TheCompensators* - Be carbon conscious – delete emissions!

We have deleted another 1,895 pollution rights

The last few days have been exciting for the Compensators*. After being mentioned in Tagesspiegel and an interview with our chair woman Antonella Battaglini in taz (German newspapers), we have proceeded to delete pollution rights for 1,895 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

Altogether, we have removed 17,171 emissions certificates from the market so far! And with the help of your donations, it can be even more.

(Deutsch) Die “taz” schreibt über Compensators*

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(Deutsch) 319 Tonnen CO2 aus dem ETS „geschubst“

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GEO talks about us!

Scientific magazine GEO mentions us in an article about how everybody can contribute to climate protection! Read about our “uncommon way” (in German) and don’t forget to compensate!

TheCompensators* turn 10!

Celebrating our ten year anniversary, we have ten special facts about TheCompensators* for you!

1. In the last ten years we have deleted 15.267 tons of CO2!

2. Joining TheCompensators* keeps the air fresh and raises the spirits 🙂

3. Phineo recommends us: We make a difference!

4. We are not like most organisations that enable you to compensate your emissions: We compensate in our own backyard!

5. TheCompensators* were funded in 2006 by scientists of the Potsdam Institute.

6. Last year we collected donations with a Crowdfunding campaign, bought certificates for all members of the European Parliament and delivered some of them personally!

7. Also, we are becoming part of scientific interest: last year TheCompensators* appeared in a scientific paper about behavioural research concerning donations: Can Nudges be Transparent and yet effective?

8. At Bonsum you can make your shopping sustainable, collect points and give them to TheCompensators*! You can find us on PlanetHelp and Gooding, too!

9. Actually, the EU ETS is not supposed to be accessed by civil society – TheCompensators* participate anyway.

10. And last but not least: Christmas season is coming! Give your beloved a piece of climate protection by deleting CO2-certificates in their names!

A fixed price for the ETS

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Another 2960 pollution rights removed from the market

TheCompensators* have deleted  pollution rights for 2960 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

Altogether, we have removed 15,267 emissions certificates from the market so far!!

Another 1190 pollution rights removed from the market

TheCompensators* have deleted  pollution rights for 1190 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

Altogether, we have removed 12,316 emissions certificates from the market so far!

Ökonomen zweifeln an der Marktstabilitätsreserve

Die Umweltökonomen Prof. Dr. Grischa Perino und Maximilian Willner von der Universität Hamburg haben die Wirkung der Marktstabilitätsreserve auf den Zertifikatehandel untersucht und äußern Zweifel, dass der neue Mechanismus tatsächlich zur Reform des EU Emissionshandelssystem (ETS) beiträgt. Maximilian Willner fasst die aktuellen Forschungsergebnisse für TheCompensators* zusammen:

Mit der Verabschiedung des EU ETS Reformpakets im Sommer 2015 wurde unter anderem auch die Einführung der sogenannten Marktstabilitätsreserve (MSR) beschlossen. Die MSR nimmt zeitweilig Zertifikate vom Markt und verringert so vorübergehend die vorhandene Menge an ungenutzten, überschüssigen Zertifikaten.

Dieser Mechanismus soll einerseits den Überschuss an ungenutzten Zertifikaten im Markt reduzieren und so zusätzliche Anreize zur Investition in klimafreundliche Technologien setzen. Andererseits soll er das Handelssystem robuster machen und einem plötzlichen oder länger anhaltenden Preisverfall im Zertifikatehandel entgegenwirken, beispielsweise infolge sinkender Nachfrage im Zuge von Wirtschaftskrisen. Unsere Forschungsergebnisse stellen beide Funktionen infrage.

In unserem aktuellen Forschungsbeitrag “The price and emission effects of a market stability reserve in a competitive allowance market” vergleichen wir ein Szenario mit MSR und ein Szenario ohne Reform. Dabei zeigt sich, dass die MSR durch Markteingriffe den Preis für CO2 wie gewünscht erhöhen kann, aber nur kurzfristig. Mittelfristig werden die Emissionszertifikate wieder billiger, weil die MSR aus dem Handel genommene Zertifikate nicht zerstört, sondern sie wieder ausschüttet. Die Gesamtmenge der im EU ETS ausgegebenen Zertifikate bleibt also letztlich gleich. Das geringere mittelfristige Preisniveau könnte dann unerwünschte Folgen für langfristige, klimafreundliche Investitionsentscheidungen insbesondere von Energieunternehmen haben.

Ebenso zweifelhaft ist, ob die MSR das EU ETS tatsächlich robuster gegenüber Preisverfall infolge von Schocks oder Wirtschaftskrisen machen kann. Nach unseren Berechnungen könnte die MSR die Folgen von Nachfrageschwankungen im EU ETS unter Umständen sogar verstärken und die Zertifikatspreise noch stärker ausschlagen lassen als bisher.

“Die Zeit” compensates enquiry for Paris climate reporting with TheCompensators*

German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” is publishing a “climate series” on the Paris climate conference. All emissions related to their enquiry from travelling and production have been compensated through TheCompensators*!

Die Zeit - Klimaserie kompensiert über TheCompensators*Unfortunately, they forgot to put a disclaimer in their online version, but here’s a snippet from their print edition.

We have deleted more than 10,000 pollutions rights!

Compensate!TheCompensators* have deleted more than 10,000 pollution permits since their creation in 2006. This means that we have prevented the pollution of more than 10,000 tonnes of CO2.

To be more exact: with our last cancellation of today, we have removed 11,126 emissions certificates from the market. (See our newest our newest account statement which confirms that we deleted 1140 pollutions permits this time.)

We are grateful to all our supporters that have helped us reach this amazing figure!

If you want to compensate now and raise your voice for climate protection and a strong reform of the European Emissions Trading Scheme, donate now and help us delete more emissions rights!

e-politik.de: Carbon Reform for the Climate

On e-politik.de, TheCompensators* explain the link between the world climate summit COP 21 in Paris and the need for a reform of the European Emissions Trading Scheme.

Read more…

European Parliament adopts CO2 market stability reserve

The European Parliament has made an important step towards a reform of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). On Wednesday, 9 July 2015, The plenary session adopted the creation of a so-called CO2 market stability reserve. This reserve is intended to stabilise the price of pollution allowances from 2019 onwards and could be, if properly implemented, an important element to make the ETS a tool effectively helping to mitigate climate change and to raise funds for adoption to climate change.

For further details, have a look at the EP’s press release.

10 years of EU ETS – Looking forward!

Using the economic concept of demand and supply for CO2-emissions is genious. Nevertheless, the European Emissions Trading Scheme does not provide sufficient incentives for market participants to invest in low carbon options rather than buying cheap emission certificates. The EU ETS desperately needs to be reformed! On the occasion of its 10th birthday we look back on the different periods, solutions already in place and ideas worth to discuss.

Read about the ICCG’s view of the market stability reserve and the institute’s interesting thoughts about the ideas of one global ETS. Also, the consultancy Ecofys proposes a new approach of how allowances could be allocated, called “Dynamic Allocation”. And Carlo Carraro, Director of the Climate Impacts and Policy Division of the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change (CMCC), has written a brief history of the ETS. Enjoy!

Whatever the future of the EU ETS may be – TheCompensators* already provide the possibility to contribute to a better EU ETS: Compensate now!

The reform comes in 2019

The draft reform encompasses implementing a regulation mechanism, called market stability reserve (MSR), within the emissions trading scheme in January 2019. Experts anticipate that this step will improve the EU ETS – a development that is urgently needed due to the ambitious climate targets of the EU until 2020.

Time and backloading

The market stability reserve is a mechanism to regulate demand and supply of EU allowances. Whenever there is a surplus of emissions certificates, less new allowances will be given out. Once the price increases significantly, new certificates would be released.

„The MSR deal is a historic first in that it sees MEPs and Member States agree to make a Commission proposal more ambitious (usually MEPs fight to beef it up and Member States succeed in watering it down)“, says Energypost.eu. Although: “MEPs and the Latvian Presidency also agreed that so-called “solidarity allowances”, amounting to 10% of the annual total and allocated to certain EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe, would be exempt from the reserve until 2025″, says a EU press release from May 6th.

The MSR also affects the so-called „backloading“. In 2014 the commission had taken 900 million certificates off the market in order to stabilize it. These certificates have not lost their price, though. They were stalled and are supposed to re-enter the market in 2019-20. Now they will be directly transfered into the MSR.

Environmentalists want more, industry wants less

Sandbag stated in a press release that the draft was a step in the right direction, but requested more: “Sandbag calls on Member States to cancel a significant volume of allowances as part of the post 2020 package to be discussed during the rest of 2015.“

Eurofer, the European Steel Association, statet in a press release, it was „seriously concerned over earlier introduction of Market Stability Reserve in 2019“ because of the anticipated increasing price of EUAs: „This will cause EU steelmakers to face even tougher times with regards to their international competitors which do not face similar CO2 costs.“

Extend it!

Eurofer refers to the phenomenon of „carbon leakage“ which has to be largely discussed at the COP21, the climate negotiation which is taking place in Paris in December 2015. Carbon leakage describes the result of companies outsourcing their power plants to countries with low ecological standards compared to stricter political climate conditions in their own countries.

That is why we need to push emission trading schemes further ahead. Some systems work, as is shown by the Canadian-Californian trading scheme that recently even included the transport sector. As long as these options are merely the subjects of discussions, the market stability reserve might at least be a step on the long way for the EU to improve the system by regulatory measures.

