In the news Tuesday: Carbon credits

Vatican Penance: Forgive Us Our Carbon Output
Upon receiving a donation amounting to about 37-acres worth of forest generated carbon credits, the Vatican will become the globe’s first carbon-neutral state (in addition to holding its throne as the world’s only non-commercial economy). The donation comes from eco-restoration start-up KlimFa (subsidiary of Planktos (PLKT.OB) –the parent company is not yet profitable [2Q07 10Q], which hasn’t stopped  its stock from erratic rallying at the announcement of private funding; up 75-ish% YTD). KlimFa, headquartered in Foster City, CA despite being based in Hungary and dedicated to restoration projects in the EU (since the US is not yet on board w/ cap and trade), acts as a third party forest restorer to owners of dilapidated forestlands. The company takes a portion of its fees, presumably, in the form of carbon credits which poses issues such as how one should value the restoration efforts, the explicit fruits of which are simply saplings which may or may not capture the credits agreed upon over the contractual timeframe for which the owners are being billed. The evolution of this industry will be interesting to watch, especially as/if/when the US follows the EU’s lead with cap-and-trade. 

Lights Go Out for Carbon Credit Scheme [The West, Australia]
When it’s Too Hard Being Green [The Age, Australia]
Australia’s The Age is claiming that the recent collapse in the price of carbon credits in Australia (now $6 after a fall from $12) has forced Easy Being Green out of business. The company’s website makes no mention of the insolvency, but simply notes that their good Samaritan efforts –installing energy efficient light globes and showerheads at no cost to homeowners–have been placed on indefinite hold, and that they plan to lay-off 240 employees (a sum that represents about a quarter of Australia’s carbon market labour force). According to Easy Being Green, “the carbon industry looks almost certain to go under” as long as “finger pointing…between the State and Federal Governments” prevents a bailout (which ranges from establishing lower thresholds for emissions limits to ceasing to make comments alluding to the fact that they may scrap the entire cap-and-trade program altogether).  

Other links:
Freight and carbon credits help hedge funds [FT]