The US is driving demand for Redd offsets, while European interest lags behind, an expert said.
Helen Robinson, managing director of Markit Environmental Registry, said large US corporations continue to be the registry’s biggest buyers of carbon credits generated from the growing market for reduced deforestation and forest degradation (Redd) projects.
But European demand remains small given the uncertainty surrounding how a Redd agreement will evolve as part of the Copenhagen Accord, she said.
Markit, a UK-based financial information provider, sought to make a name for itself in the global offsets market when it bought New Zealand voluntary carbon registry, TZ1, in June last year.
It recently made a big push into the Redd marketplace by unveiling in December a new carbon offset standard focusing on the forestry sector.
Markit will provide its registry for carbon credits generated from the new Carbco Platinum Carbon Standard, which has been created by project developer C-Questor.
The Platinum standard is an “additional certification” for Redd credits and is designed to complement existing standards, such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Climate Action Reserve, said Robinson.
Several projects that are due to be verified to the standard are under development in Africa, Brazil and South-East Asia.
Markit also announced in December it had entered into a deal with two Brazilian firms to provide its registry for credits created and validated to a new Brazilian Redd standard, known as Brasil Mata Viva.
The standard, created by consulting firm IMEI Consultoria e Treinamento and the Environmental Bonds and Asset Exchange of Brazil, focuses on certifying carbon credits from Redd projects in the Brazilian state of Goiás.
“As Redd continues to evolve and become more accepted in the market we have almost become the default registry for Redd credits everywhere,” said Robinson.
“The work in Brazil is a great example of fantastic forestry efforts that are going on,” she said.
The managing director said apart from the large forestry offset markets of South America, Africa and Canada, the registry is seeing Redd credits emerging from new markets such as China.
“Literally everywhere there are forestry credits being created,” she said.
Robinson sees good growth potential in the Redd offset market despite the uncertainty created by the Copenhagen negotiations and pending US climate legislation.
Although the Copenhagen summit failed to produce a legally binding treaty, it did recognise the role and need for Redd financing and some initial steps to drive funding.
It also recognised the need for guidance on methodologies that take into account drivers of deforestation, such as livestock and biofuel demand.
US climate legislation also has the potential to create large demand for Redd credits if it is passed into law.
Both the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill and Senate’s Kerry-Boxer climate legislation recognise Redd credits as a valid offset type.
Robinson said Markit is seeking to play a “significant role” in the US pre-compliance offset market.
“Markit is already playing the leading role in service provision for early action credits in the US. Because we list the majority of these credits, we will continue to play an important role,” she said.
Robinson envisages more European buyers of Redd credits emerging despite uncertainty surrounding the future of Redd under the Copenhagen Accord.
“The smarter European corporations and traders will get involved in forestry early because they will see the longer-term benefits of doing so,” said Robinson.
By Kim Moore – email@example.com
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