Benchmark surpassed

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in March 2015 global carbon dioxide concentrations surpassed 400 ppm (parts per million) for the first time since the starting of measuring such trends in 1880.

Keep in mind: The consequences of CO2 emissions are being discussed politically since the early 1990s. Yet in this time global CO2 emissions have increased by 60%. We are putting our planet at stake. What can we do? Compensate!

Read this article by NOAA for more information about this trend that soon we won’t be able to turn around anymore.

One warm German winter

According to a recent study ordered by the Federal Environmental Agency CO2-emissions in Germany have decreased by 4.3 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. That makes a total of 41 million tons of CO2. More importantly: In 2014 CO2 emissions by households, transports and industry added up to 912 million tons of CO2 – a reduction of 27 percent compared to 1990 and the first decline since 2010. Until 2020 Germany has set the target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990.

The decline however is not due to revolutionary savings by enforcing renewable energies, less coal-based electricity or even a higher price for CO2-emission certificates. No, this decline has been caused by something more trivial. Environment minister Barbara Hendricks has put it like this: “The trend finally goes in the right direction. The majority of the reduction is due to the mild winter in 2014. But a part of the reduction is thanks to real process in climate protection.” So really it sounds like this: The last German winter just was not cold enough. People simply didn’t heat as much as usual. Not only the cynic may now say: Warm winters show the reality of climate change.

Nevertheless, a reduction of CO2-emissions is always good news. So let’s not sit back and take things easy but continue compensating. German economics minister Sigmar Gabriel finally got it and proposes eliminating CO2-emissions certificates. TheCompensators* approve – obviously! That’s how energy transition works!

For more information check out the Federal Environment Agency’s official statement (in German).

(Deutsch) Gabriel hat’s kapiert und kopiert TheCompensators*-Idee

02 Transaction Selection-2

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Other countries, other ETS

In January 2014 California and Québec linked their carbon markets. In February 2015 all of the 73,610,528 emission certificates were auctioned, generating a revenue of $ 1,02 billion dollars which will be invested in clean energy or emission reductions. Now that’s an example for a functioning cap-and-trade-system – one that our EU ETS should not only be looking up to, but imitate.

For further information read reneweconomy’ article in English or switch to our German version.

(Deutsch) Eure Spendenbescheinigungen für 2014 sind auf dem Weg!

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Environment Committee votes for fast reform of ETS

Can the ETS be repaired? Yesterday the Environment Committee raised hopes by backing a draft law containing the market stability reserve, a mechanism to regulate the current surplus of EU Allowances on the market. The MEPs also proposed preventing the automatic return to the market, from 2019, of a portion of allowances “back loaded” last year in a separate vote.

Read more details in the German version of our blog post, or consult the Environment Committee’s press release.

10 years of Kyoto-Protocol

2015 is a year of important decisions and it will affect all of us: At the climate conference in Paris, all big industrial countries must finally commit to binding climate targets. Also, it has been ten years since the Kyoto Protocol came into force. German broadcaster ARD has thought of a little quiz – how well do you know the agreement?

Check out the questions (in German)!

Let’s not forget about another anniversary: Ten years ago the first trading period of the ETS started with 22 € per certificate (or: per tonne of CO2) – an amazing price compared to the current price-level (6-8 €). The EU commission realised too late that the amount of certificates on the market was too high. During the economic crisis the market was flooded by even more certificates and today there is a huge surplus.

Read a complete story of the ETS, published by German think tank Agora Energiewende (in German)!

Next week the European Parliament’s Committee for Environment discusses the so-called market stability reserve. Will they agree upon a reform of the ETS? Can an altered regulation mechanism repair the broken system of demand and supply?

TheCompensators* offer you the possibility to compensate CO2 beyond the institutional area. Check out how to compensate! We delete CO2 for good.

German tax office confirms TheCompensators* are of common public interest

TheCompensators*TheCompensators* are a non-profit organisation according to German law (e.V.) Every three years, the tax office of Berlin checks our financial statements to ensure that our activities are of common public interest and that our accounts match with all legal requirements. The office now has confirmed once again our status – please see the newest legal document (in German).

Another 755 pollution rights removed from the market

TheCompensators* have deleted  pollution rights for 755 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

ETS reform might already happen in two years’ time

An important reform of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) might happen a lot faster than planned so far. On Tuesday, the European Parliament’s Committee for Industry rejected a vote for a reform in 2021. Now it is up to the EP’s Environment Committee to define a position for the Parliament – and it is probable that it will suggest to the plenary to implement a reform as of 2017, i.e. in two years’ time.

The reform suggested by the European Commission aims at increasing the price of pollution. Whenever there is a surplus of emissions certificates, less new allowances will be given out. Once the price increases significantly, new certificates would be released.

For more details, please an article in European Voice.

“Deny this”

http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2014-hottest-year-on-record/

Bloomberg’s science writers Tom Randall and Blacki Migliozzi challenge all people who still deny that climate change exists. An animation created with data from the National Climatic Data Center shows in a simple but impressive way: 2014 was the hottest year since 1880.
The climate graph “shows the Earth’s warming climate, recorded in monthly measurements from land and sea over 135 years”, the page explains, “Temperatures are displayed in degrees above or below the 20th-century average. Thirteen of the 14 hottest years are in the 21st century.”
Randall pretty much summed up the main problem of these results last summer: “But the truly disturbing part isn’t that we’ve hit a new record. It’s that we live in a season of new records. This may be the the new warm normal. To find previous hottest Mays, you don’t have to search far; four of the five hottest Mays on record have occurred since 2010. More difficult is finding a cool May. The last time the month fell below its 20th-century average was 39 years ago.”
Playing this down is no longer an option. But neither is giving up. We must act now! We fight against climate change by buying emission certificates off the market. Help TheCompensators*! Contribute to cooling down our planet!

Financial statements 2011-2013 [Update]

TheCompensators* are a non-profit organisation recognised by the German state (i.e. the German tax authorities). As such, we have to submit our financial statements and tax declaration every three years. To be as transparent as possible, we publish these statements after sending them to the tax office. So here they are the financial statement for 2011, 2012 and 2013!

[Update: 18 February 2015]

In the meantime, the tax office has confirmed that TheCompensators* are of common public interest. This means remain a recognised non-profit organisation and German tax-payers can set off their donations and membership fees against their taxes!

No junk for Christmas – but climate protection

Axel und Liudmila Schleicher

Axel and Liudmila Schleicher

Already for the second time, the German company Schleicher Blechbearbeitung GmbH gives something very efficient to their customers for Christmas: deleted emissions certificates!

For company owner Axel Schleicher, buying emissions certificates off the market is the best way to contribute individually to the fight against climate change. In a letter to his customers he addresses the issue: “How much CO2 can you avoid by using energy saving lamps or installing a photovoltaic system on your roof? Unfortunately: None at all.”

This sad fact is inherent to the emissions trading scheme, he explains: the number of granted certificates exceeds the amount of actual CO2 emissions. “The amount of CO2 that you ‘save’ is not gone, your power plant operator just does not need anymore the corresponding rights to pollute and thus will sell it to somebody else who will use it eventually. TheCompensators, a non profit organisation from Berlin, instead buy and delete certificates. This amount of CO2 cannot be emitted anymore.”

TheCompensators* could not explain it in a better way! We are very happy about the generous donation and are also delighted to announce a new member – as of now the Schleicher Blechbearbeitung GmbH supports us beyond Christmas. Because it’s always CO2 compensation season.

Give deleted emission certificates as a present!

christmas-certificate-small

Are you looking for a Christmas present? Why not give something meaningful: climate protection!

The nations are debating how global warming might be limited and how the climate might be protected in Lima, Peru at the moment. To date, it once again appears that the necessary decisions will not be taken.

But you have the opportunity to become active yourself in advancing climate protection! Compensate your emissions or simply send out a signal: make a donation to TheCompensators* so that we can withdraw emission rights from the European Emissions Trading Scheme and thus reduce the amount of emissions which European industries are able to emit.

If you want to give away emission certificates as a gift, send us a quick e-mail to info@thecompensators.org after your donation. You will then receive a Christmas certificate in addition to your donation receipt.

For donations made before December 20th we’ll send out the certificates on December 23rd at the latest – by e-mail, ready to be printed!

Compensate now!

You can also shop your christmas presents online in order to support TheCompensators* – it won’t cost you a penny more. It’s really easy!

New climate targets for Germany

Two weeks ago German newspaper ZEIT expressed suspicions that the German economics minister Sigmar Gabriel might be about to bury Germany’s climate targets. Only recently, he had spoken out against “de-carbonating” due to the incompatibility with denuclearization, higher electric bills, workplaces and the subsequent need to import energy. Then SPIEGEL and Reuters informed their readers that Gabriel was in fact planning the exact opposite, i.e. that he wanted to force electricity suppliers to reduce the emissions of their coal-fired power stations. He had indeed met with company representatives and now it’s official: On Wednesday Gabriel and the German environment minister Barbara Hendricks presented a brand new climate protection package, containing a program of action, and a so called “climate-efficiency-plan” – which contains guidelines for various industries to achieve CO2-reductions. How did all of this happen so fast?

Well, according to SPIEGEL the government fears it won’t be able to fulfill its climate targets of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2020. Thus polluters must obey new binding rules.

