Emissions Standards Driving Algae Aviation Fuel Sourcing…or not

by Debra Fiakas CFA Algae in the River Wate photo via BigStock My post “Algae Takes Flight” featured Algae-Tec (ALGXY:  OTC/PK),  Lufthansa’s new biofuel partner.  Algae-Tec has agreed to operate an algae-based biofuel plant in Europe to supply Lufthansa with jet fuel.  Lufthansa is footing the capital costs of the plant, which is to be located in Europe near a carbon source.  Algae thrive on carbon so industrial plants and power plants using fossil fuels make the best neighbors.  Lufthansa has agreed to purchase a...

Biochar’s Likely Market Impacts

Biochar is still mostly a research and cottage industry, yet it has the potential to impact returns for a broad range of investors. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Biochar, or amending soil with biomass-derived carbon, shows great potential to improve the productivity of soils, as well as to increase the utilization of fertilizers by plants, while sequestering carbon to reduce the drivers of climate change.  On August 10, I went to the 2009 North American Biochar Conference to look at the potential for investors.  Before I went, I took a look at the publicly traded companies...

US Exchanges And Environmental Investing

An interesting bit of follow-up on my article last week about exchanges and environmental markets. Both the NYMEX and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) have partnered up, in the past 2 weeks, with specialty cleantech and alt energy index makers to launch derivatives products. On March 14, Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE), a wholly owned subsidiary of the CCX, and WilderShares LLC, announced (PDF document) a licensing agreement to launch a futures market based on the WilderHill Clean Energy Index . The ECO is also the underlying index for the Powershares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio ETF...

Climate Legislation: Who wins? Who loses?

Most Americans now agree that something needs to be done to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Hopefully most Americans now appreciate that this is not a small, but even more so, not a simple problem. I am a big believer that the playing field for our low carbon future should start level, and the market should be structured to allow our major power and energy companies a chance to lead the way, instead of simply dishing out punishment for our combined historical choices. Carrots and sticks work well together, but sticks alone are not going to solve our...

Carbon ETFs/ETNs: Playing Copenhagen

Charles Morand At $126 billion transacted in 2008, up from $11 billion in 2005, the global carbon market is the fastest growing commodities market in the world and, provided that an agreement is reached at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen and that the US adopts a cap-and-trade program, this growth could go on for several more years. Yet this is a market that remains comparatively unknown for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the rules surrounding it are very complex. Unlike other commodities, to successfully invest directly in...

US Presidential Election & Carbon Markets: Is The Climate Exchange Story Overdone?

An interesting piece yesterday in POLITICO on how carbon prices on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) have been trending up in recent months, mostly since it's become clear that all three remaining presidential hopefuls will likely regulate CO2 emissions at the federal level. In fact, as per the chart above, prices for the right to emit a metric ton of CO2 have been on a tear, recovering from a pretty significant slump in the preceding months. Last week, the World Bank Carbon Finance Unit released its annual update on the state of global carbon market (PDF...

Competition In Environmental Markets Heats Up

Close followers of the environmental finance space have known it for a while; Climate Exchange (CXCHF.PK or CLE.L) is sitting on a potential gold mine. The market for environmental commodities, but especially carbon emissions, is slated to grow significantly over the next 5 to 7 years. It was therefore only a matter of time before competition sprung up, both from small players trying to leverage their technological platforms and from the big guys. The big guys came out swinging this week, with NYMEX announcing a partnership with JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, among others, to set up a...

GlyEco Expands Antifreeze Recycling Footprint

by Debra Fiakas CFA Glyeco recycles waste glycol into reusable antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid and air conditioning coolants for the automotive and industrial markets.   The used coolant and antifreeze liquids are frequently contaminated with water, dirt, metals and oils.  The company uses a proprietary technology at the foundation of its recycling system to eliminate contaminants.  The company focuses mainly on ethylene glycol in its six processing plants. Last month chemical recycler GlyEco, Inc. (GLYE:  OTC/QB) acquired Brian’s On-Site Recycling, a provider of antifreeze and air conditioning coolant disposal services in the Tampa, Florida area.  The deal extends...

