Carbon Offsets Daily

Daily carbon offset news, insight, community.

Dozen States Slam EPA for Not Regulating Oil Refinery Emissions

The frequency with which the Environmental Protection Agency is sued would lead one to believe that the agency spends more time grappling with lawsuits than saving the environment. Just last week the EPA was sued for curbing the states’ power to enforce more stringent monitoring of the emission levels (not to mention the slew of court cases before that). And now it finds itself on the receiving end of yet another lawsuit.

Dozen States Slam EPA for Not Regulating Oil Refinery Emissions

Twelve states spearheaded by Andrew Cuomo, the NY Attorney General have taken EPA to the court for flouting the Clean Air Act by not not stipulating standards to regulate the emissions of oil refineries.

Cuomo said:

“The EPA’s refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush Administration’s do-nothing policy on global warming..”

The fact that oil refineries emit a significant amount of greenhouse gases underlines the importance of setting CO2-slashing regulations. Let’s hope the court recognizes that and compels EPA to take corrective action.

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Discount-Eligible Carbon Points to Be Given on Purchase of Energy-Efficient Products

While you must have seen companies that are making good cash from CDM and offset sales, the South Koreans have moved one step forward to encompass the ordinary public in the quest for a cleaner future.

Discount-Eligible Carbon Points on Energy-Efficient Products

October 2008 will probably be the month that will bring with itself the nations

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CCX Begins Trading RGGI Carbon Allowances

Last week the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) began trading of emission permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Inititative (RGGI). The RGGI consists of 10 member states and is the first cap-and-trade system in the US that makes it compulsory for power plants to either adhere to the stipulated emission levels or purchase more permits.

CCX Begins Trading RGGI Carbon Allowances

The system is being touted as one that will pave the way for a more comprehensive carbon trading scheme in the future – since both the presidential candidates are in favor of a federal carbon market. However, as of now the scheme has set caps that are higher than the emission levels of the region and as such will not bring about any serious co2 cutbacks. The EU made the same mistake in its first phase, when it doled out more permits than were needed and as a result prices of EU permits crashed in 2006.

RGGI permit prices are currently hovering around $5– a fraction of the cost of EU permits. At this level, it will be cheaper for power generators to offset their emissions through purchase of permits, instead of taking much-needed steps such as switching to natural gas or using CCS technology.

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Carbon Market News August 23

Energy Consultancy Reports Commercial Clean-Coal Unexpected Till 2020

The Chinese and Aussies are trying hard to make coal-fired power plants a relatively better choice in terms of their environmental impact, but it seems their efforts wont get enough fruits in the near future. In a recently released report, Australian energy consultancy ACIL Tasman claims the dream of commercial clean-coal technology would remain a dream until at least 2020.

Clean Coal Unexpected Till 2020

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Human Rights Activists, Environmentalists Condemn Talks to Include Forests in Carbon Trading

Human rights organizations are struggling against developing nations to stop the new carbon trading proposal that encompasses tropical forests in it. Delegates of 100+ countries are set to gather in Ghana to discuss if forests should be a part of the growing international carbon market. If this gets approved, the developing world would be able to acquire carbon credits from not cutting trees. Demolition of these trees results in a 20% increase in the overall CO2 levels per year. The move is expected to boost prices of forest land which is of concern to activists.

Tropical Forests in Carbon Trading

Human rights groups say if forests become part of carbon trading, this would result in a land grab and would negatively affect millions of inhabitants. Friends of the Earth and the Rainforest Foundation also condemn this step claiming that this would weaken carbon price and only the rich will get to benefit from this.

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Carbon Market News August 22

Hedge Fund Invests $500 Million in Carbon Projects

New York based Och-Ziff Capital Management is going to invest a whopping $500 million in carbon infrastructure projects. The initiative involves a partnership with Blue Source LLC – a reputed climate change portfolio of greenhouse gas emission credits along with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects. The hedge fund has also reportedly taken a ten per cent stake in Blue Source.
Hedge Fund Invests $500 Million in Carbon Projects

A major chunk of the funds will go towards the development of carbon and methane capture technologies. In particular, special emphasis will be laid on a project that Blue Source is currently working on, that is, establishing a “carbon highway” – a network of pipelines running across North America that will capture, transport and safely bury harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Investments will also be undertaken to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon and other emissions engendered by the production of power, fertilizer and natural gas, coal mining and waste water treatment.

