A couple of weeks ago Carbon Forum America (Feb 26-27, San Fran)held a conference designed to bring businesses together to discuss issues surrounding trading greenhouse gas emission credits.
"Chicago/Geneva/Cologne/Washington/ Ottawa – February, 2008
After two days of conference sessions, exhibitor presentations via “Side Events“ and interaction on the trade show floor, Carbon Forum America came to a close at the Moscone Center in San Francisco where the event took place on February 26-27, 2008. The event was jointly organized between the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and the Chicago-based show organizer Koelnmesse, Inc...."
It seems that lots of companies got together to talk about CO2 trading. The conference was supported by Sen. Feinstein and some heavy hitters involved in UN climate change policy, CA utility companies and the World Bank. The press release is available here but it doesn't say much.
The forum hasn't had a huge impact on the media - the Indian based, Economic Times seems to be one of the very few newspapers that have picked up on a few outcomes from the conference. The article gave a quick list of Non-profit groups who are trying to make market based solutions to greenhouse gas emissions more transparent.
"Four non-profit entities used their presence at Carbon Forum America to present and interactively discuss their contributions to ensuring offset integrity..." ET. Carbon markets for improved offset quality standards 3 Mar, 2008, 1932 hrs IST, TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES
Market based solutions like carbon trading rely to some extent on a stable and universally agreed price for carbon. The large number of companies offering carbon offsets might seem encouragingly green to some but the lack of any real regulation means that companies can mis-represent how much carbon they can sequester, which reduces peoples confidence in the overall idea.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the The Climate Group are putting forward a Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) which will verify the claims of carbon offset companies and projects. Similarly the Offset Quality Initiative is a group set up by several NGOs to help smooth the way for market based solutions to curbing climate change. 'Green-e Climate', focused on electricity produced from renewable energy, has been launched by the Center for Resource Solutions.
There are several of these initiatives popping up here and there - but they are in their infancy... they, like carbon offsets themselves, are yet to be proven