The “Nationaler Aktionsplan Energieeffizienz“ (national action plan for energy efficiency) wants to establish three major measures (the original report in German can be found here):

1. Introducing new competitive announcements to push energy efficiency on the market.

2. Increasing subsidies for building renovation and providing tax incentives for measures designed to increase energy efficiency in buildings. As these incentives are to be provided by both the government and the federal states this step still needs to be discussed.

3. Creating networks between government, industry and commerce for energy efficiency.

Hendricks is positive concerning this new package. It would help reduce CO2-emissions by up to 78 million tons by 2020. That is more than twice the amount that can be achieved by current measures. This number is based on the estimated CO2 savings in several industries: 30 million tons of CO2 through energy efficiency in the building sector, ten million in transport, 3.6 million in agriculture and three million by planned waste management (recycling, avoidance of waste, resource efficiency). The earlier mentioned “capping” of emissions of coal-fired power stations ought to prevent 22 million tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere – however, the energy providers will obtain the right to choose how they will achieve this reduction.

Apart from the last point, the efficiency plan focuses on endorsing energy efficient measures rather than genuinely decreasing GHG-emissions where it really hurts. Still, Greenpeace Germany is quite happy with the announced goals, according to a notification on their website. But the NGO criticizes that none of the announced measures are concrete –the steps must still be put into practice and it is well known how long such processes can take.

TheCompensators* are already busily compensating CO2,whilst enabling you to do this as well. We can even help you find the perfect Christmas present: Take a look at our beautifully designed gift certificates – maybe this is the perfect gift for your beloved? And in case you’re not all about festive emotions, CO2-certificates are always a must-(not)-have! Help us to delete them!

Further 1540 tonnes of CO2 deleted

TheCompensators* have deleted  pollution rights for 1540 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

A good sign but no reason for celebration

Driving ban and decreased activities of power stations – the air in? Beijing needed to be as clear as possible for the APEC summit last week. Here, US president Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping agreed on climate targets. In 2030 China wants to begin reducing its greenhouse gas emissions for the first time and increase the share of renewable energy from currently 10 to 20 percent. As for the US, Obama aims for a reduction of pollution emissions of 26 to 28 percent until 2025. Up to now the target was a reduction of only 17 percent until 2020.

One could celebrate that fact that China and the US, being the two worst polluters of the whole planet, finally did more than just promise to participate in the fight against climate change. But their plans still have large gaps:

– As China wants to start reducing its CO2-emissions only in 2030, all the other  nations will have to compensate for that in order to achieve the two degree target.

– China considers nuclear energy as “clean energy”, for technically it does not pollute the air and thus not the atmosphere during the process of energy generation. However, how to dispose of the atomic waste on a long term basis is the problem of future generations.

– The USA now aim for a higher goal than before but have granted themselves more time. Also, the year they base their percentages on is 2005 and not 1990, like it is the case for the EU. In 2005 the CO2 concentration level in the atmosphere had become much higher compared to 1990, which makes achieving the goal relatively easier.

– Whilst Obama seems to want to establish real climate targets, these goals are not shared by his competitors at home. The Republican Party dominates not only the Senate, but since the elections last week also the Congress. Measures that might inhibit economic growth will not gain their majority.

In spite of all these objections, it is of course a good sign that China has acknowledged the fact that it must play a role in the fight against climate change, especially when it comes to the approaching UN climate summit next year in Paris when binding targets are supposed to be set.

EU countries agree on climate targets for 2030

The goal of a CO2-reduction of 35 % of the level of 1990 until 2020 is easily achieved. On Thursday the EU member states discussed this problem in Brussels and agreed on three new targets against climate change until 2030. These targets can be modified when being discussed again at the UN summit in Paris next year, but must not be softened.

1. The EU must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% of the level measured in 1990. Emissions concerning private households, transport and agriculture must be reduced by 30%.

2. Energy efficiency or rather energy savings must rise up to 27% – which is not a binding requirement.

3. The share of renewable energies must rise up to 27%. For Germany that means „at least“, Angela Merkel said in Brussels.

Germany had wished for a higher percentage but diplomacy requires compromise, the German chancellor added. As Germany’s national targets are more strict, the other targets are feasible as well, she told the press. Claude Turmes from the Green party in the EU parliament expressed his disappointment in Angela Merkel, saying she no longer seems to be an active “climate chancellor” but rather a retired one.

Environmental organizations, too, criticized the EU for the results of the summit. Also, the summit failed to deliver a real reform of the ETS, although there are plenty of possibilities to improve the EU ETS. TheCompensators* demand that the improvement of the ETS is put on the agenda. We keep working for a more efficient emissions trading system. You can help us here.

Fix it or scrap it! Report analyzes the surplus of allowances in the EU ETS

It’s not a secret that there are too many emission allowances in the EU emissions trading system. Just how many there are shows a recently published report by Sandbag. It analyzes the surplus of emission allowances built up in the EU emissions trading system. The report estimates the excess of emission allowances could reach as high as 4.5 billion by 2020, and that the planned backloading – postponing emission allowances until 2019 and 2020 – will not help enough to reduce it.

We’ve been saying for years: ‘Fix the emissions trading scheme’,” Sandbag director Bryony Worthington told the news website Responding to Climate Change. “But sadly the incentives for investment in green growth are still not there. It has now got to the stage where the ETS is so broken we are recommending ditching it unless problems are sorted out with new laws within the next 12 months.”

The report gives three recommendations how to fix the ETS:

  1. Improving the orderly functioning of the market through a market stability reserve (a mechanism regulating surplus and deficit of emission allowances) as soon as possible,
  2. Protecting the competitiveness of European industry through improvements of the free allocation rules,
  3. Increasing EU climate ambition by canceling allowances and re-calculating the post-2020 trajectory.

You can find the full report here.

Compared to the surplus, what TheCompensators* are doing might seem like a drop in the bucket. However, we are still fighting to improve the EU ETS! You can help us by donating here.

So, the price of CO2-emission certificates is low anyway…

On October 9th, chancellor Angela Merkel and the recently elected Prime Minister of Poland, Ewa Kopacz, met in Berlin for the first time to discuss issues concerning the German-Polish relationship an the EU. As anticipated, the meeting showed that it will not be easy to find an agreement on EU climate policy. Before her visit and with regard to the upcoming summit of the Council of Europe, where climate protection targets until 2030 are supposed to be decided, Ewa Kopacz had announced her use of Poland’s right of veto if these targets would bring about higher electricity bills for the Polish population. During the press conference in Berlin she explained that reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level of 2008 would be equal to a reduction of 1,74% per year, which would be hard to achieve. Angela Merkel found that to be “an important statement regarding the Polish population” and stressed that the price for CO2-emissions ranks very low currently. In fact, in 2008 assumptions calculated on 20 Euro per certificate, while today the price fluctuates between 3 and 5 Euro. If Angela Merkel is convinced that cheap certificates are an acceptable method to compensate (pun intended) a higher price of electricity, she completely misses the point of the concept. Certificates allowing to exceed the limit set for pollution must be expensive, not cheap. Accepting low priced certificates also shows an acceptance of this weak spot in the emissions trading system. Interesting remains to see if this argument will be used in Brussels as well or which solution to fix the weaknesses of the ETS will be agreed upon.
TheCompensators* participate in eliminating this weak spot by buying certificates off the market and deleting them, forcing up prices for emission certificates. For this we need your help.

Hundreds of thousands of people protest for Climate Protection

© Laura Trager

TheCompensators* are happy about these results: In the run-up to the UN Climate Change conference in New York one week ago, hundreds of thousands of people all around the world protested against climate change. In Berlin protesters danced, in New York they sang against Wall Street capitalists, and in Melbourne 30.000 of them showed their disappointment with Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s unreasonable climate policy. These events were orchestrated by Avaaz, an environmental organisation that is currently collecting signatures for a gradual reduction of CO2 emissions.

Silent Climate Parade” in Berlin

Watching the protesters from the sidelines must have been amusing: Ten thousand people accompanied the protest by bike or danced towards the Brandenburger Tor, listening to electronic dance music over headphones. “We received instructions via wifi headset“, one of the protesters explained, “suddenly they’d say `Freeze!´ and everyone would stand still. People who didn’t know about this must have thought they’re out of their minds.”

Although the protesters in the various locations addressed the same issue, in every city there were other measures to express it. While the “Silent Climate Parade” intended to denounce the ignorance of those who still deny climate change, protesters in Melbourne mainly criticised Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott. In July he repealed a law that regulates taxes for carbon emissions.

In New York, 300.000 people staged a protest that rather looked like a parade: with costumes, instruments, and whole choirs they expressed their disappointment with current climate protection policy. They sang “we’re not gonna take it anymore” and “shut down Wall Street now”. Youtube channel Acronym TV has captured impressive pictures.

Al Gore: “Political will is a renewable resource”

Celebrities such as Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, and ex vice US president Al Gore who likes to talk about “inconvenient truths” joined the protesters in New York before speaking in front of the representatives of the member states. Not all of their leaders had come: German chancellor Angela Merkel preferred to attend a festive event of the German industrial lobby.

The summit had been convened by Ban Ki-moon. His intention was not to discuss further actions concerning the Kyoto Protocol (which is scheduled for the COP at Paris in 2015) but to remind the UN of the present dangers arising from climate change. Thus, the leaders who came made vigorous speeches. US president Obama said that action must be taken immediately, especially by the worst polluters like the US and China. Germany’s Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks announced that Germany was willing to reduce its emissions by 40% compared to the level of 1990. Furthermore, she promised to withdraw development aid where it enforces coal-fired power stations. Manuel Barroso, president of the EU-commission, presented the EU’s plan to give three billion euros to developing countries during the next seven years to help them establish their sustainable energy programs.

What all these big words really mean will be revealed in Paris in 2015. But the breathtaking mobilization of environmentalists worldwide showed our world leaders that they cannot continue sweeping climate change under the carpet.

TheCompensators* offer a (little) job

This blog post does only exist in German. Please click here to read it – or contact us to help us translate it into English!

Further 1380 tonnes of CO2 deleted

TheCompensators* have deleted  pollution rights for 1380 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

Annual report 2013

Please read our official yearly report 2013 (in German only).

Berlin Appeal: Act in a Climate-neutral Way!

Berliner Appell

We need fast and resolute actions to reach the goals for climate protection. Since current politics is missing such a resoluteness, 16 celebrities from science and civil society have signed in March 2012 a joint declaration: the Berlin Appeal.

They have promised to reduce their own CO2 emissions as much as possible and to compensate for those they cannot avoid.

TheCompensators* give full support to this initiative. We believe that avoiding emissions should be the first priority. Additionally we offer the possibility to compensate for the emissions which cannot be avoided.

You can support the appeal, too! Please find here the complete text and further information.

And, do not forget to compensate your unavoidable emissions. It is really easy!

Think Tank has ambitious plans to reform ETS

According to spiegel.de, internal documents of the think tank Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), reveal ambitious plans to reform the ETS. Remarkably, MCC is headed by Ottmar Edenhofer who – as co-chair of working group III Mitigation of Climate Change at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – is one of the world’s most reputable climate researchers.

The calculations for the proposal show that a higher price for ETS CO2 emission rights would generate significant income for countries’ budgets. In turn, this could especially help southern European countries to overcome their public debt crisis. The MCC proposal has three main pillars according to Spiegel.de:

  • A minimum price for each certificate of 20EUR
  • Inclusion of transport and buildings in the ETS
  • Drastic reduction of free-of-charge distribution of certificates

TheCompensators* welcome the proposal as an important contribution to the debate on effective EU climate policy. It give a great example how ambitious climate policy can be when combined with economic action.

While Spiegel.de critically points out that consumer prices would rise due to such a high emission rights price, TheCompensators* would like to bring foward the following two arguments:

  • The neediest/poorest consumers can be sheltered from rising prices by targeted financial support instead of ignoring internalization of the cost of climate change for polluting technologies and industries. This is a standard mechanism proposed and successfully applied in developing countries that phase out subsidies on petrol or gas. From a general point of view, low CO2 prices are nothing but fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Under high CO2 prices, climate-friendly technology would develop rapidly and lower the cost for the consumers again. In addition, the resulting leadership in low carbon technologies would create additional employment  in Europe.

TheCompensators* will keep accompanying the discussion and promoting the ETS as the most advanced economic tool we have to tackle climate change. You can contribute to effective climate action and reinforce our message by donating here.

Presentation at Ökozentrum Bonn

This blog post does only exist in German. Please click here to read it – or contact us to help us translate it into English!

New emissions calculator for small and medium enterprises

This blog post does only exist in German. Please click here to read it – or contact us to help us translate it into English!

Set off your donation more easily against your taxes

TheCompensators*Donors and members of TheCompensators* have always been able to set off their donations and membership fees against their taxes (when paying taxes in Germany). That is because we are a registered non-profit organisation. And it means that the German state pays up to nearly half of your donations!

So far, we have always sent you a personalised donation receipt in the first months of every year. As more and more people are supporting our work, sending these documents has taken more and more of our time. Therefore, we are now simplifying things.

For smaller donations German tax law allows simplified donation certificates: if you want to set off your donation of up to 200 euros, it is enough to send your bank statement together with this document to the tax office.

Get started and compensate now!

European Commission suggests reforms to the ETS

On January 22nd, the European Commission has published its proposal for 2030 greenhouse gas reduction and renewables targets. The Comission’s proposal is highly controversial, with NGOs and renewables interest groups against it and industry groups very satisfied. The emission reduction target seems acceptable even though it could be more amibitous. The renewables target is very weak in comparison to the current legislation for the time until 2020.

Here the main facts:

The proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target for 2030 is a 40% reduction compared to 1990 levels. Effort sharing for non-ETS sectors shall remain to be based on a GDP-based distribution and deliver a 30% reduction compared to 2005 levels.

The ETS sector it supposed to deliver reductions of 43% compared to 2005 levels. This entails a reduction of the annual ETS cap by 2.2% per year between 2020 and 2030.

A market reserve is planned for 2021 according to the following rules:

> The reserve will be increased by 12% if this amounts to 100 million allowances, i.e. if more that 833 million allowances have been in circulation two years earlier. In other words, if 1000 million allowances are in circulation in 2022, 120 million equivalent to 12% will be put on reserve in 2024. In contrast, if only 800 million allowances are in circulation, nothing will be put on reserve.

> 100 million allowances will be released to the market if less than 400 million allowances are in circulation.

Further provisions are proposed to avoid extreme market reactions at the end of trading periods. But no details have been given yet.

After the backloading of 900 million allowances was decided in December 2013, the Commission’s proposal is finally taking the ETS reform one step further.

TheCompensators* welcome the reform, while we critizice that it seems to have come at the expense of other sustainable policies. Nevertheless, the Commission’s proposals proves that the ETS is everything but obsolete. The deletion of emission allowances makes as much sense as ever! Your donations to TheCompensators* make a difference.

Transparent deletion: New TC numbering system

The European Emission Trading System has changed and TheCompensators* have responded. Transactions with emission allowances are now handled on the European level and not on the national level anymore. As a result of the system change, the distinct identification number of each allowance is not visible to the buyer anymore. Instead, the system generates so-called transaction ID numbers per purchase or deletion order. That means that each ID number now refers to a whole package of either bought or deleted allowances.

From our point of view, the new EU ETS procedures are less transparent. After all, emission allowances only exist in form of ID numbers in the system!

The Compensators* remain true to our transparency credo. We have therefore developed our own new system for attributing distinct numbers to all the pollution rights we destroy. This is how the first deleted certificate looked after its deletion by TheCompensators*:

TC-EU138288-0001  

The letters ‘TC‘ indicate that the ID was generated by TheCompensators*. The remaining code EU138288 is the transaction ID generated by the EU ETS for the package of allowances deleted on November 27th 2013. The ordinal number -0001 indicates that this is the first deleted certificate from this particular package.

Our ID system is based on the ID numbers attributed to the deletion of pollution rights since this is the step that counts. On November 27th 2013 TheCompensators* deleted 1300 emission allowances. They had been purchased one week earlier, on November 11th 2013 with the ID number EU138065.

Each deletion procedure follows a ‘four-eyes principle’: To carry out the transaction ‘destruction of units’ in our ETS account, one authorised member of TheCompensators* has to initiate the operation and another team colleague has to confirm it.

taz: “EU parliament repairs climate protection”

German newspaper taz reports on the final decision of the European Parliament on backloading.

Their advice: don’t wait for politics and business to repair climate protection, do it yourself through TheCompensators*!

Read the whole story (in German only).

European Parliament approves backloading of pollution permits

This article does only exist in German. To read it, please click here.

Do you want to help TheCompensators* by translating the text into English?

Please write an e-mail to info_at_thecompensators.org!

Introduction of pilot carbon trading systems in China

Last week, China has launched two carbon trading schemes in Beijing and Shanghai. The country, which is a huge contributor to global climate change, plans to reduce its CO2-emissions per unit of GDP by 40% until 2020, based on the year 2005. The new platform, which was developed by taking the European Trading System as a leading example, is supposed to support this goal.

Similar to the EU system, the scheme will force companies to buy credits to cover any CO2 they emit above allocated quotas. Although there are neither binding carbon caps imposed on enterprises, nor any legal means of forcing them to participate, the schemes will function as a learning experience for local firms and governments. As many companies are state-owned, they are expected to fully participate, given the political pressure and their close relation to the local government.

In the first phase, credits will be distributed to member firms free of charge, meaning participants will only face additional costs when exceeding their quotas and having to buy certificates. Until the end of 2014, China plans to launch seven carbon trading schemes in total, including the one already in operation in the Southeastern city of Shenzhen. These pilot projects will help the country in testing policies on emissions markets before the establishment of a nationwide scheme.

Besides reducing emissions, China aims to make local industries more competitive by incentivising the investment in green technologies and climate friendly ways of production. This would lead to the creation of new, green jobs and the development of innovative technologies and products.

TheCompensators* therefore welcome the introduction of emissions trading schemes in China. Even though the systems might not lead to an immediate reduction of CO2-emissions, they will slow down their increase, and by greening the local production they will be a step forward in the transition to a green economy.

The efforts in China and other countries and regions show that the ETS serves as a role model and contributes to climate action beyond Europe’s borders. It is therefore essential that the EU reinforces its climate action efforts and improves the ETS.

By deleting emissions rights with your donation to TheCompensators* you can underline that Europe’s citizens are committed to fighting climate change and modernising their economy.

TheCompensators* Advent Calendar: Showing what is at Stake

adventskalender2013_thumbClimate scientists have warned us again and again during the last weeks: If the international community does not take robust action now, the famous two-degree target will be unattainable. If the average global temperature raises more than two degrees, this will have uncontrollable consequences.

However, governments alone won’t save the planet. The Warsaw UN Climate Change Conference showed once again how difficult it is to agree on political measures to be taken.