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NWF Partners with GoGreenTube for Global Warming Solution Contest

Eco-lovers who teach, work, or are enrolled in a college/university now have a chance to show their love for the environment. So whats the best way to tackle the growing global warming situation that has shaken the earth from Arnold Schwarzenegger in California to Kevin Rudd in Australia? Thats what the academia now has to ponder upon and capture the solution in their webcams, mobiles or handycams.

GoGreenTube Chill Out Video Contest

National Wildlife Federation has joined hands with the newly-launched GoGreenTube to dig out the coolest video on global warming solution. The videos will have to be uploaded to GoGreenTube, which purchases offsets from CarbonFund for every video visitors watch. Videos can be submitted for the Chill Out Competition from the 1st of Sep to Nov. 30th.

GoGreenTubes business model shows the great potential that carbon offset providers can explore. Such steps promote the carbon industry and would attract more investments in the long run. There is a need that carbon market professionals reach out to organizations and collaborate with them, not only to promote their businesses but also to help save the environment.

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Click Away Your Carbon Emissions

The coming week will see the launch of a unique kind of search engine- the kind that offsets your co2 emissions. Based on Google’s technology, Click4Carbon is currently running in beta and will officially go live next Tuesday.

Click Away Your Carbon Emissions

Though the search engine is not a first-of-its-kind, with sites like Carbon Neutral Search and Ecocho already up and running, what sets Click4Carbon apart is that it is also an online community and will provide tips and resources such as a carbon calculator to measure and reduce one’s carbon footprint.

The company is trying to rope in public and green establishments to use the search website. John Russell, the founder of the website stated:

“They can use it as their home page, or we can give them code to embed it in their intranet or web site, allowing them to help fund carbon reduction projects when they search.”

The revenues earned through advertisements will be used to fund eco-friendly projects and to this end, Click4Carbon has partnered with the Plant a Tree Foundation.

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INTERVIEW: GreenLife on the Future of Carbon Credits

The following interview is based on a story that we recently ran about JPMorgan “Cooking up Carbon Credits” (that you can view here: JPMorgan Chase Subsidizes Stoves in Africa to Earn Carbon Credits).

GreenLife on the Future of Carbon Credits

The recent news about JPMorgan “Cooking up Carbon Credits” underscores the booming carbon market. It seems the carbon market is only going to get bigger. What do you think will happen as more capital gets into this market?

Climate change is an enormous problem, and will thus require enormous resources to solve. It is not going to be solved by NGOs and people making donations alone. It requires these kinds of large-scale investments. My hope is that the capital flowing into carbon credits will spur investments in a wide variety of climate efforts: new technologies, acceleration in the growth in renewables, innovative strategies, etc. We are already seeing an increasing level of sophistication as more businesses and financial institutions get involved. Before long, carbon markets should function much more like mature existing commodity markets. What I am hoping we see more of, too, is billions in venture capital helping to finance projects at very early stages.

JPMorgan earns carbon credits by subsidizing stoves in Africa. These carbon credits are then sold to companies at a price that is reportedly higher than the retail value of the stove. Do you think such initiatives should be predominantly revenue driven?

I believe that money will flow to where profits can be made. If JP Morgan makes a lot of money on this project then hopefully millions or billions of other dollars will start flowing into more projects. Thats good.

Do you think government intervention to subsidize carbon credits/cap credit prices will encourage more companies/individuals to offset their emissions?

I do not think government should subsidize carbon credits or cap prices directly, although I do believe government can help to spur technologies and practices through effectively targeted tax policies (including elimination of counterproductive tax breaks). In fact, I believe that emission allowances should be auctioned and not given away (which is essentially a government subsidy). Voluntary carbon credits are pretty inexpensive now. Im not sure government intervention to reduce prices will have much effect on the number of individuals or companies that choose to offset.

Steve Offutt
Business Development Director

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China: Biggest Carbon Trade Initiated, First 1M Tons Approved for Trading

PetroChina gets green signal from the UN CDM Board to trade its carbon indicators equaling a little less than 1 million tons. The credits, acquired though a nitrous oxide (N2O) CDM project by Liaoyang Petrochemical, are a part of Chinas biggest carbon deal.

China Biggest Carbon Credits Deal with CDM Project

The environmental impact of nitrous oxide is around 310 times more than that of CO2. A representative of Liaoyang said that NO2 is transformed into nitrogen and oxygen and GHG reductions would equal 12 million tons of carbon dioxide in a year, where the company has N2O emissions of more than 40K tons per annum.

