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Interview: ClearSky Climate Solutions 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?

ClearSky Climate Solutions: We at ClearSky Climate
Solutions are of the opinion that the US will support both voluntary and regulatory
markets simultaneously for some time to come. 

While there are very
encouraging signs that both of the presumptive presidential candidates have
expressed support for a compliance market for Greenhouse Gases, it is clear
that any significant legislation will have challenges clearing the Senate as it
is currently composed. That said, current regional, state and city initiatives in
conjunction with better climate change education and outreach have combined to
generate enough public awareness that climate change legislation is
consistently presented and will eventually pass.  Even if a voluntary
market were quickly created in the US, it is almost certain not to capture vast
sections of the greater economy.  A cap-and-trade system will most likely
not apply to individual consumers, small businesses or businesses that generate
indirect emissions.  That leaves the voluntary market a sizeable population.

If the voluntary market is
going to continue to expand it needs to become a market where buyers have
confidence that the credits they purchase are indeed what they claim to
be.  We believe that the proliferation of certification standards for the voluntary
market, while a bit unwieldy at the moment, is a positive step.  With a
little more maturity, the voluntary market will converge upon a couple of certification
standards and the products brought to market will become more
standardized.  It is of vital importance to retain consumer confidence, with
well-developed standards, transparency and an open governance processes.  The
potential for the voluntary market is larger than the regulatory market, but
the relative price volatility may limit initial investments.  That said,
if the voluntary and/or regulatory markets are going to help the environment as
we believe is possible, there is a rapid need for significant expansion.
Currently, the sum of all greenhouse gas markets is not enough to stabilize
atmospheric chemistry. 

While, businesses and individuals are interested in continuing to support
carbon credit projects that offer additional environmental and social benefits it
is vitally important to catalyze a process to change lifestyles.  To
promote activities that reduce our carbon emissions and encourage us to consume
less.  Whether this is done through economic incentives such as carbon
taxes, or stimulated through educational campaigns or pop culture, these should
be in the forefront of our efforts as a nation.

Keegan Eisenstadt
ClearSky Climate Solutions

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