Getting Credit for Saving Trees
Carbon emissions trading credits are currently being bought and sold through the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), and through private transactions. Lacking the large-scale governmental mandates embodied in the Kyoto Protocol, which the USA has not yet ratified, participation in the privately run CCX market is strictly voluntary, and its offerings are much broader in scale and type than its big European counterpart. Buyers in the CCX market are doing so for a variety of reasons including good corporate citizenship, increased profits from energy conservation savings, business opportunity in an emerging market, public relations, local mandates, and simple moral imperatives.
The exchanges are still young, and without the official participation of the USA, market values may yet be artificially low. But the increased public awareness of the seriousness of global climate change will only enhance the value of measures proven to reduce emissions. Projections of the future price of carbon emissions trading credits vary widely, but all agree they can only go up in value.
No other developing country (and few developed ones) has the high standards and stringent monitoring system that Costa Rica has created. None have its 20-year track record of scientifically proven success. Surely the carbon emission trading credits FONAFIFO has offered for sale through the Pax Project must be considered the “blue chip” standard in the market for avoided tropical deforestation. Tropical forest preservation is a bargain when compared with capital-intensive reforestation, carbon capture and storage and technological fixes.