But we can take action already today and thus contribute to climate protection. We can take responsibility by keeping our own climate-damaging emissions as low as possible. We can also delete as many CO2 allowances as possible so that they cannot be used anymore by anyone else.

With this year’s Advent Calendar, TheCompensators* want to share some wonderful impressions of nature’s beauty and show what is at stake. All of the species in the pictures are in danger of losing their habitat as a consequence of climate change. We think they deserve our protection and immediate action.

We will therefore delete pollution permits for each day until Christmas: On December 1st we will delete one tonne, on December 2nd we will delete 2 tonnes and so on … Until Christmas will have deleted 300 CO2 allowances.

We say thank you to Jens Wieting for the fantastic pictures and invite you to compensate with us!

Further 1300 tonnes of CO2 deleted

TheCompensators* have deleted  pollution rights for 1300 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

Emission trading 2030

This week TheCompensators* attended the Florence School of Regulation Forum 2013 in Brussels. Here is our report from Europe’s capital:

At the FSR Forum 2013, European Commissioner for Climate action Connie Hedegaard gave an insight into the European Commission’s plans concerning climate action in general and the ETS in particular. Hedegaard announced that the European Commission will publish its proposal on 2030 climate action targets on January 21st 2014. In March, the EU heads of state will consider the proposal to make it the basis for the EU’s position at a UN leaders’ climate summit in September 2014 and also at the 2015 COP in Paris.

A reformed ETS for a better future

Hedegaard argued that the ETS works. She considers the low prices to be a result of the economic crisis and therefore a natural phenomenon that does not call into question the system as such. Jon Delbeke, Director-General of the DG Climate Action, added that the ETS will be a central pillar of the European Commission’s proposal for 2030 climate action targets. A structural reform of the ETS is likely to become part of the 2030-targets proposal. Different options are on the table: a linear reduction factor, permanent cancellation of excess allowances or an automatism linking the ETS to demand for allowances.

Opposing some industry claims, Hedegaard emphasized that there is no empirical evidence that the ETS is causing job losses in Europe. On the contrary, low carbon and environmental technologies are, besides health and ICT, the most promising sectors in the EU in terms of creating new jobs. In addition, Europe must be careful not to give away its front runner position on low carbon technologies since other countries are increasing their efforts in this sector.

TheCompensators* welcome the European Commission’s efforts for 2030 climate action targets and the plans to improve the ETS. We call on the European Commission to rigorously tackle the structural problems of the current design and to extend the ETS to more industry sectors. While the last word about the ETS has not yet been said, all of us can act already today – by buying and deleting ETS CO2 allowances via TheCompensators*!

New emissions price – delete more with the same amount

Compensate!The European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is still in a terrible state: pollution rights are far too cheap! To work properly and help to fight against climate change, the price for emitting one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) should be around 30 euros. Instead, the current price is as low as 4,50 Euro.

There is only one advantage of the situation: it is cheaper than ever to delete pollutions rights! TheCompensators* have been shopping again – with the help of your donations and member fees we have bought 1300 emissions certificates for 4,58 per tonne of CO2.

As always, this also defines the price for deleting pollutions rights with TheCompensators*. We add 10 percent to the price we paid to cover all our expenses. Therefore the price for deleting one tonne of CO2 with a donation to TheCompensators* will be 5,04 Euro until our next purchase.

And now hurry up to delete emissions!

TheCompensators* delete further 1196 tonnes of CO2

TheCompensators* have deleted  pollution rights for 1196 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

602 tonnes of CO2 deleted

TheCompensators* have deleted  pollution rights for 602 tonnes of CO2. Please find enclosed our newest account statement.

So much to do…

TheCompensators*TheCompensators* are a non-profit organisation – and we are all unpaid volunteers That’s why you can be sure that we are committed with our heart and soul, and that we are not interested in earning any money with TheCompensators*.

But there is also a disadvantage of working with volunteers only: Everything we do, we do it during our free time. And we do not always have a lot of it. That is what’s happening right now, and that is also the reason why you won’t find a lot of activity on our website for some weeks.

However we will continue our work! And you can be sure that we will use all the donations we receive to delete pollution rights. As soon as we will find some more spare time, we will start other new action

If you would like to get engaged with TheCompensators*: We are always looking for new volunteers!

105 pollution rights from Silent Climate Parade deleted

Compensate!As we have told you earlier, thanks to your support we have collected donations to delete 105 tonnes of CO2 at the Silent Climate Parade.

This is what we have done now: We have deleted emissions certificates for 105 tonnes of polluting CO2 from our emissions trading account.

For details, please see our ETS account statement.

105 CO2 certificates less!

partymobil

Soundsystem in motion with TheCompensators* Balloon

The Berlin Silent Climate Parade on August 24 was not only fun but also effective. TheCompensators* explained and criticized the European Emission Trading System (ETS) to all visitors to our stand and shared blue balloons with everybody who supported our climate parade campaign. Many did! With the donations collected before and during the demonstration the TheCompensators* could eventually delete 105 CO2 certificates equivalent to 105 tons of CO2 emissions.

The Silent Climate Parade took place for the fifth time. The annual demonstration attracts climate activists but also people who just like to dance to electronic music.

On August 24, the DJs rocked the street for nearly four hours with danceable beats in bright sunshine. The sound was transmitted from a mobile sound system and inaudible without headphones. Pedestrians on Kurfürstendamm, shoppers and tourists who watched the demonstration pass by saw happy people dancing and jumping but could not hear the beats and rhythms.

TheCompensators* were both visible and audible. Our blue balloons with the lable “1 ton CO2 less!” danced with us on the demonstrators’ arms. When we announced the deletion of CO2 allowances, equivalent to 105 tons of CO2 emissions, at least as many balloons burst simultaneously in the silent crowd.

dancing

A big “thank you” to Abraham!

Abraham MenaldoLast autumn, TheCompensators* welcomed Abraham Menaldo, our first intern. Nine months later and 2,227 emissions certifiactes less Abraham has returned to the United States and TheCompensators* say thank you!

Abraham came to Germany with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) and chose to join TheCompensators* for an internship as part of the fellowship program. His departure leaves its marks: We miss Abraham as part of our team. Thanks to his profound understanding of climate policy issues and his excellent language skills our German and English website was more up to date than ever.

Abraham contributed greatly to our Christmas Special 2013 and the pilote project to our Climate-neutral shopping campaign, which took place in the course of the Wirkcamp 2013 in Lüneburg, Germany. In March, Abraham travelled to Bonn, to represent TheCompensators* at the conference “Advancing the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda“. He has also left us with some great new ideas that we hope to put into action in the near future.

Last but not least, Abraham boosted our core activity. While he was our intern, TheCompensators* deleted allowances equivalent to 2,227 tonnes of CO2!

Working with and knowing Abraham was a great enrichment and luck for our cause as well as for us personally!

Thank you, Abraham!

If you are interested in an internship with TheCompensators* or if you would like to join our team of volunteers, please do not hesitate to contact us at info_at_thecompensators_dot_org!

Finally again able to delete emissions rights

Compensate!Due to changes in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, for too much time we have not been able to delete pollution rights from our account. (Of course, we had always kept them in the account, which is to the market as if they had been deleted – however we love the act of symbolically deleting them!)

Now finally we have fully restored our access to the account and have been able to delete in two steps respectively 300 and 500 emissions certificates from the ETS!

To see the confirmation, please have a look at the screen shot of our account statement!

Silent Protest and a Good Mood against Climate Change

TheCompensators* will participate in the Silent Climate Parade 2013!

Silent Climate ParadeClimate change is the single biggest problem of our time – but it is completely silent. That is why together with hundreds of other committed people TheCompensators* will once again participate in the Silent Climate Parade in Berlin!

The message is simple: we demonstrate because our biggest problem, climate change, is still unsolved. We dance because we stand for a more sustainable future that can still be fun. On August 24th, the fifth Silent Climate Parade will show once again in Berlin that a sustainable life style can be fun: Equipped with headphones dancers will move their bodies in the heart of West Berlin from 2p.m. and 5.p.m. and celebrate a good climate.

As in the last years, TheCompensators* will be part of the event. And all our friends are more than welcome to join in, to dance and demonstrate with us, and to participate in our Climate Parade Special:

All donations we receive between July 24 and August 24, 2013 will be added to a package of CO2 allowances that we will destroy during the parade.

How big this package will be and how great the fun, depends on you. So, please donate and come and dance with us!

Climate-neutral Shopping: The Video

A long long time has passed by since the Wirkcamp. Now, finally, here it is – the video that explains the idea behind climate-neutral shopping.

That’s it, just enjoy this piece of art

Many thanks to everyone who has participated – and especially to Karsten und Janis for their support until the end!

Annual report 2012

Please read our official yearly report 2012 (in German only).

Obama: US will lead climate change efforts

On Tuesday June 25th, President Barack Obama made a historic step forward against climate change when he held a speech at Georgetown University in Washington DC. During his speech, President Obama highlighted that the US must cut carbon emissions in order to protect future generations from the consequences of global warming. Obama has made the greatest step forward to tackle climate change as he presented a five point comprehensive strategy to address climate change.

