Australia makes waves in the international carbon market

by Astrid Edwards

Last week Net Balance attended the Carbon Forum Asia, held in Bangkok, 30 – 31 October. The forum focused on the state of the global carbon market, and the potential to develop new market mechanisms to tackle climate change. Given the current state of the international markets, with most prices near their lowest points and no near-term solution at hand, enthusiasm for significant progress in the next negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha in late November was muted.

However, the future linkage between the Australian Carbon Price Mechanism (CPM) and European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme was a major discussion point, and if successful, is seen as the prototype for expanding the international carbon market outside of the constraints of the Kyoto Protocol and the stalled UNFCCC negotiations.

Indeed, links between the CPM and California’s Emissions Trading Scheme (Ca ETS), and of course the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) are also being considered. If these come to pass, Australia – as the only jurisdiction with a national, government-backed emissions trading scheme that is linked to both the major European and North American carbon markets – could possibly become a carbon market hub, trading across time zones, regions and markets.

 Neil Salisbury, Director at Net Balance, participated in a panel that included representatives from IETA, GDF Suez, Shell, UNFCCC and the Centre for European Policy Studies. Neil discussed the role of new market mechanisms, including the recognition, measurement and quantification of co-benefits and the positive outcomes associated with offset projects. This is particularly relevant in the Australian context under the Carbon Farming Initiative.

 Evan Stamatiou, Senior Associate at Net Balance, was also on the program and moderated a panel on regional policy and markets in the East Asia. The panel included representatives from Norton Rose, Stanwell, Cool nrg and the Carbon Market institute. Once again, the Australian (and New Zealand) markets were at the forefront of discussion.

Now that Carbon Forum Asia is over, Net Balance will be present at Carbon Expo Melbourne, running from 7 to 9 November 2012. Senior Associate Cameron Neil will present on sustainable palm oil and the role of offsets in the supply chain.

Astrid Edwards is a Senior Associate at Net Balance (, 
one of the world’s leading sustainability advisory firms.
Astrid is based in Melbourne