Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Because you asked: Carbon trading

A number of blog readers have asked for a quick primer on carbon exchange.  Here goes:
The Chicago Climate Exchange is a financial institution that is North America's only cap and trade system for all six greenhouse gases.  It launched trading in 2003 as a way to buy credits to offset pollution.  Six greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide, methane, perflourcarbons, hydroflourocarbons, nitrous oxide and sulfur hexaflouride -- were designated emissions that could be mitigated through purchases on the Chicago Board of Trade. 

Cap and trade originally grew out of a program in the 1990s used to remove lead from gasoline, and then was used again to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that cause acid rain.  The concept is relatively straightforward:  a company that produces an identified emission can buy credits from another company that produces something that mitigates that emission.  The concept worked so well that the earlier SO2 program reduced emissions ahead of the regulatory requirements.  Today, more than $2 billion a year is traded through the exchange, and carbon off-setting has become a new industry.

Carbon off-setting, or the use of "green tags" helps fund advancements in renewable technology.  Companies selling "green tags" can be for-profit or non-profit organizations.  Non-profit "green tag" purchases can often be tax deductible.  (It's close to year end ... so think about this as a tax strategy.  Now could be a good time to consult your tax adviser to learn more.) 

Upstate NY is proud to have a Chicago Climate Exchange connection.  Dr. Will Ferretti, Vice President of the Chicago Climate Exchange, worked for the New York State Department of Economic Development for many years, where he was founding director of the nation’s first market development program for recycling. For their groundbreaking work, Dr. Ferretti and the Department received one of the first Presidential Awards for Sustainable Development. Dr. Ferretti received his doctorate in resource economics from the State University of New York and Syracuse University,
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