Five Point Strategy

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will design rules for curbing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.
  • Promote the development of renewable energy. Department of defense, the greatest energy consumer in the country and other government agencies will also join the cause. End tax breaks for big oil companies.
  • Increase fuel standards for cars and promote less waste. Government institutions will consume less energy and have set the goal of using 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2019.
  • Improve the infrastructure of the country to withstand natural disasters. The US will invest to restore clean water delivery system, fortify shorelines and build smarter and resilient infrastructure to protect homes and buildings.
  • Lead international efforts to combat climate change. The US will encourage international organizations to end public financing to new coal plants overseas, encourage free trade on environmental goods and services and push for a new global agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

Reducing emissions from power plants would be the most significant action against climate change as power plants are responsible for a third of the US’s greenhouse gas emissions. “Power plants can still dump limitless carbon pollution into the air for free,” Obama said. “That’s not right, that’s not safe and it needs to stop.”

Concerning Obama’s speech and his plan to tackle climate change, former Vice-President Al Gore commented, “I applaud the new measures announced by President Barack Obama.” “This was a terrific and historic speech, by far the best address on climate by any president ever,” he added.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, please click here!

Backloading proposal: second round

Last week, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) voted in favor of an amended version of the so-called backloading proposal. After the proposal was narrowly rejected in April, the European Parliament’s plenary is expected to vote on backloading for the second time in Strasbourg on July 3rd.

Under the new proposal, 900 million allowances will be withdrawn from the market in order to increase carbon prices. However, according to the new amendment, carbon allowances will be reintroduced into the market in a “predictable and linear manner starting from the year following that during which allowances have last been withheld“. This is a stark contrast with the previous proposal which would have began reintroducing certificates in 2019, at the end of the trading phase. Also, the previous text included a clause which dictated that there was the possibility for the 900 million allowances to be removed from the market all together. This clause was unfortunately taken out of the amended text. All revenues raised from auctioning allowances will go to fund investment in research and development of low carbon technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).

On the new proposal, the Committee agrees that by 30 June 2015, the Commission shall forward to the European Parliament and to the Council a feasibility study. This study will include a cost-benefit analysis of climate change policies based on instruments other than market mechanisms, including the introduction of a carbon tax at the EU’s borders.

Point Carbon, a leading provider of market intelligence, news, analysis and advisory services for the energy and environmental markets, made a forecast
of the future prices for allowances until the end of the third phase. The forecast showed that the average price of carbon allowances will be € 6.3, making very little difference to the current prices.

The backloading proposal is only a tiny step in fixing the ETS in the short term… Still, in the current situation, we at TheCompensators* believe that a tiny step is better than no step at all! The EU must show that a change is taking place and the ETS is not left to collapse, especially when other countries are looking at the EU to take decision on starting their own carbon markets. A negative vote by the European Parliament would bring global climate policy backwards!

Indian corporate giants embrace solar energy

Earlier this month, Coal India, known as the world’s largest coal company, made a surprising statement when the firm declared it would invest in the installation of solar PV panels in an attempt to reduce energy bills and cut costs. Coal India, which produces more than 80 percent of Indian’s coal is planning to build a 2 megawatt solar plant which will have the potential to supply excess electricity to the grid. This is a remarkable statement as the large firm is not only turning to solar energy as an efficient business practice, it understands India cannot power itself by coal.

However, Coal India is not the only firm who is looking at renewable sources to cut costs, other large firms are following their footsteps. Companies that are already using solar energy include Maruti Suzuki, the country’s biggest car maker  and the local branches of Dell and IBM. Neyvili Corp, another state owned coal company and Oil India, are considering the use of renewable energy. Neyvili, for instance, has proposed to build a 10MW solar PV plant with an option to upgrade to a 25MW facility.

Tata Group, an Indian multinational conglomerate company, is heading a thriving solar business. Ajay Goel, the head of Tata Power Solar Systems, stated that solar installations represents a market of around 80 billion rupees ($1.4 billion). Goel said that many of the biggest companies in the country are turning to solar because it is cheaper than energy coming from the grid.

According to the US Energy and Information Administration (EIA) 57 per cent of India’s electric power capacity comes from coal. Though India has the fifth-largest reserves in the world, the country consumes a large amount of coal from foreign countries such as Australia, Indonesia and South Africa reaching a record high of 135 million tonnes in 2012. Nonetheless, with such a high supply of coal, India’s carbon tax, meant to aid solar power development, does affect the price significantly. According to the Indian government, solar power could be cheaper than coal by next year.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

TheCompensators* featured on Deutschlandfunk

Today at 11:41 am, Deutschlandfunk has broadcast a report on TheCompensators*. In an interview Giulia Carboni and Florian Oel described our organization and talked about our committment in reducing CO2 emissions in Europe through the ETS system.

Giulia and Florian emphasized the idea of compensation and highlighted its importance. Each citizen in Germany emits 11 tonnes of CO2 per year. With this figure in mind, everyone should be conscious enough to pay for his or her CO2 emissions, remarked Florian.

Through donations, TheCompensators* are able to buy emission allowances. By purchasing and subsequently deleting CO2 allowances, TheCompensators* have been able to delete a total of 5,000 tonnes of CO2, which equals the CO2 emitted by 400 German citizens in one year. However, this is not enough as there is still a surplus of allowances in the system.

Concerning the new backloading reform proposed yesterdays in Brussels, meant to heal this very oversupply of allowances, both were in hopes of a stronger reform. The revised ETS reform is weaker that the first proposal, as the amendments have watered it down, stated the team.

If you would like to support our organization and compensate for your emissions, click here!

Obama in Berlin says US is committed to stop climate change

In a crowd of approximately 5,000 expectators, President of the US Barack Obama, held a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. In his speech, Obama made a recap of the German/American partnership and friendship that was created after the end of World War II which still continues and thrives today. He made declarations in two areas of most importance to Germany due to the country’s historical past and current goals: reduction of nuclear head stockpiles and increasing efforts to prevent climate change.

Concerning climate change, Obama emphasized the US’s commitment to stop climate change. “In the United States, we have recently doubled our renewable energy from clean sources like wind and solar power.  We’re doubling fuel efficiency on our cars.  Our dangerous carbon emissions have come down.” He recognized however, that the US, as the worlds second largest emitter of carbon emissions, must contribute even further. “But we know we have to do more — and we will do more,” he stated.

Obama acknowledged that climate change is detrimental to all humans and has exacerbated climate phenomena. “Climate change….affects all nations [and causes] more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise.” “This is the global threat of our time,” he affirmed. “And for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late.” However, comparing Obama’s determination to reduce nuclear weapons by one third through agreements with Russia, not a single goal was highlighted during his speech to tackle climate change.

This lack of a comprehensive plan to avert climate change was also seen at the two-day G8 conference between leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the USA and the UK. Although French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed for the leaders to address climate change, the focus centered on the conflict in Syria, trade talks, and measures to enhance tax transparency and tackle evasion. At the G8, Obama made it clear that climate change should be averted, but no tangible measures were suggested.

At the communique released at the end of the G8 conference, leaders agreed that decisions on climate change will be delayed until the UNFCCC meeting in 2015. Until then world leaders will not take major steps to counter climate change.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

China launches first out of seven pilot carbon markets

China, the world’s largest CO2 emitting country, is one step closer to capping its pollution as the first pilot carbon market in Shenzhen started operations today. The seven other trading schemes of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hubei will start operations later this year. In total, China’s 7 pilot projects are set to regulate 800 million to 1 billion tons of emissions by 2015. China’s National Development and Reform Commission will oversee emission exchanges and monitor prices.

The Shenzhen pilot will include 635 companies of the region which account for 26 per cent of the city’s GDP adding up to 30m tonnes of CO2 per year. The firms that participate in the Shenzhen pilot project have been allotted permits for total emissions of 100m tonnes between 2013 and 2015. Ideally, firms will reduce their carbon intensity by 7 per cent over the next two years.

Experts believe that the Shenzhen scheme, as well as, the other regional pilots can achieve limited results due to the lack of a nationwide legal framework. Energy economist at Xiamen University Lin Boqiang said, “progress will depend on the government’s determination.”  “Unless the government sets up a binding framework, it will be very difficult to determine fair transactions, and trading will be hampered,” Lin added.

On 2015, the government will decide whether China has the capability to run a nationwide carbon market.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

Climate change expected to intensify floods

A Japanese-led scientific report titled Global Flood Risk Under Climate Change, found that climate change would likely magnify floods and increase their damage to nearby populations especially towards the end of the 21st century. The report, found that severe floods would happen more frequent on most of the 29 rivers reviewed in detail in the study which included the Yangtze, the Ganges, the Nile, the Niger, the Amazon and the Parana. The Rhine in Europe is also expected to see an increase in flooding frequency.

The study suggests that overall, rising temperatures will increase the risk of floods. Warmer air caused by an increase in global temperatures can potentially absorb more moisture and therefore cause more rain. Change in wind and other factors could leave some areas getting wetter, while others get drier. Such dry areas, according to the study could be the Mississippi river in the US and the Euphrates in the Middle East which are expected to see a decrease in risk of flooding.

Proof of what the study predicts holds true today. Over the last two weeks, Central and Eastern Europe have experienced devastating floods causing mass evacuations in Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and at least 21 deaths. Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency, expected the total cost of the flood damage to be around €12bn in Germany alone.

According to Preventionweb, a website that monitors disasters around the globe, over the last three decades, floods have claimed around 200,000 lives and caused around $400 billion in economic damage. They have also cost an estimated three billion people their homes, farms, businesses and livestock.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

EU leaders seek “silver bullet” solution for higher energy costs.

On May 22, EU leaders attended a summit in Brussels were the main topic of discussion was the rising energy costs and methods to boost the Union’s industrial competitiveness. At the summit, several EU leaders stated that they would favor “silver bullet” solutions to reduce energy prices, such as the development of shale gas. Other leaders, however, expressed interest in pursuing simultaneous action on “several fronts.”

