NOTE: This article has been reprinted from Ecosystem Marketplace’s Voluntary Carbon newsletter. You can receive this summary of global news and views from the world of voluntary carbon automatically in your inbox by clicking here.
9 January 2012 | Happy New Year to you and yours as Ecosystem Marketplace rings in 2012 with this special retrospective edition of V-Carbon News.
One year ago, our
2011 dawned with optimism for the progress made around REDD+ at the UNFCCC’s 16th Conference of Parties in Cancun (reader-ranked top story in last year’s issue) and only grew when Wildlife Works’ fast-moving Kenyan REDD project flew through the verification process – bringing the first VCS REDD credits to market in February.
One year later, given that
But regardless of the source of demand signals – be they regional, international or voluntary – forests towered over the voluntary carbon marketplace. Evidence of the active forest carbon market can be seen in Ecosystem Marketplace
Beyond the canopy, California regulators hit the ground running in 2011 after voters defeated the cap-and-trade-killing Proposition 23 ballot initiative. Despite providing market players with much-desired clarity around their offset program design, though, some Air Resources Board (ARB) decisions put a damper on expected transactions – especially its
As a result, some Cali players fared better than others based on the credit types they offered, with
But as readers know, pre-compliance plays are less than half of the story in the voluntary carbon marketplace, where “purely voluntary” corporate social responsibility transactions topped the charts in our 2011 State of reports – and in this issue’s reader poll.
Significantly, too, developed country buyers weren’t the only ones making markets – Ecosystem Marketplace found several domestic markets on the rise in developing countries. In fact, readers this year ranked the launch of the
Readers cited these and other stories as the most important developments in the 2011 voluntary carbon market. What to watch in 2012? Our expert readers are keeping an eye out for news on climate smart agriculture and watching the horizon for a possible shift from “carbon plus co-benefits” to payments for non-carbon community and ecosystem services in their own right. Check out the ranking below and read some insightful predictions from a few movers, shakers – and V-Carbon News readers like you.
While you’re reading, know that you and thousands of other readers made this the best year yet for Ecosystem Marketplace and V-Carbon News readership. We look forward to again providing reliable and transparent information in the new year, thanks in part to those organizations that support our research.
Most recently, this includes
Best wishes for a lower carbon diet in 2012, from all of us here at Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace!
Reader Retrospective 2011
A reader-ranked summary of the year’s top stories impacting the voluntary carbon market
10. Climate exchange plus one: Marketplaces for trading VERs
9. Crossing the (Pacific) pond: Two stories were tied for the 9th slot in our poll, where readers couldn’t decide what was the bigger story – TerraPass’ multi-million dollar California
8. Carbon courting: Mid-year, the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA ) and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)
7. CAR gears up:
6. Carrying on with Kyoto: In an 11th hour (okay, 3AM)
5. Climbing the charts: According to our poll, one of the biggest stories was the growth of the voluntary carbon marketplace itself. In 2011, Ecosystem Marketplace’s
4. Chevy runs deep: Deep into the market for carbon offsets, that is. Readers revered the US auto maker’s
3. Crediting REDD: From the VCS methodologies that were the talk of our 2011 Special Edition came the world’s
2. Cleaning up their Energy Act: The Australian “Carbon Tax” (transitioning to a market-set price in 2015)
1. California, here we come…: …right back where the US started from as an early
Carbon Crystal Ball 2012
What voluntary carbon market movers and shakers are saying about 2012
Eduard Merger, Project Developer and Market Analyst
“Last year saw the successful approval of new REDD+ methodologies and validation of voluntary REDD+ pilot projects. This year will experience further broadening of the voluntary land use carbon sector through methodological approval and validation of climate-smart agricultural and rangeland pilot projects that will deliver multiple food security benefits, climate change mitigation and adaptation. These may provide crucial lessons informing the international climate policy to eventually establish an agricultural work programme under the framework of the UNFCCC.”
