AtmosClear works on projects that generate emission reductions for various carbon markets, including:
- Kyoto Protocol (CDM; JI)
- California pre-compliance (CRTs)
- Alberta Compliance
- Canadian pre-compliance
- US, Canada and international voluntary markets (including VCS, VER/CSA)
What are Emission Reductions?
There is no national law or regulation in the US to control GHG emissions. Indeed, the US has yet to join the other 126 countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol (Treaty). However, the Obama Administration proposes to regulate GHG emissions, and in late June, the House passed a Bill to limit emissions in various sectors of the US economy. The Bill enables cooperation with other countries on projects to reduce emissions in a number of sectors including forestry. While the House and Senate have yet to come to agreement on a Bill, it is expected that in 2009 or 2010, there will be regulation of GHGs in the USA.
Several states that have adopted programs or policies aimed at reducing or registering GHGs. For example, 10 northeastern states are operate a regional emission trading system, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources.
Meanwhile, many companies themselves have either announced plans or already implemented procedures to improve efficiency and cut emissions, including American Electric Power, Baxter International, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Ford, Motorola, General Motors, Alcoa, BP, Pfizer, Staples, International Paper, IBM, Xerox, Miller Brewing, and Eastman Kodak, among others including many of the major investment banks.
Ultimately, markets for emission reductions can be created either by regulation (e.g., the market for sulfur dioxide allowances in the US, or the European Unions™ Emissions Trading System (ETS) ) or voluntarily (e.g., the market for emission reductions, or ERs, in the USA that operates prior to national regulation coming into effect).
Emission reductions (ERs) are decreases in pollutant emissions or actually "avoided emissions” that result from actions like switching to cleaner fuels, improving energy efficiency, and increasing renewable energy use.
For example, renewable energy reduces (avoids) emissions by displacing, or delaying the need for, power plants that use fossil fuels (with higher carbon content) to generate electricity. Emission reductions, ERs, become verified emission reductions (VERs) once they have been independently verified according to criteria that confirm that the ERs are real, measurable, credible and beyond any regulatory requirement. Ownership of the actual emission reductions is also established to ensure that multiple claims are not being made on the same ERs by different parties (such as a power plant, and the buyer of electricity produced by that power plant). In our view, ownership if very important for trading emission reductions.
An emission reduction (ER) is a financial instrument that can be used to transfer GHG emissions reduction rights in the national and international marketplace to businesses and other entities that need them to offset (or create a net reduction of) their own emissions. Sales of ERs occur because some companies or even individuals can reduce emissions more cheaply than others. For example, capturing and burning potent methane emissions from a waste landfill is typically cheaper than reducing emissions from fossil fuel burning at an already highly efficient power plant (where increases in efficiency to reduce the volume of fossil fuels burned costs more per ton of emission reductions than at the landfill).
Emission trading occurs when a source of air pollution reduces its emissions and then transfers ownership of the emission reductions ”the verified emission reductions” to another party. VERs should meet strict creation and use criteria to ensure the process yields continuous environmental improvement and the VERs are, therefore, a valuable commodity. Verification or certification of VERs is conducted by independent auditors who provide written assurance of the integrity of the VER (similar to the role of a financial auditor). A VER typically represents one ton of GHG emission reductions (avoided emissions) expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent units reduced hence CO2 emission reductions, or VERs. VERs are usually traded in increments of tons. One tonne of carbon dioxide would fill a 2-storey, 3-bedroom house.
VERs can be created by capturing and reducing the potency of landfill gas by flaring it or using it as a fuel to generate electricity. VERs can also be created by displacing fossil fuel generated electricity with electricity generated from renewable energy like wind power or fuel crops, such as wood chips. The goal is to avoid the mining and combustion of fossil fuels and use energy that is naturally re(generated).
VERs can also be created by planting trees and other productive "biomass" to capture carbon and produce other useful crops or products. U.S. crop land can store more than 100 million tons of carbon per year, equivalent to 8-9 percent of total U.S. emissions. The Iowa Farm Bureau is working to aggregate VERs from Iowa farmers for sale in the carbon credit market! Carbon is sequestered in soils from improved soil tilling practices and maintaining carbon stored in soils from establishing grass cover plantings on certain lands (land that is capable of being cropped) can sell carbon credits if the land remains in permanent grass cover for an extended period of time. VERs for grass cover plantings are expected to be issued at a rate of 0.75 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent per acre per year.
There are many different kinds of projects and programs that can be implemented to reduce emissions. When they are implemented, the ERs can be independently verified, thus creating VERs. The most credible VERs are registered in an independent registry that keeps track of issued VERs, and whether they have been retired out of the market.
Where Does AtmosClear Get Its VERs?
To find out where AtmosClear gets it VERs, please go to our Projects and VERs page.
Click on one of the following links for more information on VERs: