Climate change a huge business opportunity

May 22nd, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Climate change is not just a threat but also a huge opportunity for green businesses in developing countries through the sale of certified emission reductions (CER), a group of experts said here Thursday. Industrialised countries that have committed themselves to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions plan to achieve 25-30 percent of their target by buying CERs from developing countries, according to Y.P. Abbi, senior fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

“This is a huge opportunity for Indian businesses,” Abbi said at a seminar on the business of climate change organised by TERI and Knight International Journalism Fellowships.

The clean development mechanism (CDM) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had by May 9 this year registered 1,049 projects that were eligible for CER money, Abbi informed. They had generated over 213 million CERs at a price that could go up to 15.5 euros ($24.41) per CER.

Abbi said the money generated could give a major fillip to development of clean coal technologies in India, and encourage sectors like steel to upgrade their technologies for energy efficiency.

V. Shanmugam, chief economist at India’s first carbon trading exchange MCX, said Indian CER sellers could do better if the small ones got together and if institutional barriers to green financing were removed.

A similar point with regard to developing renewable energy in India was made by Pradeep K. Dadhich, senior fellow at TERI. He said India’s projections of renewable energy potential were based on outdated data.

Plus, generators of renewable energy still faced barriers to selling power to the grids, Dadhich said, suggesting that India follow the European model by which grids were obliged to buy power from renewable energy generators.

Rajesh Miglani, environment specialist at the New Delhi office of the International Finance Corporation, warned that firms should not base their economics on selling CERs. He referred to past volatility in demand, which had made the CER price fluctuate wildly.

CER supply also depended on a number of external factors, Miglani pointed out. “The recent earthquake in China will lead to five percent less CER supply from that country.”

Miglani and Shanmugham both said Indian firms should also look at selling voluntary emission reductions (VER) in the American carbon exchanges apart from sale of CERs, as the American market was growing rapidly.

But the uncertainities would remain, Miglani said. “Do carbon credits have a rosy future or none at all? We don’t know.”

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