At out of cli­mate change

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business -

Politi­cians are be­gin­ning to think proac­tively about the car­bon emis­sions pro­duced at sites such as coal-fired power sta­tions

Keep it cool Ice cream fans can now off­set on the go

For those who want to off­set their own car­bon foot­prints, a tech­no­log­i­cal break­through could make it as easy as tap­ping an app.

Within the next year, soft­ware de­vel­oper Po­sei­don hopes to use blockchain to track pre­cisely the car­bon foot­print of pur­chases and au­to­mat­i­cally fun­nel an off­set charge to projects which boost sus­tain­abil­ity.

Po­sei­don hopes that peo­ple will one day be able to check their car­bon score the same way they might check their bank bal­ance.

For now, ice cream lovers of car­bon al­lowances to cover the green­house gas emis­sions they pro­duce every year.

As the num­ber of al­lowances shrinks with each suc­ces­sive phase, Europe’s most pol­lut­ing com­pa­nies have a clear in­cen­tive to in­vest in car­bon-cut­ting to­day to avoid rising costs to­mor­row.

As with any com­mod­ity, the health of the mar­ket de­pends on the bal­ance be­tween sup­ply and de­mand.

Un­like phys­i­cal com­modi­ties, the num­ber of al­lowances to be bought and sold by the en­ergy and man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries was de­cided in Brus­sels.

It was a cal­cu­la­tion based on pre-crash eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity which left a glut of al­lowances left over as economies con­tracted and in­dus­try slowed.

The price steadily fell from around €32 (£28) shortly af­ter the mar­ket can off­set the car­bon in­ten­sity of their Ben & Jerry’s or­ders at its War­dour Street store in London’s Soho. For a cou­ple of pence on top of the cost of a scoop cus­tomers can pay for the car­bon cred­its equal to the cli­mate im­pact of pro­duc­ing and sell­ing the snack. The sys­tem works by as­sign­ing the car­bon im­pact of each prod­uct with an op­tional car­bon charge for the shop­per.

These charges are added to the cus­tomer’s pro­file and the blockchain is up­dated with all the trans­ac­tion de­tails. The con­tri­bu­tions are chan­nelled to Eco­sphere, which raises money to re­place forests. Shop­pers in Swansea’s Ox­ford Street; a £1.3bn City Deal aims to breathe fresh life into it through 11 ma­jor in­vest­ments launched in 2006 to less than €3 by early 2013, amid wide­spread calls to scrap the scheme. Ne­go­ti­a­tions to agree an over­haul took years. Since Brus­sels in­ter­vened, prices have be­gun to rise again.

Last week, the Eu­ro­pean car­bon mar­ket was just 11 cents shy of the €16.34/t set on June 9 2011. It is a piv­otal turn­ing point which the world is watch­ing care­fully.

Still, gov­ern­ments need to face re­al­i­ties if they are to close the gap be­tween cur­rent price ex­pec­ta­tions and what’s needed to achieve the two de­grees Paris goal.

The world’s ex­ist­ing car­bon trad­ing schemes cover only about half the emis­sions of each par­tic­i­pat­ing re­gion, which trans­lates to about 15pc of an­nual global green­house gas emis­sions.

The EU aims to cut emis­sions by 40pc against 1990 lev­els by 2030, but an­a­lysts at Car­bon Tracker, a fi­nan­cial think-tank, cal­cu­late that a 55pc re­duc­tion is re­quired to align with the Paris Agree­ment.

A fresh re­port from the body pub­lished ear­lier this year found that car­bon prices would need to av­er­age €45-€55 per ton of car­bon for a sus­tained pe­riod to drive coal and

‘Car­bon pricing mech­a­nisms with ro­bust pricing lev­els are prov­ing to be essen­tial el­e­ments of the tool­kit’

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