Climate Change Will Hurt The Poor Most But the Solutions Don’t Have To

The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (iCAST) helps communities use local resources to solve their own problems.  I've been a fan of iCAST's approach of teaching people how to fish (or, in this case, how to apply sustainable technologies) rather than giving away fish since I first encountered them at a conference in 2006.  Last week, they took advantage of some of their own local resources (namely the fact that the DNC was in Denver) to organize a luncheon with a panel of nationally recognized speakers, any one of whom would have been enough to draw a...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Beware The Vagaries Of Government

I just came across this article on potential problems with the emerging trade in carbon credits. The piece is not technical and I wouldn't say that it is particularly well-researched, but it does raise a key point - as the market for carbon emissions grows, the need for standardization and collaboration between governments and regulators will become ever more pressing. This could create problems. The carbon market is unique in that the commodity traded derives its value primarily from its ability to meet the requirements set by an environmental regulator. There is also a market for voluntary...

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...

Dead Wrong On Climate Exchange

In a May 8 post I opined that, although I believed that recent developments on the climate change file in the US would bode well for Climate Exchange plc (CXCHF.PK), I thought that the stock was overpriced and had had too great a run for its own good over the past 3 months. I therefore predicted that the next move the stock would make would be to the downside. Climate Exchange was trading at around $28 then, and today it is trading in the neighborhood of $36. I continue to believe that this stock is going way too...

NYMEX To Get Involved In Emissions Trading

A senior NYMEX official told reporters Wednesday that the exchange was considering getting into the business of carbon emissions trading. Given the actual, but especially the potential, size of this market, it makes sense that established bourses would take a good hard look at it. This will probably not be seen as very good news by the folks at Climate Exchange plc . Of course, until NYMEX actually unveils anything substantial, this will remain nothing but chatter.

Some Emissions Trading News

A lot has happened in the world of carbon finance and emissions trading since we last wrote about this topic, so I felt this might be good time to provide a quick update. (A) The World Bank Carbon Finance Unit recently released its State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2007 (PDF document), a periodic assessment of the scale and characteristics of the global market for carbon dioxide emissions. The Bank found a large increase in the volumes traded (131%) and dollar value (177%) of the global carbon market in 2006 over 2005. Unsurprisingly, the EU ETS...

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...

Carbon Emissions ETF

Today, while reading an article on cleantech ETFs by The Motley Fool, I found out that XShares Advisors LLC and the Chicago Climate Exchange were working on a carbon emissions-based ETF (PDF document). There is not a lot of info available on what exactly this ETF will track. We reported back in November that UBS had launched an index based on European carbon prices. As noted by Richard Kang at around the same time, this index is well-suited for something like an ETF. If any of our readers have any further insight on this, don't hesitate...

Environmental Markets: The Next Frontier in Environmental Investing?

The term environmental markets remains foreign to most investors (and environmentalists!), even though these markets represent, in my view, a very compelling investment story. Although we've discussed trading in carbon emissions in the past, I thought I would expand a bit and talk about environmental markets in general, and about good ways to play them. What's An Environmental Market? Environmental markets exist at the confluence of two movements: (a) A growing desire on the part of national and regional governments in several countries to both limit environmentally-damaging behavior and to promote the growth of alternative...

Wall Street And Climate Change Get Cosier And Cosier…

A couple of interesting news from Wall Street this week in the realm of carbon finance. Firstly, on Tuesday, JP Morgan announced the launch of what is, as far as I can tell, the first ever bond index with a special climate change risk overlay. In the interest of disclosure, I was tangentially involved with this project. While this overlay probably won't have much of an impact in the very near term, it will be interesting to see what happens once constituent firms are all subjected to some form of greenhouse gas regulation. Second, on Thursday, Lehman...