Transforming Risks Into Opportunities
We are at a point in history at which companies and individuals must pay attention to climate change, whether or not they believe the science. Sustainability is of necessity a key part of any viable corporate strategy. The carbon markets are an important piece of the global climate puzzle. The need to comply with regulations and the demands of consumers makes an understanding of the carbon markets prudent. This article is designed to provide the background that sophisticated market participants need to evaluate what opportunities make sense.
Energy-intensive manufacturers and power generators are facing carbon-reduction mandates by regional, national and international regulators. Multi-national manufacturers and even retailers are requiring “voluntary” carbon footprint reports from vendors throughout their supply chains. In response, affected companies are purchasing and even “manufacturing” their own “carbon offsets” as a strategy for demonstrating voluntary carbon neutrality and for mitigating the costs of mandatory carbon-emission limits. The World Bank reported that the 2008 global demand for offsets in the compliance market reached $ 6,813 million and IN the voluntary carbon offset market reached $ 397 million. Assuming enactment of a U.S. cap and trade system or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) rules setting mandatory carbon limits, the global demand for carbon offsets is expected to skyrocket within the next decade. Accordingly, planning and development of offset projects will be a strategic opportunity for early adopters and a cost-management lifeline for many.
Because the carbon offset market is new to many, it is important to start from the basics: a carbon emissions offset is a marketable commodity which represents a unit of reduction, removal, or avoidance of greenhouse gases (“GHG”) emissions. Emission[s] offsets are used to compensate for excess GHG emissions...