Canadian NAM and Goldman Sachs are amongst the buyers of carbon credits obtained through this CDM project.

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Carbon Market News August 21

BCA Research Says Australian Emissions Scheme Would Shift Businesses, Jobs Overseas

An organization of CEOs from 100 large Australian firms has now entered the struggle for a lighter emissions scheme. The Business Council of Australia (BCA) says that the current emissions trading plans of Rudd government would force Australian firms to pack up their bags and run for another country where laws are in their favor.

Australian Emissions Scheme Shifts Businesses and Jobs Overseas

BCA actually took real-world data from 14 large firms and hypothesized the post-ETS situation in their books. A close look revealed that 3 of the firms would have to pay so large a price for carbon that they would have no other option than to shut down. Two others amongst the 14 would certainly have a pretty doubtful future.

According to the study conducted by BCA consultants Port Jackson Partners, the average firms pre-tax revenue would face a 22% reduction because of the emissions trading scheme.

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Expedia Survey: Only 35% Understand Carbon Offsets

If you are reading this post, chances are you’d be familiar with the concept of carbon offsets. If, however, you don’t really know what offsets are all about and decide to ask around – don’t be surprised if you’re advised to carefully extinguish your BBQ the next time you use it. Though exercising caution when using your BBQ is certainly recommended, it has little to do with carbon offsetting.

Only 35% Understand Carbon Offsets

Expedia UK recently conducted a survey to determine the level of awareness about offsets. Out of the 2000 people who participated, only 35 per cent knew about the concept. As many as 10 per cent thought it meant walking it to work instead of taking a car, while 1 per cent associated offsetting with properly extinguishing the BBQ.

Furthermore, the results point to the general misconception about the cost factor -10 per cent thought that offsetting a New York-London flight would cost

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Air Travel Carbon Offsets Need to be Standardized

Air travel carbon offsets are surely taking off in a big way, with an increasing number of airlines choosing to provide offset options to their customers. Critics, however, are of the opinion that the methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions as a result of one’s travel needs to be tweaked to provide standardized results.

Air Travel Carbon Offsets Need to be Standardized

To this end, the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization has developed a carbon calculator that uses “the best publicly available industry data to account for various factors”. However, according to a critic the calculator fails to address “variations”:

“If you go from Heathrow to Athens, ICAO gives 217 kilograms (kg) of CO2. That hides huge variations – fly in a full (Boeing) B767 and it’s nearer to 160 kg per person, or fly in a half-empty (Airbus) A340 and it’s more like 360 kg.”

In addition, for a given travel distance, different airline calculators provide significantly different results. Concerns are also being raised over the efficacy of offsets and that they provide a false sense of satisfaction.

It might be true that air travel carbon offsetting is a relatively new concept that is grappling with standardization issues and air travel certainly needs to be minimized. But if taking a flight is unavoidable, isn’t it better to fly with rather than without offsets?

What do you think?

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Carbon Market News August 20

Denver to Host Greener Events through Carbon Offsets

Denver became the first city to incorporate a carbon calculator along with offset options on its convention and visitors website when the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (DMCVB) launched the carbon program yesterday. The city is hoping that the offset program will encourage organizers to hold greener events by neutralizing their emissions.

Denver to Host Greener Events through Carbon Offsets

The event calculator is a comprehensive one that takes into account energy requirements associated with travel, venue usage, disposal of waste and water use. Once the carbon footprint of the event has been determined, organizers can purchase carbon offsets at this website. The proceeds will be used to undertake energy efficiency and renewable energy investments that will cut down greenhouse gas emissions.

The carbon offsets initiative has come at a good time, with the Democratic National Convention 2008 just around the corner. Apart from event planners, individual visitors looking to offset their accommodation and travel emissions will also be able to use the calculator.

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Research Reveals Pharmaceuticals Can Cut Carbon Footprint with Organic Solvent

If you work in the pharmaceutical sector in any of the countries where businesses fear the sword of some carbon tax or an emissions scheme would soon fall, then you would simply love what Jason McConville has recently discovered. McConville, a scientist from the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, found that environment-friendly solvent ethyl lactate can be used in the manufacturing and processing of pharmaceuticals to cut the carbon footprint of pharma companies.

 Ethyl Lactate Cuts Carbon Footprint of Pharmaceutical Sector

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Court Rejects Bush Administration’s Pollution Rule

A United States Appeals Court on Tuesday rejected an EPA rule that prevented states from establishing stricter emissions monitoring systems for high polluting industries such as oil refineries, chemical manufacturers and the like.

