’s failure to
meet its targets can be attributed to the fact that the reforms weren’t
tough enough. Initially, too many trading permits were handed out that threw the market in disarray. In addition, the carbon market is not impervious to political/industrial influences that tend to steer it off-course. David Victor of Stanford University says "The central
lesson from Europe is that governments must find ways of
managing the allowances that clearly are going to be one of the most
valuable pieces of public property in the 21st century."

The United States is likely to see the emergence of a carbon market in
the near future, since both the presidential candidates – Obama and
McCain are in favor of a market based scheme. Hopefully, US will be
able to draw valuable lessons from EU’s experience and set up a carbon
market, backed by a stringent framework of regulations that will pave the way for a
greener future.

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Oregon Governor Proposes Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski has introduced a new proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in his state, including the requirement that new buildings would have zero emissions by the year 2030. Other components of the proposal include initiating an

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Interview: Bonneville Environmental Foundation on the Voluntary Carbon Market

Carbon Offsets Daily : When do you think the domestic voluntary carbon market will become a compliance market and how will that change affect the environment?

Bonneville Environmental Foundation:  If carbon regulatory systems are properly designed, there should be viable markets driven by both compliance and voluntary demand for carbon emission reductions.  One cannot substitute for the other.

This is a critical policy issue that is often overlooked by policy advocates in discussing carbon regulation.  It is very important that any regulatory program protect the ability of individuals and companies to make choices about where their energy comes from, independent of government regulation.

The precise time when these compliance markets will emerge depends largely on geography.  The Northeast states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) are moving fastest, with a cap-and-trade program for the electric utility sector taking effect in 2009.  (California, and perhaps other western states, will follow with carbon regulatory systems taking shape over the next four years.)

Importantly, the RGGI model rule provides an allowance set-aside for voluntary renewable energy purchases. A majority of RGGI states have adopted this provision, helping to protect the freedom of energy choice that the voluntary renewable energy market provides.

However, the current federal cap-and-trade proposals do not offer these protections, jeopardizing the ability for individuals and companies to choose renewable energy as a core solution to global climate change. This oversight in the federal proposals can be easily resolved with the addition of provisions to ensure that our choices for renewable energy continue to drive down global warming pollution.

Bill Eddie
Director, Green Tags Procurement
Bonneville Environmental Foundation
http://www.b-e-f.org/
www.GreenTagsUSA.org

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EU Carbon Prices Rise in Tandem with Oil Prices

Sky rocketing oil prices coupled with a shortage in the supply of
international carbon credits, has given a boost to the EU’s Emissions
Trading Scheme
(ETS). The cost of carbon credits has increased by as
much as forty per cent over the last 4 months. The  ETS helps its
members meet their emission targets as stipulated by
the UN’s Kyoto Protocol. The soaring gas prices have compelled power
generators to switch to coal – which is cheaper than oil, but also
generates more carbon emissions. As a result, more and more producers
are turning to ETS to purchase carbon credits so as to meet their
emission targets. European Union Allowances (EUAs) are expected sell at an
average price of

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Indonesia and Australia Work Together to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Indonesia and Australia are working together in an attempt to slow climate change in their perspective regions. Their agreement is to

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Interview: Eco-Libris on the Voluntary Carbon Market

Carbon Offsets Daily : When do you think the domestic voluntary carbon
market will become a compliance market and how will that change affect the
environment?

Eco-Libris :
Hopefully, the voluntary market will become a compliance market after
the presidential elections, but it is very hard to tell. It is clear
that all candidates understand the need for a change in the US climate
change policy. The extent of the impact this might have will depend on
how smart the system will be, and to what extent the lessons from the
creation of the European market will be learned. To begin with, I
believe that for such market to succeed, we can’t give emission permits
for free. We also need to tighten our control and monitoring systems.
All in all I believe that although carbon trading is an important part
of the solution, reducing our carbon emission by consuming less and
using measures such as carbon taxes should be first on our "to do" list.

