20 November 2008

New carbon standard set for forestry trading

Times Of Malta.com, 19th November 2008

A new standard for carbon trading will help link forestry and agriculture projects into a million-dollar market to help fight global warming, backers said yesterday.

Under rules set by the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), projects such as reducing the rate of tropical deforestation could get tradable credits for a voluntary market aimed at companies and individuals and worth €262 million last year, they said.

"For the first time ever investors can rely on robust rules for crediting agriculture and other land use projects," David Antonioli, chief executive officer of the London-based VCS Association, said in a statement.

Trees absorb heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow and release it as they burn or rot. Emissions from current rapid deforestation in tropical nations account for about a fifth of emissions from human activities, led by burning of fossil fuels.

Talks on a new UN climate treaty due to be agreed by the end of next year are seeking ways to grant developing nations incentives to let trees stand. But there is a lack of rules for assessing forests and their carbon stocks.

"This is an important day for world forests," said Toby Janson-Smith, a director of Conservation International, a leading environmental group, of the new VCS.

The system would make credits from carbon stored in forests interchangeable with other voluntary carbon credits, generated by emissions from energy use or industry. Under the rules, forestry projects could use historical national data on deforestation rates to estimate the amount of carbon preserved.

For instance, a tropical forest stores about 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare. If the deforestation rate in an area is two per cent a year, conserving a hectare would lock up an extra four tonnes of carbon.

After taking account of risks - such as fires or storms - 50 per cent might be set aside into a "buffer fund," leaving two tonnes of tradable VCS credits.

The VCS is backed by the Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association, the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The voluntary market allows companies and individuals to cut their carbon emissions. Prices averaged €5.7 a tonne for emissions measured by the VCS in July-August, according to a study by New Carbon Finance.

Copyright in timesofmalta.com (including but not limited to text, photographs, graphics, audio visuals and software) is owned by or licensed to the publishers, Allied Newspapers Limited. All rights are hereby reserved by Allied Newspapers Limited.

Read more... Sphere: Related Content

No comments: