German and US companies make first transatlantic carbon credit trade

Canadian energy company TransAlta has teamed up with the German electric company Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke (HEW) for the first ever trans-Atlantic trade of carbon dioxide emissions reductions.

The 24,000 tonne emissions reduction deal is equal to the annual emissions from approximately 3,000 cars. The actual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions will be from wind energy generated in Hamburg by HEW. The deal is in the vanguard of an emerging global greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions market (see related story)

TransAlta is an electric energy company operating in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. It aims to reduce its Canadian net emissions of ghgs to zero by 2024 using a combination of new technology, renewable resources, emissions trading and offsets. The deal between the two energy companies was arranged by Natsource, a New York broker in the US energy market.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, a company can earn ‘credits’ for carbon dioxide emissions that are either not released or are removed from the atmosphere. These credits can then be sold to other companies who will record them as a reduction of their total net emissions.

“If Canada, and indeed the US and Europe, are going to be able to meet Kyoto obligations without unduly harming our economies, making use of market mechanisms such as offsets and emissions reduction trading will be essential,” said Dr. Bob Page, TransAlta’s vice-president of sustainable development.

“The trading mechanism ensures that greenhouse gas reduction projects are carried out where they are most cost-effective,” said Dr. Helmuth-M. Groscurth, head of the project group on environmental certificates at HEW. “Emissions reduction trading is an interesting new field of business for HEW. It may very well complement HEW’s newly developed energy trading activities.”


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