Side events by IETA

December 17, 2009

Given the difficulty entering the Bella Center, I’ve positioned myself for most of the conference down the street at the Crown Plaza where the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) is putting on a full week of side events about carbon markets and the future of regulatory systems at both the national and subnational levels.  In contrast to the KlimaForum, another off-site venue attracting a range of NGOs including human rights leaders and activists concerned with climate change, the IETA event feels diametrically opposed, focused almost entirely on and represented primarily by the private sector.  But while I find both perspectives very important, I decided on the IETA events as my main area of research concerns emission trading.

Holding the coveted "secondary" badge

The first panel I attended discussed China’s newly developed Panda Standard, the first domestic market ever to be established in China that specifically focuses on the agriculture and forestry sectors.  These sectors largely affect the rural and poorer areas of China in the western part of the country that has not benefited from foreign capital coming into China through international offset projects under the CDM.  This market looks to be very successful due to its partnership with BlueNext, one of Europe’s largest and most effective carbon traders, and the support of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, China’s largest and most influential ministry.

My biggest doubt about this market is who are the buyers for these credits?  One speaker on the panel claimed demand would come from companies in China looking to support the rural sections of the country while making their operations carbon neutral.  I am unsure if Chinese companies will be motivated to invest much into this voluntary market, especially when China will most likely need to meet mandatory reductions in intensity of greenhouse gas emissions.  Some ministers have suggested that finding a way to make these voluntary emission reductions (VERs) compatible with certified emission reductions (CERs) would result in much demand.  But no mechanism currently exists for merging VERs and CERs into the same market as these two standards are fundamentally different. The path to make China’s Panda Standard viable still has many hurdles to overcome, but should be interesting to watch its future developments.

Another presentations included the private sector’s hopes for the regulatory environment that will be established by the UNFCCC and other governing bodies, progress on the American “smart grid”, adaptation measures in the United States, and innovative ideas about the scope and scale of carbon markets, including the registry of black carbon as a greenhouse gas.  Overall the conference provided a lot of very valuable information but was very American focused.  I learned one reason for this is due to the conferences sponsorship with The Climate Registry that has its roots in California. Nonetheless I greatly enjoyed the range of questions coming from audience and talking with other participants in between meetings and look forward to continuing these conversations at the reception starting in a few minutes.  I will definitely keep tabs on future IETA developments and its work with carbon markets.

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One Response to “Side events by IETA”

  1. Joe Ventin Says:

    Do you know how the panda standard credits tracked?


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