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...

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...

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...

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...
Plastics recycling numbers

Plastic Recyclers Chasing Arrows

According to Plastics Europe Research Group, over 35 million tons of plastic material was produced globally in 2016, the last year for which full-year data is available.   That brought total plastic production to 9 billion tons since 1950.  All of those plastic materials remain in existence somewhere  -  still in use, landfills, junk yards, blowing around the countryside, waterways, oceans, fish stomachs. The post “Plastic Contagion’ on April 13th outline the dangers presented by plastic waste, ranging from respiratory failure from toxic emissions to reproductive interference in aquatic animals. The building burgeoning volume of plastic waste has sent environmentalists scrambling for solutions to the plastic waste...

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...

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...

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...

Has Shale Gas Reduced Carbon Emissions?

Jim Hansen Last week, I wrote that the U.S. is on course to set a new export record of coal. A few days later the EIA made similar projections and estimate that exports will reach 125 million tons for 2012. One side effect of the success of U.S. coal exports is the degree to which may they have cancelled out the carbon emissions reduction experienced in the U.S. as shale gas displaced coal in the power generation sector. This question of displacement was addressed in a study just released by researchers at the University of...

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.

Trading Places: Will America’s Carbon Market Outsize Europe’s?

Charles MorandIn early January, I said the following on the likelihood that the Obama Administration would move on carbon regulations in the near-term: "The next 12 to 18 months are unlikely to produce much in the way of vigorous environmental action on the part of government (barring subsidies for alternative energy related to the stimulus package), especially if it means additional costs on industry." Clearly, I had underestimated the power of another fundamental rule of politics - besides "don't anger the rust belt states that gave you your presidency by burdening their industries with avoidable costs in the midst...

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...

Hedging Your Climate Risks

Whether you agree it's because of human activity or not (and, for the record, I do), there's no doubt that the weather has been a little wacky over the past few years, driving a range of events that have had very real repercussions on businesses and the economy. Hurricane Katrina is one obvious example, but there have also been other, more subtle cases. Many ski resort operators in North America, for instance, were beginning to believe that winter would never arrive on the eastern side of the continent. In the west, we're now being told that cold weather...

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...

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...

EDF Sets Up Carbon Fund

The French electric utility EDF announced today that it is setting up a €300 million ($396 million) carbon fund to help meet its regulatory requirements under the EU ETS, Europe’s regulatory framework to control CO2 emissions. Carbon funds allow companies to make investments that create CO2 emissions reductions in emerging markets, such as upgrades to industrial operations or renewable energy projects, and use the credits generated thus to meet regulatory requirements in their home jurisdictions. This is a good way to concurrently reduce compliance costs at home and foster environmentally-friendly investments in emerging economies. I have discussed...