Eylon Israely
Eco-Libris
http://www.ecolibris.net/
http://ecolibris.blogspot.com/
"Plant a Tree for Every Book you Read"

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A Few Steps Towards Carbon Footprint Reduction

(1) Honda has started production of its hydrogen fuel-cell car – FCX Clarity. Touted to be twice as energy efficient as gas-electric hybrids, the Clarity will generate only water vapour as exhaust -no CO2 or other pollutants. Though Honda is expected to deliver only 200 units over the next three years, the step is likely to be a prelude to future mass-production of the vehicle.

(2) Vespa Canada is going on a green drive as well. For every unit sold, Vespa will purchase carbon offsets from Carbon Reduction Fund to neutralize three years worth of greenhouse emissions.

(3) New Zealand will ban sales of traditional light bulbs starting October 2009, to be replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs. The traditional bulb uses extremely dated technology – only 5 per cent of the energy it uses generates light. The parliament is also contemplating an emissions trading scheme as part of its part to make the country carbon neutral.

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Algae:The Big Idea for the Future of Energy

As fuel prices soar, and carbon emissions reach hazardous levels, many people are searching for a new, Earth-friendly source of energy . Algae is now being considered a viable source for the next generation of biofuels. Algae, like other sources of biofuels, grows using carbon dioxide, but has been shown to have more energy per acre than other biofuel sources, such as corn or soybeans. This means that fewer resources are needed to make enough biofuel to replace fossil fuels.

Compared to soybeans, algae production would take less than one-fifth the total land and water resources to make enough biofuel to reduce or eliminate the need for fossil fuels used for transportation. Additionally, an acre of algae can produce 5,000 gallons of biofuel, compared to only 70 gallons produced by soybeans.

Algae is also a good way to reduce carbon emission from coal plants. Carbon dioxide rich emissions from coal production could be used as food for the fast-growing algae, effectively recycling the carbon emissions.

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Profile: Carbonfund.org

Carbonfund.org
is a non-profit organization that goes by the motto

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China Passes U.S. as #1 Polluter

As reported by The Daily Green, "China Alone Increased Worldwide CO2 Pollution 2% Last Year," and has overtaken the U.S. as the top contributer of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Read the article here.

China is also the #1 supplier of carbon credits with a 73% market share, and they show no sign of slowing down. Good news on paper, yet last year alone, Shanghai
fell short of its goal of 4% improvement in energy efficiency, and two of the
major environmental indicators were pointing in the wrong direction. Read our post on it here.

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Stern to Unveil Carbon Rating System

Lord Stern

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Climate Talks Show Little Progress

In an attempt to improve the Kyoto Protocol, leaders from nations around the world met in Bonn to reformulate a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new plans would be signed in 2009, and take effect in 2012, after the Kyoto Protocol expires.

The U.S. rejected the Kyoto Protocol, and is hesitant to sign any new environmental treaties, unlike many developing nations. Of the 172 countries that participated in the talk in Bonn, only a few were fully prepared with suggestions to revise the Kyoto and fund developing nations.

The climate talks have been called "feeble"; very little progress was made in the ten days of meeting. Eight more climate talks are scheduled for the 172 countries involved in the revisions, and members of the UNFCCC are hoping for

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Postal Industry to Reduce its Carbon Footprint

The International Postal Corporation (IPC) recently unveiled an environmental measurement and monitoring system to help the postal
industry measure and reduce its carbon footprint. The new measurement standard was
introduced at IPC’s annual conference in France. The objective is to
provide the postal services with a carbon measurement and management
system that conforms to the requirements of international standards
such as Greenhouse Gas Protocol, DJSI, FTSE4Good etc. The system will
assess the performance of various postal operators in 10 carbon
management proficiency categories and in important efficiency
indicators.

The Chief Executive of IPC Herbert-Michael Zapf said "The IPC Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System provides our
members with a way of measuring and benchmarking their initiatives and
optimizing their effectiveness.  It can be used by all postal
operators, regardless of size or what stage they are at in their
environmental programs."

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Toshiba Announces Carbon Reduction Plan

Japan’s largest supplier of reactors, Toshiba, plans to double its cuts in carbon emissions by the year 2025. Using 2000 as a base year, Toshiba is aiming for a 117.7 million ton reduction in carbon emissions and are planning to do it by pushing nuclear energy and energy-efficient light bulbs.

