Global Warming Solutions Generate Excitement at Carbon Expo

COLOGNE, Germany, May 11, 2005 (ENS) - Limiting emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is serious business, yet the effort took on a festive air today with the opening of Carbon Expo 2005 in Cologne.

The second annual fair and conference for emissions trading and the carbon market has attracted 134 exhibitors from 50 countries, and some 1,000 participants from around the world, including high level government officials, business leaders, carbon market specialists, and civil society organizations.

"The huge number of people here at Carbon Expo shows that the carbon market is maturing," said Joke Waller-Hunter, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. "When looking at the latest scientific evidence on climate change a sense of urgency must prevail. We must prevent dangerous interference with the climate system before it is too late," she told the opening conference session.

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Exhibitors from 50 countries offer their wares on the Carbon Expo show floor. (Photo courtesy Carbon Expo 2005)
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme for the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) came into force in the 25 EU member states on January 1. The Kyoto Protocol took effect February 16.

Both regimes make use of flexible mechanisms to reduce CO2 emissions resulting from the burning of coal, oil and gas. These emissions blanket the Earth, trapping the heat of the Sun close to the planet.

The flexible mechanism allow rich countries and companies to buy emission reductions credits through climate friendly projects in either developing countries or in other industrialized countries and count those relatively low cost reductions towards their own national emissions targets.

As a result, projects in developing countries get new sources of financing for sustainable development in the energy, industrial and waste management sectors, land rehabilitation, and clean technologies. Industrialized countries can meet part of their Kyoto obligations, while the threat of climate change is reduced at lower overall cost.

These systems have given rise to a market for trading carbon dioxide emissions credits that is being stimulated by the networking taking place in Cologne.

Bärbel Höhn, Environment Minister the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia where Cologne is located, told the opening session, "Carbon Expo has become an international platform for promoting the carbon market. Emissions trading is the most powerful tool we have to deal with climate change."

The World Bank staged the event together with the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and trade show organizer Koelnmesse.

IETA chief Andrei Marco called the second Carbon Expo "a major success."

"Much has changed since Carbon Expo I last year," said Marco. "Kyoto is in force, new companies are joining the market and here we can both do business and do good for the planet."

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UK Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Margaret Beckett addresses Carbon Expo participants. (Photo courtesy Carbon Expo 2005)
"The UK has already demonstrated that de-carbonization does not have to come at economic cost," UK Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett told the opening session this morning. "There are costs of action but compared to the potential costs of climate change, these costs are moderate. The UK government firmly believes that emission trading is key in achieving our greenhouse emission reduction targets."

Several speakers called for continuity of the global carbon market beyond 2012, when both the Kyoto Protocol and the European Unions Emissions Trading Scheme are set to expire.

World Bank Senior Manager for Sustainable Development Ken Newcombe, said, "Several billion dollars are represented here in Carbon Expo - companies that want to buy carbon assets in developing countries. Twenty-five high level representatives from developing countries are offering these assets. Now is the time to create the public-private partnerships that can provide the bridge between the Kyoto era and the future after 2012."

The carbon funds featured at the expo include, among others, the European Carbon Fund, the Japanese Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the Austrian Clean Development Mechanism/ Joint Implementation (CDM/JI) Program, Eco-Securities-Standard Bank Carbon Facility, Baltic TGF, Belgium CDM/JI Tender, The World Conservation Union, IUCN Climate Fund - Denmark Carbon Facility and JI Tender, and a series of World Bank managed carbon funds.

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World Bank Senior Manager for Sustainable Development Ken Newcombe (Photo courtesy Carbon Expo 2005)
The World Bank manages more than $US850 million through different carbon funds, including the newly created Spanish Carbon Fund. Arturo Aizpiri, Spain's secretary of state for climate change, said Spain's participation, "proves our commitment to move forward in fighting climate change."

The event provides developing countries with a professional business platform, enabling them to showcase their products, technologies and services and to attract new customers.

Tree planting and renewable energy projects, fuel efficiency programs, energy efficiency software, measurement and instrument calibrating services, carbon saving project designers, validation and quality assurance companies, environmental publishers are some of the exhibitors showcasing their climate solutions.

