Cheaper, More Credible Carbon "Offsetting" through Permits, Says Village Green

Instead of funding tree planting in Indonesia, wind farms in China or methane capture right here at home, S.F.-based Village Green (of "Green My Vino" fame) is trying a different route - selling directly to consumers permits from the fledgling carbon cap and trade market just starting up in the U.S. Northeastern states.

Buy a permit, rip it up
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) makes power plants hold one permit for each ton of carbon they emit. If a TreeHugger buys that permit instead through Village Green (which admits it will take a 10% cut of the transaction), that's one less available for the power plant - and theoretically one less ton emitted. Thus Village Green "offsets" will cost, it says (depending on current RGGI prices at carbon auction) around $4 a ton. But carbon offsets and cheaper Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) both are getting a bum rap because of less-than-scrupulous management by some companies involved - why trust Village Green?On the plus side, Village Green says the permits you as the consumer would be buying each have their own unique serial number, which will be tracked by RGGI regulators and allow users to verify (supposedly) that there's no double counting of permits.

"Village Green sees RGGI as the first opportunity to apply our strategy of linking voluntary purchasers (you) with a compliance market (RGGI) for carbon."

On the minus side, the RGGI program is just getting started, so the auctioned permits might actually be more than proposed emissions - as noted in this Scientific American article, emissions were 164 million metric tons of CO2 in 2006; permits in RGGI through 2014 represent 188 million metric tons. Eventually over the four year period between 2014 and 2018 RGGI's number of permits to be auctioned will drop 10 percent (2.5 percent each year) which will nudge power plant to reducing emissions. Essentially, Village Green is acting like a broker, buying permits (which then leaves less for the power plant to buy) and reselling them at a markup to consumers. If the RGGI does work well, however, it can work as a model for a national cap-and-trade model, which would be a way for the U.S. to begin the uphill battle to control its CO2 emissions. Via: ::Ecopreneurist
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