Carbon Offset Plan lacks Basic Understanding of Carbon Standards

National Treasury’s Carbon Offset Paper published for public comments in April is a step in the right direction although it requires a basic understanding of the carbon standards that are proposes to be included in the offset mechanism says Henk Sa, Partner at EcoMetrix Africa. Four standards are proposed to be included: Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Gold Standard (GS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS).

It is important to note that the GS and CCBS are not actual standards under which emission reductions can be certified but rather operate as add-ons that can be applied on top of the CDM and VCS.

The GS consists of a number of additional requirements that is placed on CDM and VCS projects and is limited to activities within Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Waste Handling and Disposal and Land Use and Forests sectors. The CCB Standard on its own does not lead to the delivery of quantified emissions reductions certificates and should be used in combination with CDM and VCS.

The use of offsets, a cap and trade mechanism included in the carbon tax is probably the most novel feature of the tax, but for it to be effective and efficient, it is important that National Treasury takes on board advise for a full understanding of global carbon basics, something which currently is lacking.

8 May 2014