ETS on hold results in some carbon traders promoting VCS to New Zealand forest owners.
Parties are trying to promote the voluntary carbon standard (VCS) www.v-c-s.org now the ETS is under review. They are saying to NZ foresters that they can receive credits for pre 2008 radiata forests. These statements provide one example of the need to promote better understanding and complete information. The following relates to the VCS, other standards exist, each with its own issues.
The VCS standard requires the forester to prove that the project (forest) was undertaken with some reliance on the environmental benefit, and therefore reliance on receiving credits. This is quite rigorous and has several potential tests, but at present there is only one which is available. This is the project test which is a “barrier test” .. Overcoming a barrier analysis relates to proof of constraints overcome by the injection of the credits. A good overview of this standard was recently undertaken in New Zealand by the University of Canterbury Forestry School (Merger and Williams) where they point out the final issue, ‘the project proponent must give evidence that his/her activities are NOT common practice‘ (www.fore.canterbury.ac.nz/research) . Clearly radiata planting is common practice in New Zealand and therefore we believe unlikely to pass the projects test to receive VCS credits.
Such an exercise has the potential to be a considerable waste of time and resources, not to mention forest owners hard earned money. The true cost of applying the VCS, both initially and for the required reviews must be factored in as well as any buffers (held back credits) under the VCS. The methods available to measure the carbon are NOT the system of ETS, the use of look up tables, nor the use of current NZ forestry practices. The only current options are the United Nations approved methodologies which are used for projects in developing countries(the A/R CDM). EITG has applied CDM methodologies for UN registration. These are not an undertaking to be taken on lightly.
Environmental Intermediaries & Trading Group Limited has come to the view that the proliferation of new companies offering services in this area is generating a real need for disclosure of standards and ultimately a code of practice to ensure potential clients receive proper advice. EITG will be publishing the standards/links on its web site shortly to assist foresters and others to see where the standards come from and to answer questions.
Further information on Carbon Trading the NZETS and Kyoto can be found at www.eitg.co.nz
For further information contact:
Environmental Intermediaries & Trading Group Limited
Ph: 09 9201092