As we mentioned, Japan is planning a cap-and-trade program to be implemented by the end of the year. Japan’s goal is to cut the countries greenhouse gas emissions by sixty to eighty percent by the year 2050. In an effort to promote Japan as an environmentally aware country, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced $1.2 billion to an international fund for the reduction of greenhouse gases. Fukuda has called the new plans to reduce emissions the

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Brookings University Studies Carbon Footprint

Brookings University recently studied carbon emissions in 100 American cities to determine their carbon footprint. The study focused on car and residential emissions, and did not include industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, researchers at Brookings used an earlier research on industrial greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with their report on residential greenhouse emissions to reach their total.

The top cities, Honolulu and Los Angeles, had less that two tons of greenhouse gas emissions per person per year, and the worst cities emit two and a half times as much.

Researchers have found that those who live in large cities leave a smaller carbon footprint than others because of mass transit options and higher prices for utilities like water and electricity.

The Brookings report calls for a reform in federal funding, including funding for mass transit and tax liability for buying large, energy wasting homes. The report also recommends federally funded research for renewable energy sources and research into energy and development.

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The 4 Most Dangerous Ways Your Carbon Offset Program Will Be Judged And What You Can Do To Protect Your Brand

So you want to add a carbon offset program to your company? Maybe youre thinking its time to go green and become carbon neutral? Great idea. Whether youre an airline, hotel chain, car rental company, or ski area, (there are dozens of brands doing it see the list here) adding a carbon offset program to your companys offerings is a great way to quickly and inexpensively build a green halo around your brand. You can create your own carbon offset program or partner with a carbon offset retailer and be up and running in no time.

But how can you do it so when you launch the public respects you and the press doesnt eat you alive? Here are the 4 most dangerous ways your carbon offset program will be judged and what you can do to protect your brand:

1.    It isnt a genuine effort, its PR greenwashing!

The most damaging criticism of carbon offsets is that it companies use it as a license to pollute. No matter how incorrect this perception may be, in order to protect your brand you need a carbon neutral strategy that includes carbon offsets as one ingredient of a larger plan. Your focus should be on reaching sustainability or becoming carbon neutral through long-term carbon emission reduction strategies first and then using carbon offsets to address immediate goals that are not attainable through other means. Messaging should illustrate this multi-prong approach so customers and brand advocates view your company as taking real steps (which you will be) towards mitigating your environmental impact.

2.    Your carbon offsets are fake

The carbon market is under constant attack to prove the legitimacy of carbon offsets and carbon credit projects. There are now many standards that exist in the market place and developing a methodology for the selection of carbon offsets your company invests in is critical. From projects certified to the Kyoto Protocol to voluntary standards, each standard has its merits, but even the supposed highest international standards are criticized. Thus, the most infallible approach is to have a diverse portfolio with a range of projects that adhere to international standards in the compliance markets. However, many of these projects only exist outside the United States so if your company serves customers living in the U.S. it is also wise to include some domestic projects (because some customers will want to keep the money onshore, regardless of the projects perceived legitimacy by the global market). Once you have a diverse portfolio, let the customers choose what projects to fund based on how they want to address climate change, thus dispersing the ability for attacks on specific projects that you choose. CarbonFund.org, TerraPass.com, Sustainable Travel International, ShipGreen already offer customization based on project type and this is surely soon to become a standard across the industry.

3.    You use junk science

If there is no attempt made at an accurate carbon emissions calculation the media can have a field day exploiting your program. Using a flat rate (like a percentage) or an average is not only lazy but it is also risky. The message you are communicating is that your company does not believe it is worth the time to find and use the (often free) tools to give your customers the most accurate and correct data. Since you are either charging them money or using it as a PR vehicle (while also cleaning up your impact on climate change) it really should be done right.

There is a wealth of carbon emission calculations put out by the private companies, non-profit organizations, government and other pubic services. Typically, your company will partner up with a carbon offset retailer that will have already done the heavy lifting, has their own carbon calculator, and has figured out the best numbers on the street for calculating carbon emissions. Make sure that you can site a reputable party that has developed the science behind the carbon emissions calculations

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