April 22, 2002

G8 Environment Ministers' meeting serves as model for creative GHG emissions trade

As a means of making the recent G8 Environment Ministers meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-neutral, the federal government purchased emission reduction credits from an energy-efficient housing project in South Africa. Environment Minister David Anderson announced the purchase just prior to the April 12-14 meeting in Banff, Alberta. The transaction was facilitated by CO2e.com, a greenhouse gas brokerage agency and wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cantor Fitzgerald Group.

"Canada is committed to finding innovative partnerships and solutions to fight the challenges of climate change," Anderson said. "These projects demonstrate how the government and the private sector can partner to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also investing in sustainable development."

Environment Canada completed a similar transaction to offset GHG emissions associated with last month's meeting of the Health and Environment Ministers of the Americas. In this case, the emission reduction credits were purchased from a biomass power generation project in Brazil. Both projects reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air emissions, while delivering high sustainability and social benefits.

GHG emissions associated with both meetings were calculated at 1,900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (taking into account air travel, car travel and hotel accommodation). These emissions-comparable to the amount of greenhouse gases generated by 273,000 vehicle round-trip commutes-were neutralized through the purchase of emission reduction credits from the South African housing and Brazilian renewable energy projects. Emission reductions will also be retired through the Voluntary Challenge and Registry Inc, Canada's national greenhouse gas emissions registry.

"These projects illustrate the power that emissions trading brings to enabling greenhouse gas reductions," said CO2e.com managing director Corinne Boone, who facilitated the transactions. "Environment Canada has taken a leadership role in demonstrating how emission reductions can be achieved by offsetting the emissions associated with international meetings. In addition, these trades show that investing in emission reductions can truly effect global environmental solutions," she added.

Dr Lilia Abron, president of PEER Africa (pty), the engineering firm working to implement the energy-efficient housing in South Africa, said funds from the sale of the emission reductions will be used to purchase ceilings, insulation, and other energy efficient features to be installed in the homes.

"The new passive-solar designed homes and community facilities to be built under this project will provide significant improvements in the quality of life, health and well-being of the occupants. At the same time, the energy efficient operation of these homes will help protect the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been produced," Dr Abron said.

Environment Canada's purchase of Brazilian emission reductions for the Health and Environment Ministers of the Americas meeting will support a renewable energy project being constructed by Piratini, CGDE, Koblitz Energia SA. Wood processing residues, which were formerly discarded, will now be used to generate electricity.

"This emissions trading illustrates the potential for integrating renewable energy projects with sustainable development in developing nations," said Carlos de Mathias Martins Jr, director of Ecoinvest, representing the biomass project in Brazil. "The international nature of this emissions trading demonstrates how countries and corporations can co-operate to attain meaningful and mutually agreeable environmental benefits."

Environment Canada took other measures to ensure the environmental sustainability of the G8 Environment Ministers meeting, including the purchase of wind power from the Calgary-based energy company Enmax to offset electricity used during the meeting.

CO2e.com specializes in providing market-based solutions to help companies manage the opportunities and risks of climate change. The firm's worldwide team of greenhouse gas transaction agents and marketplace technology experts are supported by its online presence at www.CO2e.com.

Further details on GHG emission reductions projects can be found on the Environment Canada G8 Web site at www.ec.gc.ca/g8env2002. More information is also available from Corinne Boone, managing director of CO2e.com, 416/350-2177.

The G8 Environment Ministers meeting, hosted by Anderson, was held as part of the international community's preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4. It provided the Ministers an opportunity to discuss several issues related to sustainable development.

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