In this edition, Ecosystem Marketplace digs into data showing a three-year high for voluntary carbon offsets. Bloomberg reports on China’s “Aim to Link With Global Markets to Cap CO2 Emissions.” Business Green reports on a new HSBC carbon bond analysis. The print edition of The Economist dissects the numbers behind the U.S.’s “Shale of the Century.”

Quote of the Day:

“The market size is much broader and deeper than previously thought. This re-framing of the investable universe should help to overcome the perception among mainstream investors of climate-themed bonds as a niche market and allow them to signal to fund managers the desire for greater diversification.”

-HSBC’s Nick Robbins in Business Green’s “Climate bond market tops $174bn”

Lead Stories

Voluntary Carbon Offsetting Hits Three-Year High on US Action, Wind
Ecosystem Marketplace
The market for voluntary carbon offsetting hit a three-year high in 2011, transacting more than $576 million of offsets, second only to 2008’s record $776 million, according to the 6th “State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets” report, which also found more demand from buyers in the US and record sales of offsets from Asian wind farms and the coming-of-age of clean development projects in Africa.
**RKB — Among the bigger surprises: the United States, which emerged as the world’s largest single-country buyer of voluntary offsets despite the lack of impending regulations that had previously sparked demand from companies looking to get a leg up on the law.

Developing Dimension: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2012
Ecosystem Marketplace

Shale of the century
The Economist
AMERICA’S “unconventional” gas boom continues to amaze. Between 2005 and 2010 the country’s shale-gas industry, which produces natural gas from shale rock by bombarding it with water and chemicals—a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”—grew by 45% a year. As a proportion of America’s overall gas production shale gas has increased from 4% in 2005 to 24% today. America produces more gas than it knows what to do with. Its storage facilities are rapidly filling, and its gas price (prices for gas, unlike oil, are set regionally) has collapsed. Last month it dipped below $2 per million British thermal units (mBtu): less than a sixth of the pre-boom price and too low for producers to break even.
**RKB — A nice U.S. vs. Europe vs. China gas exporting comparison. Nothing so new here except reference to the IEA’s more confident supply data. The piece quotes IEA’s “expected tripling in the supply of unconventional gas between 2010 and 2035, leading to a slower price rise than would otherwise be expected. It expects this to boost global demand by more than 50%.”  

U.S. hits brakes on natural gas exports
American Enterprise Institute blog
The Obama administration has added yet another fossil-fuel domain to its “slow-walk” roster: natural gas exports. It seems several natural gas companies, awash in the stuff, are seeking to export it to Europe and Asia, which face much higher natural gas prices.

China Aims to Link With Global Markets to Cap CO2 Emissions
China aims to link its domestic carbon market with others around the world as it seeks to cut emissions, a government official said.  

Market players call for EU ETS intervention – IETA
Environmental Finance
A vast majority of market participants want intervention in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to boost prices, according to a survey by the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) – amid price expectations more than a third lower than last year.

Climate talks ‘frustrating’, but making slow progress – Figueres
Environmental Finance
The climate negotiations are proceeding at an “unacceptable” pace, said UN climate chief Christiana Figueres today, but progress is being made.  

Climate bond market tops $174bn
Business Green
New research has revealed the climate bond market is far larger than previously thought, currently offering investors $174bn in issuances, but with the potential to more than treble this figure.

Bonds and Climate Change: The State of the Market in 2012
HSBC and Climate Bonds Initiative

EU Plans Guidance on Support Plans for Renewables, Draft Shows
The European Union is planning to prepare guidance on the overhaul of renewable energy support programs after curbs on state subsidies by some nations undermined investors’ confidence, a draft EU document shows.

Green Exchange Product Migration to NYMEX
GreenX Release
As previously announced, CME Group anticipates in the near future migrating all GreenX products to a CME Group exchange, delisting them from the Green Exchange and listing them on the NYMEX exchange. The date of this migration is dependent upon receipt of an order from the CFTC permitting such a migration. The sole impact of this change to clearing and bookkeeping systems is that the exchange acronym of the various products will change from GEX to NYMEX. There are no product code changes, firm change or other impacts. There will cease to be a separate Green Exchange settlement price file, and the daily SPAN files will no longer contain data for a separate Green Exchange.
**No Link

USDA’s Vilsack criticizes Senate panel biofuels vote
An Obama administration official on Thursday criticized a U.S. Senate panel for voting to block the Pentagon from buying more costly alternative fuels, saying a military biofuels program announced last year could help revitalize rural America.  

China Responds to U.S. Tariffs on Wind-Turbine Towers
Wall Street Journal
A Chinese industry group said a preliminary U.S. decision to impose tariffs on Chinese wind-turbine towers would have a “negative effect” on related U.S. industries and is an attempt to conceal that U.S. tower manufacturers aren’t competitive.


