Thursday, September 20, 2007

China’s carbon market: a trader’s view

From ChinaDialogue:

So, what do you do?

That inevitable question.

PR; investment banking; consulting; journalism; IT: my friends’ answers usually get a pleasant smile and a nod.

My answer, “carbon trading,” rarely gets that reaction. I always wince a little before I throw it out there. Most people ask me what on earth carbon trading means. Others are horrified that I am paying Chinese companies to pollute. Once, a particularly pugnacious (and intoxicated) compatriot threw a fist at me. It’s not often that I hear, “Wow, carbon trading, that’s great.”

In a carbon market, an entity sets or is given a limit on how much greenhouse gas it can emit. If it isn’t able to meet this target in-house, it can buy emissions reduction credits from somewhere else. Carbon trading is the buying and selling of those reduction credits, known as carbon credits. Here in China, we develop emissions-reducing projects that generate carbon credits used to offset emissions elsewhere.

Most of the time, I dig myself in deeper with that follow up. Buying and selling emissions reductions? Outsourcing to China? It just doesn’t go over well. Still, I have learned that most of the upset surrounding the carbon market is based on common misconceptions that can easily be talked through....MORE

Leigh Fitzgerald is senior specialist at Arreon Carbon UK, a firm that develops carbon credits in China then trades them on the international market.

Homepage photo by sheilaz413

See the other articles in chinadialogue’s carbon trading series:

Briefing: carbon trading

Mr Wang’s chemical factory