Saturday, January 31, 2009

Turning a profit from carbon emissions

From Earth Times:
Davos, Switzerland - With the issues of climate change and the global economic crisis coming to a head simultaneously, world leaders have focused on tying the two together, and businessmen Saturday were trying to find ways to make money from a green economy. Europe's carbon credit trading program, in its second phase, is seen as being on the path to putting a price on pollution and creating a market that would allow for profit making. "Pricing and cost will force a lot of adjustment for people," said Pierre LaGrange, an alternative energy investor, but added that a trading program "could only work if it were globally accepted."He said Europe's politicians have expressed interest in setting more aggressive carbon reduction goals, if the rest of the world got on board. With the 192 countries planning to meet in December in Copenhagen, in attempt to reach a new global climate deal, engaging with developing nations will be crucial to the outcome of the process. Capping carbon emissions would force producers who exceed their permitted output amounts to buy credits from companies who have not, creating new jobs in the new market and also reducing carbon outputs by attaching a price to it. To get people trading across borders, Lars Josefsson, from the large European power producer Vattenfall, suggested treating the credits in each country - which would each likely introduce its own system - like currency exchanges, which let people with one brand of cash do business with someone with another. "This is a pragmatic way to go about globalizing cap and trade markets," he said, referring to the markets to cap or limit carbon emissions by trading them. Ultimately, LaGrange said, the caps on emissions will have to be extended to the user, and not only to the energy producer. "The place to start is behaviour change," said US Congressman Brian Baird. "The goal should be 20 per cent reduction in 20 weeks. Just walk through your daily life and see how much you can reduce.""Energy efficiency is very doable, and 50 per cent of the solution," said Nic Frances, who runs a company which focuses on reducing power consumption. "It's what we do in our homes, domestic energy efficiency.">>>MORE
Meanwhile, from the BBC, three days ago:

EU calls for global carbon market

The European Commission has called for a global carbon trading market as part of a plan to tackle climate change.

The EU is already committed to expanding its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), but now it is urging other industrialised countries to join in....MORE

And yesterday:

Recession threatens carbon trading

A crucial scheme to control greenhouse gases is under threat due to the recession.

Under the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997, since ratified by 183 countries, industrialised nations agreed to reduce their emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide (C02) which cause global warming.

Among the measures introduced was the European Carbon Trading System, whereby governments put a price on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by any company....

...Price freefall

It seemed like a market solution to global warming in Europe, but initially many of these permits were given away for nothing.

Now, as recession bites, industries like steel, cement and glass may be polluting less, but only because they're producing less.

So companies are desperately selling off the carbon credits they no longer need to bolster their faltering balance sheets

That has led to a big drop in the market value of carbon permits, and as the right to pollute becomes cheaper, there is less incentive for companies to stop polluting.

Mark Lewis, a carbon analyst at Deutschebank, told World Business News that the recession has cast a spotlight on the frailties of emissions trading...MORE