The British, Polish and Romanian prime ministers and the Lithuanian President made statements were they favored shale gas development. The prime ministers used the examples of China and the US who are going through an “energy revolution” due to lower energy prices and an increase in industrial output thanks to shale gas.

Prime Minister David Cameron stated that Europe could not afford to be left behind as the world develops the resource. He firmly declared that Europe had 75% of the American shale gas potential.

EU leaders agreed on several points. One main point that had much agreement was financing energy projects. Experts estimate that the needs for investments in modern energy infrastructure are estimated at €1 trillion by 2020, a figure that also includes research and development. The leaders agreed that financing energy projects should come from the market and on cooperation between countries of the Union through investment.

Further, another point of major agreement was energy independence. EU leaders agreed that to decrease dependence on imported energy, indigenous sources should be developed. Moreover, success stories such as those of Denmark and Germany, both countries who have invested heavily in renewable technology, should be closely examined

The conclusions from the summit were:

  • Commitment to ensure security of energy supply for households and companies at affordable and competitive prices.
  • Commitment from member states to regularly exchange information on major national energy decisions which have a possible impact on other Member States
  • Diversification of the energy supply
  • Investments in new and intelligent energy infrastructure are needed to secure the uninterrupted supply of energy at affordable prices

For the full document of summit conclusions, click here.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, support TheCompensators*

Eight European energy giants call for reform of the ETS

On May 22, eight large European energy companies made an appeal, in order to call to the attention of major politicians, the current challenges of the energy market. The signatories of the appeal comprised the CEO’s of Enel, Eni, Eon, GasTerra, GasNatural Fenosa, GDF Suez, Ibedrola and RWE.

All CEO’s agreed that the future energy market should coordinate all European nations to meet climate policy targets. These targets, conclude the signatories, should be realistic and follow a stable reduction targets for the year 2020 and beyond.

Concerning the proposed measures, such as the backloading policy, the CEO’s proved skeptical, as in their opinion, accepting the proposal would not change anything in the structural level. However, all eight CEOs embraced long-term solutions that would reassure emission reductions throughout the years.

Peter Terium, CEO of RWE underlined the importance that European countries should work together instead of individually and share common goals. “Measures, or action taken by individual countries – whether regarding capacity mechanisms or expansion targets for renewables – are of no use to us; we must find European solutions.”

If you would also want to reform the ETS, then click here and compensate for your emissions!

Results of Wirkcamp 2013

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A few weeks ago, TheCompensators* had the opportunity to participate in the 6th Wirkcamp in Lueneburg, Germany. The Wirkcamp is more than a work camp: it brings together start ups and various organizations with people who are willing to make something happen within a long weekend. During the 3 and 1/2 days, each working group concentrates on a project, from conception to evaluation.

TheCompensators* are proud of their accomplishments during the Wirkcamp. At the camp, we began a pilot project called “Klimaneutrales Einkaufen” (Climate Neutral Shopping).

Our results yielded among many things:

  • The creation of the Climate Neutral Shopping Team
  • The calculation of CO2 emissions for 30 basic products
  • A video informing about climate neutral shopping. (link to our video coming soon)

The reaction to our project was overwhelmingly positive. During the weekend, TheCompensators*, noticed the high interest for a service where shopping could be compensated. With our action, we are proud to say that we compensated the purchase of groceries for an entire week of approximately 95 German individuals.

Please stay tuned to find out more about our newest project.

TheCompensators* would like to send a special thanks to Karsten Mosny, Janis Brucker, Regina Prade, Max Schön, Lea Scheurer, Pia van Ackern, Jana Stienecker, Isabel Karst, Eva Stadler, Liane Schäfer, Anna Sagemüller, Luise Schmidt, Patrice Ziehm, Tobi Rosswog, Kerstin Albrecht and Sina Joppich!

You would like to stay updated about “Climate-neutral shopping”. Just fill in your date in this form!

China, one month away of first emission trading market

On June 17 of this year, Shenzhen, a special economic zone in China, will begin operation of its first emission trading market. Shenzhen’s carbon market is the first one from a series of 7 planned regional carbon markets to be put in place in China. Beijing and Shanghai may also start their carbon markets sometime in June; however, a specific date for the markets to begin business has not been put in place.

Shenzhen, a main city in Southern China, is a mayor financial center and home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Shenzhen once known for being a small village near Hong Kong is now a modern city as a result of its vibrant economy made possible by ever growing foreign investment. The city’s carbon market will include 635 companies in total. According to New Energy Finance, an organization that specializes in providing financial information, these companies discharged 31.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2010.

Instead of placing a countrywide carbon market, China decided to focus on regional markets first with the goal of linking them in the future. Regional carbon markets have been designed to accommodate local characteristics and necessities. Guangdong’s market, for example, is a manufacturing hub. The emission trading market in the region would only charge factories for carbon dioxide emitted, while Shanghai’s system would charge airports, office buildings and other major emitters. Overall, China has pledged a 17 percent cut in emissions per unit of economic output by 2015, compared to 2010 emission levels, and has assigned emissions reduction targets to each region. Each region has translated their target to specific quotas that limit what individual polluters can emit.

A report published last year by the Climate Institute, an Australian think tank, stated that China will become the second largest carbon market in the world in terms of regulated emissions, covering 700 million tons of emissions by 2014. In contrast, the report notes, that the carbon markets in California, Australia and the European Union will cover 165 million tons, 382 million tons and 2.1 billion tons, respectively showing a stark difference.

Pilot programs for carbon trading are also scheduled to open this year in Guangdong, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hubei.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

Brussels and Washington levy heavy tariffs on Chinese solar panels

On May 20, Washington and Brussels decided to negotiate settlements with China involving China’s $30 billion solar panel shipments to Europe and the US. Both blocs are expected to raise the price of solar panels from China, the world’s dominant producer. They would require Chinese companies to charge more for their panels and further limit the total number of panels exported to the West.

China will be hit with tough tariffs. The United States has already started collecting tariffs of up to 30% of the price while the European Union may impose similar tariffs ranging from 37% to 68% on June 5.

The goal of these tariffs, and quantity regulations are to protect both American and European manufacturers from what they have called “unfair competition.” According to manufactures in both blocs, Chinese solar panels are heavily subsidized and then dumped in their countries at prices below the cost of production. As reported by the manufacturer’s, two dozen American and European solar panel firms have already cut back production or gone bankrupt in the last three years. According to these same sources, Chinese shipments to the West have driven solar panel prices down by three-quarters in the last four years. In total, China’s solar industry exported €21 billion of goods to Europe in 2011.

In response to this issue, German Economy Minister Phillipp Roesler stated that the EU made a “grave mistake” by agreeing to impose tariffs on solar panels from China. He stated that China has already warned that the tariffs on solar panels would harm bilateral trade. Germany is one of the world’s leading export nations and Roesler beliefs that a trade conflict with China could hurt Germany’s trade relations with China, one of the countries greatest trading partners, in the long run.

Environmentalists in both the US and Europe are against the decision to levy tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports as it will make the price of renewable energy even more expensive. At the moment, renewable energy is still much more expensive compared to energy produced from fossil fuels.

If you would like to raise the price of CO2 emissions and make renewable energy price competitive click here!

Germany has surpassed its emissions cap in 2012

On Wednesday May 15th, the European Commission will publish its results concerning the quantities of CO2 emissions subject to emissions trading for the year 2012. Already today, the German ETS registry revealed that the 1,629 energy and industrial facilities in Germany included in the Emissions Trading Scheme emitted 452.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere last year. This means that Germany exceeds the cap of 451.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The report among other data reveals that 416 million allowances were issued for free. This is 14 million more free allowances compared to the year 2011. Further, the report shows that in 2012, there were 139.9 million Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) credits issued – a significant increase from the previous years.

At a press conference, the president of the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Jochen Flasbarth, sharply criticized Germany’s increasing emissions and stated that much is to blame on the overallocation of emission allowances which stands at around 1.7 billion allowances. “The reason for this so-called over-allocation is due to a high allocation of pollution rights to Eastern European countries and to a large number of free certificates issued,” he stated. To reform this trend, “Germany must resort to alternative measures”, stated Flasbarth, such as “a CO2 tax or sharper limits for emissions,” he concluded.

The full VET Report 2012 will be available from 15.05.2013 on the German Emissions Trading Authority website.

If you want to help lowering the cap of emissions in the ETS, compensate for your emissions now!

TheCompensators@Phineo: That’s how winners look like

On April 18th, the independent research and consulting organisation Phineo confirmed the effectiveness of our involvement in the European emissions trading and in our struggle to lower carbon emissions in Europe with their approval label (link in German). On this day, it was confirmed that who donates to TheCompensators* makes a difference.

Here are some pictures of the event (courtesy of Phineo gAG/Linda Hanes)

CETA agreement could potentially revoke EU’s fracking ban

The controversial European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) a proposed free trade and copyright agreement between Canada and the European Union, could threaten the ability of European countries to implement hydrolic fracking bans and regulations. The agreement states that impeding Canadian companies from fracking for shale gas, could potentially make the impeder face lawsuits under a far-reaching investment clause placed in the CETA draft. The proposed provision could enable energy and extractive companies to challenge bans, moratoria and environmental standards across the EU. Further, such policies give Canadian companies the possibility to call for millions of euros of compensation to be paid by European taxpayers.