Frederik Vroom, Forest Carbon Analyst
“For the year 2012, I expect more prospective REDD+ projects, but of lower quality because of the loosely agreed guidelines on safeguards in Durban. For biomass-to-energy projects, I expect the opposite – many prospective projects will evaporate as real investments are finally placed in a lucky few. The learning curve has reached a point where investors know which projects deserve their money.”
Michael Sahm, Director of Public Relations
“We observe that more companies that want to invest in carbon projects and purchase carbon credits prefer to communicate the bigger story and benefits these projects offer rather than the ‘carbon,’ ‘carbon neutrality’ and emissions reduction aspects. Conserving biodiversity, maintaining ecosystem services, promoting local development, and alleviating poverty are the issues companies want to be associated with. Carbon is the ‘currency’ to pay for this but is not so much the sales pitch and communications headline anymore.”
Jeff Cohen & Saskia Feast
“AB 32 and the California Air Resources Board will withstand a roller coaster year of court and political challenges and emerge as a very real, respected market that will create a platform to link to regional systems in North America (WCI and perhaps RGGI) and around the world. Both compliance and voluntary markets will embrace transparent, rigorous, international ODS destruction projects.”
Jonathan Shopley, Managing Director
“[I foresee a] re-defintion of the voluntary carbon market as domestic, pre-compliance, and fragmented national initiatives redraw the boundaries and modalities of voluntary offsetting; also the battle to drive up demand and prices to ensure that capital continues to flow into high quality reduction projects – particularly in less developed nations.”
Nathan Dale, Founding Partner
“We expect to see a lot of new and innovative carbon projects enter the voluntary market in 2012, particularly those based around energy efficiency, transport and the agricultural sector. In addition to this, we may also find that some project owners choose to sidestep the traditional carbon market (aka carbon credits) and go straight to the commercial benefits of going green through their voluntary action.”
Jonathan Burnston, Environmental Markets Manager
“Expect continued growth in areas with expected compliance demand drivers, and an uptick in forestry-related carbon development – with upward pressure on pricing – across the voluntary protocol spectrum.”
Mateus Bonadiman, Partner / Director
“The market will see project implementations aiming at bi-lateral carbon markets.”
Adrian Rimmer, Chief Executive Officer
“Despite the lack of clear direction for comprehensive intergovernmental co-operation from COP17 in Durban, the development of how new market mechanisms (POAs, NAMAs, bilateral offset agreements) can work effectively is likely to continue at pace, with a major focus on MRV. Similarly, in this context of uncertainty, voluntary market buyers are seeking credits that may be eligible in future compliance schemes. The flight to quality – offsets with stringent and transparent MRV for not only carbon but also for any claimed sustainable development and other environmental benefits – will continue. This is being driven both by pressure from the NGO community, and by corporates’ own need to match their company values with credibility and transparency around the carbon projects that they support.”
Marion Santini, Communication Manager
“In a fragmented and more competitive market, only the most responsible and serious actors will remain. They will play a major role in re-shaping the carbon markets towards more fairness, ethics and transparency, in favor of the most vulnerable people, the first victims of climate change. We believe that charismatic projects with strong co-benefits will stand out, even more so as 2012 is the international year of Sustainable Energy for All.”
Shameela Ebrahim, Senior Strategist
“Corporate awareness and action to reduce carbon footprints is growing rapidly, and credible voluntary offsets will be crucial in supporting corporate efforts.”
Freddy Sharpe, Chief Executive Officer
“In Australia, the passage of cap and trade legislation is already stimulating increased demand in compliance and voluntary markets, while the Carbon Farming Initiative has unleashed huge interest in domestic land-based offset projects. 2012 will see an explosion of demand for projects that address multiple national and regional issues. In Australia, this will mean land-based carbon capture that delivers increased food security (carbon sequestration driving agricultural productivity); engagement with rural, remote and indigenous communities (carbon businesses driving employment and long-term economic benefits); and, of course, action on climate change (carbon capture at immense scale). Very exciting!”
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