Despite setbacks, voluntary carbon markets booming
"This is a return of sorts to the voluntary market’s roots and away from the pre-compliance buying that had been dominant of late as companies prepared for legislation that never came,"
- Katherine Hamilton, the managing director of Ecosystem Marketplace
The voluntary carbon market posted a 34 percent gain in 2010, trading a record 131 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtC02e).
The news comes from Back to the Future: State and Trends of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2010, an annual report by Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Gathering data from almost 300 market participants, the report analyzes the voluntary carbon market’s organization and growth, as well as project types and buyer motivations.
The US remained the primary participant in voluntary carbon markets in 2010, offering more than one-third of carbon credits and purchasing nearly half of available credits. This is positive news for the US given that last year proved difficult for market participants: failure of the US federal government to act on climate change again contributed to the closure of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and smaller US markets. However, regional markets in California and the Western Climate Initiative withstood the pressure and gathered support from many US suppliers.
According to the report, the voluntary carbon market seems to be recovering from the economic downturn, and may even emerge stronger as a result of increased emphasis on corporate social responsibility.