Carbon Market Sags, But New Options On Horizon

The Chicago Climate Exchange is downsizing its operations, but it plans to roll out a new program for carbon offsets in 2011

The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), which ran the only national carbon-trading market in the U.S., is scaling back its operations.

But no-tillers still wanting to sequester carbon and sell the credits — in spite of the low prices and demand for them — may have some options available next year.

The CCX announced it will initiate an “Offsets Registry Program” for 2011 and 2012. It will operate independently of previous CCX phases and include a publicly available registry and transfer mechanism to process transactions.

Ag projects, like carbon sequestration or those that destroy methane from manure management, will still be eligible, CCX spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin says.

No additional details about the program were available as this edition of No-Till Farmer was being printed, but they’ll be posted at as they become available.

Other Opportunities

No-tillers may also find opportunities to sell carbon credits through regional entities, to the extent agricultural projects are part of the discussion.

These groups include the California-based Climate Action Reserve; Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic; the Western Climate Initiative in the West and Canada; or the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord that includes Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Manitoba.

In May, the groups said they were sharing experiences in the design and implementation of regional cap-and-trade programs and exploring the potential for further collaboration.

Some observers say the regional markets can succeed because they don’t require a buy-in from all 50 states, and more cohesion would be possible in…

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John dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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