Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Government Abandons Shunned Carbon Offset Assurance Scheme
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced that it will close its Quality Assurance Scheme for Carbon Offsetting. The move will be welcomed by the vast majority of carbon offset providers and customers who declined to participate in the scheme since its outset.
Despite a consultation exercise in 2007 and 2008 to which many carbon offset market participants responded, the Quality Assurance Scheme refused to include popular carbon offset credits certified by organisations such as the Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard.
Providers of these verified emission reduction (VER) credits argued that DECC’s refusal to approve these credits was confusing and counter-productive, as these credits tend to be most popular with voluntary offset customers and meet all of the conditions laid out by DECC for quality carbon offset credits. What is more, these carbon credit types provide much needed finance for clean energy and forestry projects in the developing world. As a result, members of the industry body ICROA declined to apply for accreditation under the Quality Assurance Scheme. [Carbon Clear is a Founding Member of ICROA.]
Only nine other organisations participated in the scheme, and many of these providers offered VERs alongside the scheme’s approved credits, leaving consumers and businesses confused when comparing different carbon offset schemes. Despite initial projections, the scheme was never able to become self-sustaining, requiring DECC to part-fund the scheme.
In a statement, DECC announced that “the carbon market has moved on substantially since the introduction of the QAS and DECC now believe it is for the market to set best practice for carbon offsetting”. DECC confirmed it will no longer provide financial support for the Quality Assurance Scheme and that it will close on 30 June 2011.
Mark Chadwick, CEO of Carbon Clear says, "Carbon Clear is internationally recognised as a best practice provider of carbon offset credits, and by working with us businesses looking to ensure that their carbon offsets are certified, real and permanent can offset with confidence."