Even though the Kyoto Protocol has over since 2012, the idea of carbon credits still exists and is still traded to this day for a modest price. While most of the reason behind the continuation of the idea of carbon credits is based on the fact that it introduced a new product to the market, it was also certainly a good idea when it came to environmentalism. Certain aspects of the idea are now changed and being handled by other individuals; the main idea behind the project still lives on. Now though it’s more along the lines of a volunteer service.
Carbon credits themselves have not changed very much since the ending of the Kyoto Protocol. They still allow the business to say they have cleaned up one tonne of carbon dioxide or an equivalent amount of another greenhouse gas. This does not mean that the greenhouse gases were not introduced into the atmosphere, it just means that the company has offset the pollution with an environmentally friendly project that minimizes the effects of greenhouse gases.
Carbon credits are now made on either a volunteer basis or, in some countries that decided to stick with requirement for businesses in their country, a mandatory basis. This new idea of a voluntary service is what developed a new type of standardization. Some of these standards are:
- The Gold Standard is one such foundation that verifies if carbon credits are real or fakes. They also setup some Clean Development Mechanisms which allows them to create some carbon credits themselves.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency Leaders Program allows the younger population to participate in gathering carbon credits.
Amazingly enough even though the system underwent some changes the overall price of have decreased over the last several years. According to the chart prices of the credits have dropped almost steadily from 2008 to 2013. This shows an increased interest in the production of carbon credits and how many businesses really need to either reach their mandatory quota or reach some goal the company has set for itself. Currently the price for these credits is less than a price for a candy bar at the store.
The differences in how carbon credits are obtained remain the same even after the ending of the Kyoto Protocol. You still need to take it to a council and have it approved in order to have the credits count. Once verified you have to complete the task and send in a report to the council in order for the credits to become usable. The amount of carbon credits gained after the project is determined once the standards calculate the effect that the project will have on the environment. This calculation is the approximate tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that will be prevented or cleaned up by the completion of the project.
The change from the Kyoto Protocol to this new system did not bring that many adjustments. It is good to see that people still want to make an effort to change the environment. The new adjustments to the carbon credits system allowed changes in the way people thought about the carbon credits and showed people that it was more than just a method to clean greenhouse gases, it was a way to reinvigorate the soil and basically fix ecosystems that were failing.
Some groups have decided to reinstate the Kyoto Protocol in their own way by making it mandatory for certain larger firms to participate. Reinstating the Kyoto Protocol under a new name can really help the environments of the parties that do participate. One of the parties that reinstated the Kyoto Protocol under a new name is the National Emissions Trading System, which currently includes most of the European area. It includes 31 countries (28 European, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein).
With this change of monitoring systems it brought about a change that was not as wanted as the rest. Money laundering became a big thing with carbon credits, due to the fact that independent groups could “verify” carbon credits; they essentially allowed people to falsely state that they have performed a cleanup project and thus launder money. This could easily be fixed if there were government recognized standards. This money laundering is resulting in the financing of terrorist organization and should be recognized as an international issue. Another change that was brought about due to the adjustments in the monitoring system is that sometimes a cleanup project will take place in an area that deals with multiple standards or monitoring zones. While it would be possible for a project to receive approval from one source it does not necessarily mean that the business will receive approval from all necessary sources, resulting in no carbon credits being produced from the project. The solution to these issues is something similar to the original Kyoto Protocol in which they had a singular council.
The current market of carbon credits continues to expand at a rapid rate; because as businesses grow and more businesses come into existence the need for carbon credits continues to expand. Also the growing concern over the environment places an even bigger emphasis on the need for some kind of greenhouse gas emissions control. Big firms and corporations might be the only means for large scale environmental cleanup and considering they are a big problem to the environment it is nice to see the businesses participate willingly. While the unseen consequences of changing the system have been noticed, the problems haven’t deterred the growth of the carbon credit.
All in all the current state of the carbon credit system remains the same. Although the hands of power have shifted from a government to a private system, most of the rules remain the same. The increasing demand of the product does show the concern that both citizens and businesses have for the carbon credits growth. It brings about an interesting way to clean up the environment and allow new businesses to sprout from this kind of work. The name of the Kyoto Protocol remains in the history books the ideas it brought to the world stay.