Some good carbon reading

For those readers interested in the carbon markets and where they are heading, here’s some useful reading below.

The articles are from the non-profit news/analysis service Daily Climate, which produces what must be the most comprehensive daily newsletter on climate matters.

Here’s the headline for each, with some relevant quotes that might pique your interest.

Making a market for pollution

“Worldwide, emissions trading was a $144 billion market in 2009, according to the World Bank, and 2010 figures to be even higher. Regional markets are spreading, notably on the West and East coasts of the United States”

Selling the blue sky

“In the end, the only thing that matters is whether any carbon market actually reduces emissions of greenhouse gases. The answer so far: Not yet. The European emissions trading scheme, the largest in the world, “has reduced emissions by just 2 percent compared to the projected levels without ETS,” according to a 2010 report from the U.S. Climate Task Force.”

Carbon trade or carbon con?

“Outright fraud has plagued emissions markets, whether it’s Anne Sholtz building a Ponzi scheme out of smog allowances in Los Angeles or European cheats charging extra for carbon allowances under the guise of collecting a tax and then disappearing with the proceeds. So far only voluntary commitments and a code of ethics drawn up by the Energy Brokers Association keep players honest – though the new financial reform regulations may change that.”

Overall the pieces show a mixed outlook for commercial carbon. It seems that despite the lack of political action, regional initiatives will continue to take hold. The lack of technical qualifications in some auditors is clearly a concern, but one imagines this will improve over time, as will monitoring. Despite the challenges, the carbon markets seem set to grow, just not quite in the way many would like them to.

Here’s some further relevant useful reading from Ethical Corporation and others:

Climate change: The future of carbon offsetting

Clean Technology Briefing Part 1: Overview – Can cleantech save the world?

Innovative technology to harvest reliable wind power has the potential to really take off (free PDF of recent EC article on wind tech)

How the REDD+ Partnership unravelled in Tianjin

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