NewEnergyNews: EMISSIONS TRADING: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE CHINESE

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  • Friday, May 09, 2008

    EMISSIONS TRADING: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE CHINESE

    Originally posted May 4.
    European investment banking giant Fortis NV expects world emissions trading markets to hit $100 billion in value this year and $400 billion by 2012 or 2015, when the U.S. is expected to be fully involved.

    Shane Spurway, director of Asian emissions banking, Fortis: "We expect the American market to be around four times the size of Europe…(The United States) will join an emissions trading agreement, where carbon will be a global commodity currency."

    A new study suggests Australia's cap-and-trade system, expected by 2012, could put an undue burden on that nation's working poor because they rely on auto transport but live in lower cost, outlying urban regions. Auto transport fuel is expected to cost impactfully more when a price is put on emissions.

    This could be an argument against cap-and-trade - but not a strong enough one to prevent it in the face of global climate change. It is, however, is a good reason to look at ways to make cap-and-trade more equitable. A good place to start would be
    cap and share, a “…scalable framework for climate stabilization…” in which “…responsibilities are shared around the world in a responsible way…” but the permits would start in the hands of citizens and then work their way into the marketplace.

    From the "cap-and-trade is coming" file: Surprisingly, China is opening a branch of Chicago Climate Exchange, the voluntary emissions trading platform, in its Binhai New Area in Tianjin, near Beijing. The present U.S. administration insists Beijing is the obstacle to a world emissions trading system and yet China opens a voluntary exchange - huh?

    This just shows how wrong-headed perceptions about the "inscrutable" east can be. China saw an opportunity to win an international client to its new, state-of-the-art business center so it signed on with CCX. What is emissions trading about? It is about turning a crisis (global climate change) into an opportunity (global emissions cap-and-trade).

    In this instance, China sees an opportunity in playing. Emissions trading, as it is presently practiced in Europe, would be in the best long term interests of the U.S. and the RIGHT world emissions trading scheme will be an opportunity for everybody. When are folks going to get that?


    Cap and Share might be more equitable than cap-and-trade AND be as effective. (click to enlarge)

    Interview – Fortis sees global carbon market up 67% in 2008
    Rujun Shen (w/Edmund Klamann), April 24, 2008 (Reuters)
    and
    Carbon trading to hit poor hard
    Reid Sexton, April 27, 2008 (The Age)
    and
    China to tie up with Chicago carbon emissions bourse
    April 25, 2008 (AFP via Yahoo News)

    WHO
    Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis NV (Shane Spurway, director of Fortis carbon banking in Asia); Point Carbon; United Nations (UN) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) (Janet Stanley, report co-author); Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)

    click to enlarge

    WHAT
    Fortis’ Spurway sees emissions trading markets booming around the world and soon starting up in Asia and the U.S. At the same time, a Brotherhood of St Laurence report Carbon Use in Poor Victorian Households by Local Government Area finds the working poor to be among the hardest hit by the costs imposed by a trading system on emissions. And China announced it will participate in a voluntary emissions trading market.

    WHEN
    - Spurway sees the world emissions trading market valued at $100 billion by the end of 2008. He sees it getting to $400 billion by 2012 to 2015.
    - Spurway expects Asian emissions markets by 2009. Most of the UN CDM registered projects are in Asia.
    - Australia expects to institute a cap-and-trade system by 2012.

    The working poor in outer suburbs generate emissions just getting to and from work. (click to enlarge)

    WHERE
    - Fortis is based in Belgium and Holland.
    - Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo are potential emissions trading centers.
    - The BSL report focused on the working poor in the Australian state of Victoria but is thought to be generalizable.
    - China’s CCX trading center will be in the city of Tianjin, near Beijing

    WHY
    - World emissions trading was 2.7 billion tonnes last year, valued at $60 billion. These numbers were 64% higher than the previous year.
    - 1 Certified Emission Reduction (CER) is issued for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) cut by a UN CDM certified project
    - A credit trades at 10 to 15 euros ($15.80-23.80).
    - A tonne of CO2e cut from voluntary projects trades at $2 to $3.
    - The BSL study found that urban poor working households in cities w/o good public transport will pay as much as $1220/year with a $35/tonne price on emissions while those in inner and middle areas with good public transport would only pay around $900 to $1000 extra. Rural working poor without public transport will pay $1300+.
    - Because of Australia’s lack of public transport, many families earning less than $500/week require 2 cars.
    - The first value China gets from joining the CCX voluntary emissions trading platform is a new international client in its Binhai New Area in Tianjin.

    Cap and trade is the most likely way to do it. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Spurway, director of Asian carbon banking, Fortis: "In Asia, apart from Japan, no country has compliance targets, so it's very hard to set up a trading system here until you have a good range of buyers and sellers…"
    - Spurway, on current voluntary emissions trading markets: "Because it's hard to verify, because it's not very transparent, because there's no neutral or independent measuring authority involved in it, the quality of these projects is risky…"
    - Spurway, on where and how emissions trading will meet the financial marketplace: "We would tend to think that it would be the CER that would be transferred between America, Europe and Japanese buyers…"
    - Janet Stanley, co-author, BSL report: "It suggests a strong argument for better public transport services around those suburbs…These people need to get to work, they need to get to the doctor … these people have no choice but to pay out extra money for mobility…It's at a cost to other things in their life. It could be their child can't afford to go on a school camp or they can't afford the school uniform."

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