Court Rejects Bush Administration's Polluion Rule

In 1990, the Clean Air Act was modified to limit the emissions of big industrial polluters by requiring them to procure state issued pollution permits. Furthermore, states were allowed to tighten Federal monitoring requirements to ensure adherence to the set pollution levels.

In 2006, however, EPA introduced new rules that prevented states from resorting to stricter monitoring of emission levels. Since the new EPA rule made it difficult to come up with clear and transparent data pertaining to emission levels, it triggered opposition from environmental groups that culminated in a lawsuit.

The court reached its decision on Tuesday, which was in favor of the environmental groups. Keri Powell of Earthjustice, who fought the case on behalf of the greens said :

“This is a huge victory for everyone who breathes…We can’t have strong enforcement of our clean air laws unless we know what polluters are putting into the air.”

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Climate Action Registry Says Urban Forest Projects will Earn Offset Credits

California Climate Action Registry has sanctioned Americas first GHG reporting protocol (PDF) on August 12. The set of rules, named Urban Forest Project Reporting Protocol (PDF), will enable entities to earn offset credits on forestry projects in urban areas.

Urban Forests Get Offset Credits

“Trees planted in cities have a valuable role in the fight against climate change,” stated Greg McPherson of the Center for Urban Forest Research. “Urban trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and conserve energy when strategically planted to shade buildings, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions at power plants.”

It took 18 months and consultation with over 85 relevant professionals to draft this protocol, which includes eligibility guidelines, techniques for estimating emissions reductions, supervision obligations and reporting standards. Near-future plans dictate creation of the Tree Carbon Calculator that will be utilized for calculations.

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Carbon Market News August 19

Study Shows Shipping Waste to China Cuts Carbon Footprint

If you transport a thousand tonnes of plastic bottles from industries to ports by road, load them onto gigantic ships, take those ships 10,000 miles away from the UK to China, unload all the waste bottles, and move them to recycling centers, thats going to generate lots of carbon emissions. Nevertheless, a recent UK-based study shows this whole process is still environmentally friendly rather than sending the waste to landfills in the UK!

China Waste Recycling and UK Landfills

Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) mentions in the report that recycling is far better for the environment than landfilling, even if you ship waste from one end of the world to another. When used paper is taken from Britain to China for recycling, it saves around two-third emissions that would have otherwise resulted from landfilling. And when it comes to plastic bottles, savings are even greater.

In addition to all this, since most ships go empty from the UK back to China because of the imbalance of trade, they would release CO2 whether you export waste or not. WRAP estimates that every tonne of waste recycled this way results in emissions reductions of around 1300-1600 kg of CO2.

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Environmental Groups Against Including Forests in Carbon Markets

Delegations from the world over will meet on 21-27th August in Accra, Ghana for the next round of UN climate talks, with a view to chalk out ways and means to combat global warming. The talks will lay emphasis on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries or REDD.

Environmental Groups Against Including Forests in Carbon Markets

This might seem like a step in the right direction, but green groups, by voicing their opposition against REDD have highlighted the hazards of including forests in the carbon market. Campaigners have warned that unless indigenous groups are part of the climate negotiations, efforts to slow down deforestation could lead to a “land grab”.

Nikki Reisch of Rainforest Foundation UK asserts that “indigenous people that have lived in and depended on the forests are best placed to protect them”. Friends of the Earth International criticized the UN for concentrating on financial concerns when “land rights must be centre stage”.

Though cognizant of the fact that deforestation is responsible for almost 20% of the global emissions, campaigners believe that preserving forests through carbon trading will take away focus from the real culprit -our ever growing “needs” and also give the developed nations an excuse to continue emitting nasty amounts of greenhouse gases.

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Japan to Carbon-Label its Consumer Goods

Not too long ago it was announced that Sapporo, a Japanese beer company will start labeling its products with the amount of co2 emitted during the production and disposal process. Now Japan is planning to extend the practice of carbon-labeling to other consumer goods as well.

Japan to Carbon-Label its Consumer Goods

Starting April 2009, consumer goods such as beverages and detergents will carry information about the amount of carbon emissions associated with the production and delivery cycle. The exact number of goods that will be marked with the carbon footprint information is yet to be finalized.

A trade ministry official said:

“We hope that displaying carbon footprints will raise awareness among consumers as well as companies of their emissions and motivate them to emit less C02,”

Other countries that have adopted the system of carbon-labeling products include Britain and France.

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