The World Bank is supporting the participation of project developers and government representatives from 25 developing and threshold countries. Countries from Africa, Asia, North and South America and central and eastern Europe are presenting their climate friendly emission reduction projects at the Expo.

Mayor of Cologne and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Koelnmesse Fritz Schramma told the opening session, "The Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect on 16th February 2005, has made developing countries attractive once and for all as locations for projects aimed at reducing emissions and as partners in the effort to protect our climate."

Schramma said the event offers companies "an outstanding opportunity to find out how and where they can acquire emissions certificates by exporting mission-reducing technologies, thus generating additional income for their investment."

"Another focus will be on reducing the risks and uncertainties associated with private investments in projects for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing and threshold countries," he said.

Land Use Certification Standards Debut at Carbon Expo

Standards certifying land-use projects that reduce global warming while helping communities and conserving biodiversity were launched at the 2005 Carbon Expo today by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA).

The CCBA is a unique partnership among research institutions, corporations and environmental groups. The Participating Groups founded the CCBA and contributed to the development of the CCB standards. The independent Advising Institutions facilitated the revision of the draft standards based on public comments and field testing.

Participating Groups include: BP, Center for Environmental Leadership in Business at Conservation International, GFA Terra Systems, The Hamburg Institute for International Economics, Intel, The Nature Conservancy, Pelangi, SC Johnson, and Weyerhaeuser.

The Advising Institutions are: the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center of Costa Rica, The World Agroforestry Center, and the Center for International Forestry Research.

"We've seen tremendous uptake of the standards across a wide-variety of real world projects." said John Niles, manager of the CCBA and one of the authors of the standards. "We've been surprised at how excited people are about the CCB Standards."

"Several of the World Bank's BioCarbon Fund projects meet the standards. Some of the largest environmental groups in the world are already using the CCB Standards to design and implement carbon projects," Niles said.

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Giant panda in a Qin Ling Moutains deciduous forest in Sichuan, China (Photo by Liu Zhu courtesy WWF)
The State Forestry Administration of China has announced that it will use the CCB Standards to develop new projects that concurrently fight global warming, conserve biodiversity and help local communities.

The new projects will measure changes in carbon stocks, use primarily native species, and involve local communities in project design and benefit sharing.

The new multiple-benefit projects will be designed for the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM allows developed countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol to invest in climate change mitigation projects in developing countries and use the resulting carbon credits against their Kyoto obligations.

State Forestry Administration's Deputy Director with the Carbon Sequestration Management Office, Chunfeng Wang announced, "As an agency in charge of carbon sequestration management, we would like to facilitate the combination of the CCB Standards with current Chinese Afforestation and Reforestation criteria in Clean Development Mechanism projects and promote testing and extension to other reforestation projects in China."

The SFA will work with the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, research institutes from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and other partners to implement these new projects. The Yunnan and Sichuan provincial forestry departments will be the main implementing agencies.

"We have created the potential for large-scale conservation and policy change," commented Zhang Shuang of The Nature Conservancy.

"By the end of the year, US$50 million worth of land use projects worldwide will be using the CCB Standards," said Niles. "This represents a tremendous paradigm shift in land management for many parts of the world."

Carbon Expo Will Be Carbon Neutral

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Tanzanian tree planters will offset the CO2 emissions from Carbon Expo 2005. (Photo courtesy TIST)
The organizers of Carbon Expo 2005 are planning to make the event carbon neutral by purchasing greenhouse gas emission reductions from the Tanzania Small Group Tree Plantings Project to offset emissions arising from travel and energy use associated with the event.

Thousands of farmers from impoverished areas in Tanzania are planting trees and switching to conservation tillage. As a result they restore soil fertility, create a supply of fuelwood, save capital for the future, and sequester carbon dioxide above and below ground.

Two thousand mature trees account for about 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). This will amount to large quantities of carbon emission reductions that will be available for sale to the voluntary carbon market.

Carbon sale proceeds are channeled to the local villagers by Clean Air Action Corporation through a network of rural banks throughout Tanzania.

Visit Carbon Expo 2005 online at: http://www.carbonexpo.com/

View the new CCB Standards at: http://www.climate-standards.org/standards/index.html