The Republican-Proposed Carbon Tax

by Noah Kaufman A group of prominent conservative Republicansincluding former Secretary of State James Baker III, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Walmart Chairman Rob Waltonmet with key members of the Trump administration on Wednesday about their proposal to tax carbon dioxide emissions and return the proceeds to the American people. Such an economy-wide tax on carbon dioxide could enable the United States to achieve its international emissions targets with better economic outcomes than under a purely regulatory approach. Attributes of the Republican Carbon Tax Proposal While the details on the...

Linking Emissions Trading Systems

For those interested in the topic of emissions trading, a new piece was just published by the International Emissions Trading Association on the topic of 'linking' different emissions trading regimes (PDF document). Linking entails allowing emission credits from one scheme to be rendered tradable in another. For example, European credits would be valid and tradable in California, and vice-versa. Beyond allowing the carbon market to become more efficient and liquid, linking could also present a range of arbitrage opportunities. For all of you environmental markets fiends out there, I would definitely recommend this paper. It's short (13...

Ten Insights into Carbon Policy and Its Implications

On November 27, I attended the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Fifth Energy Analysis Forum, hosted by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis & Applications Center.  The forum focused on carbon policy design, the implications for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.  As a stock analyst focused on that sector, I am extremely lucky to have NREL as a local resource: the quality and the level of the experts at NREL and the ones they bring in is probably not matched anywhere in the country, and conferences like these provide priceless insights into what these Energy Analysts are thinking.   Why should investors...

A New Player In The North American Emissions Trading Sector

Over the past two weeks, a couple of announcements were made that went mostly unnoticed despite their importance to the North American carbon marketplace. Firstly, on May 30, the Montreal Exchange, a derivatives exchange, announced that it was launching an emissions trading market for CO2. The Montreal Exchange is now a unit of the TSX Group (TSXPF.PK or X.TO), the firm that runs all of Canada's exchanges. The second announcement came last week, when the premiers of Quebec and Ontario, Canada's two largest provinces and the heart of its industrial base, announced that they were moving ahead...

Carbon Finance…The Next Bonanza

Few investors outside of Europe have ever heard of the term carbon finance. What some investors might have heard, however, is that Goldman Sachs took, on September 20, 2006, a 10.1% stake in a little outfit known as Climate Exchange plc (LSE:CLE) for approximately $23 million. Admittedly, by Goldman Sachs standards, that’s peanuts. Not to be outdone, Morgan Stanley unveiled a plan on Thursday October 26 to invest a whopping $3 billion in global carbon markets over the next few years…now that’s the kind of money that gets folks talking at the water cooler, especially when it’s in something...

Fossil Fuel Industry: Killing the Customer

by Debra Fiakas, CFA Published by the Climate Accountability Institute, the Carbon Majors Reportlays bare the truth about which companies are responsible for industrial greenhouse gas emissions.  One hundred fossil fuel producers are linked to 71% of global industrial greenhouse gases emitted since 1988.  Something like a line in the sand for climate scientists, 1988 is the year human-induced climate change was official recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Fossil fuels in the form of coal, crude oil and gas are by far and large the culprits.  Rolling forward three decades later, we can observe in the charts below that fossil fuel production...

Investing in Climate Change

This post was supposed to be about coal-to-liquids (CTL), but I came across interesting info yesterday after opening a former colleague’s mail that I thought would make for a more interesting post. The CTL piece will thus have to wait a bit. What was in the package was a hard copy of the January/February 2007 edition of CNBC European Business. This edition is dedicated to climate change, but, more importantly, to how some firms are positioning themselves to benefit from the markets that will be created as a result of regulatory and other actions to tackle greenhouse gas...

Carbon Offsets Work – Will the Mainstream Media Ever Get It?

The carbon markets are an area of keen interest for me personally and professionally, so it is always frustrating that the mainstream media largely refuses to learn the details. In general, layman and media who don’t understand the details of the carbon markets attack carbon offsets in two areas, first, questioning whether the credits are for a project that would have occurred anyway (a concept known in carbon as “additionality”), and second questioning whether there are checks and balances to ensure the environmental standards are adhered to and the abatement actually happens (in carbon known as the validation...
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