6/23/2010 1:02:09 AMViews:
It's no secret that the past couple of years have been bad for business. But a new report from Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that a major green industry also took a big hit from the Great Recession: voluntary carbon trading.
What is that, exactly? As the name implies, voluntary trading is not to be confused with mandatory, regulated markets, such as ones that currently in use in Europe and being considered for the Chesapeake Bay. Voluntary carbon markets allow companies to trade climate credits, usually as part of a corporate sustainability program in which the company pledges to offset its greenhouse gas emissions by investing in forestry, watershed protection, and biodiversity conservation.
According to the report, last year saw a 26 percent drop in such programs when compared to 2008.
“The economic recession had a marked impact on the part of the market primarily concerned with buying credits to offset emissions of companies and individuals," Milo Sjardin, who co-authored the report, said.
But there's a silver lining to this doom and gloom. Because of the overall decline in voluntary carbon trading around the world, the U.S. "figured as the largest buyer and seller in the market, and the most popular transactions were those that could count towards future compliance," according to Sjardin.
In other words, there was some optimism about the growth of markets in our country, considering we might be passing major climate legislation this year. Of course, depending on how the debate over this legislation plays out, things could change pretty quickly.
On the positive side, Todd Woody at Grist pointed out that, even in a recession, the volume of greenhouse gas emissions traded last year was 39 percent higher than it was in 2007. And regulated carbon markets even grew during the downturn, by 7 percent in fact, with 8,625 metric tons of carbon dioxide traded at a value of $144 billion.
Not bad, considering this is the worst economic climate we've seen in decades.
Photo Credit: Daquella manera READ MORE
, Carbon Trading
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