Carbon Expo
May 30 – June 1, 2012
Cologne, Germany

Responsible Business Summit
June 27 -28, 2012, New York

Carbon Forum North America
October 1-2, 2012
Washington, DC

Sustainability Summit – Innovation Challenge
October 9, 2012
New York


Court closes web of 10 unscrupulous landbanking and carbon credit companies that raised over 6.5 million pounds from investors
Credit Man
A web of disreputable land banking and carbon credit companies have all been ordered into liquidation in the High Court on grounds of public interest following an investigation by Company Investigations (“CI”) of the Insolvency Service.
Before being closed down, the companies between them mis-led the public into investing around 6.5 million sterling.

Natural Gas/Coal

EIA: March US Natural Gas Demand -5.4% Vs Year Ago
Dow Jones
U.S. demand for natural gas fell 5.4% in March from a year earlier to 2.1 trillion cubic feet and was the lowest for the month since 2004, government data released Thursday show.

CEZ mulls sale of 2 plants to end coal price doubt
Czech power group CEZ invited bidders on Thursday to buy two of its biggest coal-burning power plants to end a long-running uncertainty over future coal prices.

Coal hits 6-yr high share of UK power generation
Coal accounted for 46 percent of Britain’s power production in the first quarter, a six-year high share, the UK energy ministry said on Thursday, as cheap coal prices encouraged utilities to switch from burning natural gas.  

Obama Boosts Coal Exports, Prompting Allies’ Complaints
The U.S. government’s export lender backed $90 million in loans to boost overseas sale of coal, drawing criticism from environmental groups that say the Obama administration is ignoring coal’s risks to air and health.  

Oilsands ‘impressive’ but has challenges, Mulcair says after tour
CBC News
Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s position on the Alberta oilsands appeared to remain largely unchanged after his one-day tour of the region on Thursday but his remarks appeared to be more moderate.

Awed by oil sands, Mulcair calls for more environmental oversight
Globe and Mail
Precisely one thing surprised Thomas Mulcair on his visit to Alberta: the scale of the oil sands.


Italy’s EGP starts up wind farm in Canada
Italy’s biggest renewable energy company, Enel Green Power (EGP), has connected a new, 76-megawatt (MW) wind farm to the grid in Canada as it expands in North America, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

EDF to Build South African Wind Farms in 2013 After Award
Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, plans to start work in 2013 at the three wind projects awarded in a South African auction to boost alternative energy sources.

Yingli Green Energy posts loss; shares firm
Yingli Green Energy Holding Co, one of China’s largest solar equipment makers, posted a quarterly loss on Wednesday even as strong demand in Germany and the United States lifted solar module shipments.

Iberdrola Urges Poland to Keep Support for Wind Power
Iberdrola SA (IBE), an owner of wind parks from Europe to the U.S., urged Poland not to cut financial support for the technology as the central European nation devises a new renewable-energy law.


As Europe Slashes Subsidies, Renewable Energy Developers Move Into New Markets
Spain’s moratorium on new green tech subsidies and the prospect that other budget-stressed European governments will slash incentives for solar and wind projects have roiled a once-rich market for renewable energy companies but will have little impact globally as developers move into Asia, Latin America and South Africa, according to analysts and executives.


Turn Waste Into Energy, Group Urges New York
The New York Times
Citizens Budget Commission, noted that the city’s trash is transported to out-of-state landfills by tractor-trailer trucks that travel hundreds of miles while emitting greenhouse gases. If one-third of the garbage going to landfills were to be turned into energy instead, the city would save $119 million a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent, said the group, which monitors state and city spending.

Nestlé cuts landfill waste, but grows emissions and water use
Business Green
Food and beverage giant Nestlé cut its water intensity by nearly two per cent per ton of products in the US – although its overall water use grew – and diverted 80 per cent of its waste from landfills to animal feeding, composting and recycling, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report released Tuesday.


Developing Dimension: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2012 (Posted May 31, 2012)
Ecosystem Marketplace

Tackling exposure: placing disaster risk management at the heart of national economic and fiscal policy (Posted May 22, 2012)

Fossil fuel price shocks and a low carbon economy (Posted May 21, 2012)

Using the Allowance Value from California’s Carbon Trading System: Legal Risk Factors, Impacts to Ratepayers and the Economy (Posted May 17, 2012)

Inclusive Green Growth: The Pathways to Sustainable Development (Posted May 9, 2012)
World Bank

Meeting Canada’s 2020 Climate Change Commitments (Posted May 8, 2012)
Office of Auditor General

View all reports >

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