Carbon Offset Watch Ranks the Voluntary Carbon Market

This week the covers were taken off a new consumer resource -- an independent ranking of Australian carbon offset providers. The Total Environment Centre, the consumer advocacy group Choice, and the Institute for Sustainable Futures combined their talents to offer Carbon Offset Watch.

It ranks 20 carbon offset providers in the categories of outstanding, good and average. It would liked to rank 50 or so such providers, but 30 declined to respond to their survey and another four didn't fully complete the survey. Even for those that are included, Carbon Offset Watch still provides a list of purchasing tips, so you know you're likely to be buying exactly what you want.

Such a third party assessment tool is good news for consumers wanting a little credibility in an offset market has been likened to the new Wild West, full of 'cowboys' out to make a quick buck. However the website also paints a less than rosy picture for the way ahead of what are known as the 'voluntary carbon market.'Its insightful report on the future of voluntary carbon offsets had this to say: "Australia has shifted rapidly on international and domestic climate policy since the election of the Rudd Labor Government in November 2007. Though probably an unintended consequence, ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and fast-tracking a national emissions trading scheme are making it crunch time for the voluntary carbon market too."

Going on to suggest: "Early indications suggest the smallish voluntary market, and especially Australian-based offset origination activities for the voluntary trade, face significant collateral damage from Australia becoming a Kyoto-capped country, and from the impending introduction of a much bigger compliance market for carbon trading."

::Carbon Offset Watch via site visit.

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