Carbon credits for sale online

BY SHAHRA WALSH
Last updated 11:30 06/07/2010
forest
FOR SALE: A Christchurch man is selling carbon credits gained from this forestry land on Trade Me.

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A Christchurch man's auction for carbon credits has prompted more questions about Government policy than bids.

The auction is for 750 NZ units (NZUs) that are fully compliant with the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

The seller says on the site that the units were earned by a ``a post-1989 Douglas-fir and Pinus radiata forest in Canterbury''.

The starting price for the units was $15,000 and no bids had yet been made.

The auction has attracted several questions from members demonstrating a lack of understanding in the Emissions Trading Scheme and questioning the scheme's effectiveness to combat climate change.

Posts on the site include: "Excuse me. Are you saying the government give you money for growing trees?'', "What is a carbon credit?'' and "Is this scheme, in your opinion, going to aid awareness of global warming?''.
"Hmmm, judging by the flood of policy related questions, this little auction (of a very small amount of carbon offsets) seems to be attracting an inordinate amount of interest in the design and merits of the NZ ETS,'' the seller said.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2012 or pay for any excess.

To meet this agreement, the Emissions Trading Scheme was implemented by the Government as way to encourage businesses and consumers to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices.

Some businesses have to surrender carbon credits, or NZUs to the Government  for example, companies that mine natural gas, as this will emit greenhouse gases when it is used.

Other businesses earn NZUs from the Government, for example, owners of forests that absorb greenhouse gases.

The Government will give NZUs to some companies, eg. those  that might face significant increases in energy costs, and be unable to pass these costs on to their customers.

Paul Ford from Trade Me said carbon credits were sold online "from time to time".

"The first [auction for credits] was way back in September 2007. Then in April 2008 we had the first Kyoto 'gold standard' carbon credits on the site,'' Ford said.

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