Economists and many energy-intensive industries have called shale gas drilling a “game changer.” The industrialization boost seen in the U.S. recently, is partly due to an increase exploration and extraction of natural gas. Fracking has brought a boom in energy production in the states of Pennsylvania, Texas and Colorado, and has further lowered natural gas prices by 20%. It is expected that shale gas drilling will help European businesses compete with their American counterparts.

According to a recent report published by KPMG international, the consultancy group called the shale gas development in Europe inevitable. However, geological, economic and regulatory obstacles have affected European exploration for natural gas. The report stated, for example, that shale gas layers are on average 50% deeper in Europe than in North America, while production costs could be at least 40% higher. Moreover, experts have found both environmental and health problems related to fracking practices. For instance, the International Energy Agency predicts that if all the world’s energy came from fracking, even the greenest and efficient drilling of the fuel could help raise global temperature by 3.5 – 4 degrees.

Nathalie Bernasconi Osterwalder, a senior international lawyer for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, stated that foreign firms, however, will not be above the law. “Consideration would have to be given to whether the bans or moratoria had been in place when the CETA entered into force.” Yet, for countries that do not have a definite stance on fracking, will be faced with problems in the future. If a European government, for example, revoked already approved drilling licenses because of environmental concerns, the government in question could be held culpable for violating the profit expectations of investors under the CETA draft.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

Britain violates EU pollution law

On May 1st, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the British government has violated European Union air quality law by producing the highest level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in comparison with other European capitals. The court ruled that the British government breached the EU directive, which puts emission limits on NO2, a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning fuels, which can cause respiratory conditions.

The Supreme Court could force the UK government to take certain steps to improve air quality, however, it does not have the power to issue fines against the government. All eyes are currently on Owen Patterson, UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to put into action a plan to protect people against carcinogenic fuels that release NO2.

According to an organization that advises the British government, 29,000 people die in the UK by respiration problems each year. These deaths are attributed to high levels of air pollution.

If you want to compensate for your emissions, click here!

“Lindauer Bürgerzeitung”: CO2 compensated

The “Energy team” of the German city of Lindau has offset its Carbon footprint with TheCompensators*. The “Lindauer Bürgerzeitung” has published a report about this (on page 5, in German).

“Lindauer Zeitung”: Energy Team Offsets its Footprint

The “Energy team” of the German city of Lindau has offset its Carbon footprint with TheCompensators*. The “Lindauer Zeitung” has published a report about this (in German).

Germany’s renewable energy leadership could weigh heavily on Europe

On Thursday April 18th, Germany reached a new maximum level of electricity production made from renewable energy of 35.9 GW. An increase in usage of electricity produced by wind power and photovoltaic energy helped surpass last year’s production level of electricity of 31.8 GW by more than 10%.

Germany, called “the world’s first major renewable energy economy” by the online news magazine Renewable energy world and its renewable energy sector hailed as “the most innovative and successful worldwide” by the United Press International, is at the forefront of the environmental movement. Germany, for example, has doubled the renewable share of its total electricity consumption in the past six years to 23% in 2012. It forecasts nearly a redoubling by the year 2025. Some areas of the country are progressive even more rapidly. In 2012,Brandenburg, Bayern, Sachsen-Anhalt  and Baden-Wüttenberg were praised in the study Bundesländervergleich Erneuerbare Energien 2012, for their quick adaptability at using an array of technologies to include in their energy mix and their increasing investment in renewable energy.

Although this data proves worthy of celebration, it comes with negative consequences. An increasing amount of electricity produced by renewable energy makes the prices of emission allowances of the ETS crash. This in turn supports a revival of cheaper coal and weighs heavy against renewable energy. Although it is not affecting Germany’s impressive push towards a low carbon economy, it will prove difficult for other European countries to follow Germany’s footsteps.

The ETS must be fixed to impulse renewable energy production.

  • Caps should be given at a specific value, but should not be absolute, e.g 300g/kWh for electricity. Hence, the ETS would not be undermined by low electricity demand due to external factors such as the financial crisis in 2008.
  • The ETS should be self-adapting. If a certain value of, for example, 290g7kWh were reached in a certain year, then the cap should be automatically reduced.

These policy measures would enable a self-corrective behavior of the ETS and solve the over allocation problem, that lead to recent price crashes.

In the mean time, since no major reforms will be made until the next reviewing of the ETS in 2015, TheCompensators*, suggest renewable energy companies to create their own level playing field by taking very cheap emission allowances out of the market.

Compensate for your emissions by clicking here!

Lindau’s Energy Team offsets its Carbon Footprint with TheCompensators*

Mitglieder des Lindauer Energieteams. Foto: Julia Genth

Members of Lindau’s Energy Team. Foto: Julia Genth

The energy team of the city of Lindau at Lake Constance is committed to climate protection in their city. Now the members have set an example: they have compensated for their entire emissions of 2012.

100.6 tons are the total emissions emitted by the ten members of the energy team. On average, the result per member of the energy team, is less than the average emissions of an average German citizen. Nevertheless, the energy team wanted to make a stand against climate change and attract attention towards their work – which is why every member compensated for their emissions through TheCompensators*.

Deleting emission certificates is not a sale of “indulgences”, emphasised team leader Julia Genth from the Municipal Planning and Building Bureau of Lindau. “Compensation can only occur on the side of saving, however, it does not replace it. Saving energy is and remains the ultimate goal,” she stated.

“Yet for us, each deleted ton of CO2 is a clear signal for climate protection and also for a better trading system. Our energy team has clearly noted that the Emission Trading Scheme is in great need of improvement. If our action causes people to think critically about the trading system, this is also a success for us,” asserted Julia Genth.

Die CO2-Fußabdrücke des Lindauer Energieteams.

CO2 footprint of Lindau’s Energy Team.

Of course, the energy team members wish to have many people to follow their example and to offset their CO2 footprint. “Above all, we would be thrilled if organisations not only calculated their CO2 footprint, but also if they were to compensate as we have done”, stated Roland Summer, member of the energy team and Market Leader for the Municipal Utilities of Lindau.

“At the moment a major problem of emissions trading is the low price for certificates. However, if emissions certificates are deleted to a great extent, the price would rise again, and investments in climate-friendly technologies would be rewarding for firms. In the end, compensating would lead to very concrete improvements for both the environment and the climate”, said Sommer.

Are you convinced? Then compensate for your emissions!

Confirmed: Who Supports TheCompensators*, Makes a Change!

Phineo: It makes a differece!Last year, the work of TheCompensators* was critically scrutinized by the independent research and consulting organisation Phineo.

Today we have made yet another accomplishment: our commitment for the fight against climate change is worth the effort and your donations.

On April 18th Phineo confirmed the effectiveness of our involvement in the European emissions trading with their approval label [link in German].

“With TheCompensators* anyone can buy pollution rights from the emissions trading market. Each deleted certificate helps the air and says: Climate protection needs stricter rules,” stated Phineo analysts.

Phineo, as  a non-profit corporation, pursues the goal of strengthening civic engagement in Germany. The Phineo list of effective initiatives serves businesses and individuals who want to contribute to society, as a guide and source of ideas.

Read more about TheCompensators* and Phineo.

Or compensate your emissions right away and make a difference!

EU Parliament decision is another setback in the fight against climate change

TheCompensators*The decision taken on Tuesday April 17th, is yet another hit to an effective fight against climate change. On this day, the European Parliament, decided to reject the proposal of backloading 900 billion emission allowances from the ETS. Backloading, although agreeably not the best method to counteract the oversupply of allowances in the ETS, was a short-term solution to help raise the price of carbon until a stronger reform were enacted. However, as predicted by experts, immediately after the vote, the price of emission allowances decreased reaching the new record low of €2.63. Analysts predict that the price will continue to fall in the upcoming months.

The ETS was meant to serve as a guide to help the European Union achieve its emission targets. For the year 2020, the EU had committed to cut its emissions to 20% below 1990 levels. For 2050, EU leaders certified the objective of reducing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels. With the recent vote, it is hard to predict if the EU will achieve its targets at all. Further, the decision has tattered Europe’s reputation as a global leader in the fight against climate change.

TheCompensators* believe that our work has become more important than ever. Since the European Parliament has not agreed in a reform, we believe that TheCompensators* and all our supporters need to take serious action. It is our job to reduce the number of pollution rights in the ETS to not only reduce emissions of green house gases, but also to give renewable energy a chance to become price competitive. Given the most recent events, the momentum towards a greener and sustainable future must be renewed and strengthened.

The ever-falling carbon price must be halted in order to keep the EU on track with its emission targets. Struck with disappointment due to the recent decisions, TheCompensators* want to assure our supporters that we will continue campaigning in favor of a zero-carbon society that will help avoid dangerous climate change. The world is in grave danger and this affects each and every single one of us. Together, with the help of our members and supporters we hope to avert a dreadful future.

To help us in our mission, please click here!

Members of Parliament reject backloading proposal

Today with a vote of 334 against and 315 in support, Members of the European Parliament rejected the plans to delay or backload the sale of 900 million carbon allowances. With the outcome, businesses and green groups were left disappointed and critics have questioned the existence of the ETS and believe that the EU has damaged its reputation as a global leader in the fight against climate change.

The backloading proposal was defeated mainly by a coalition of centre-right Members of Parliament who opposed the plans on the grounds that a higher carbon price would interference with the market-based mechanism and could lead to higher energy bills in Europe. Also, parliament members who are skeptic of climate change rejected any steps to try and fix the system.

Analysts and economists predict that the decision will cause the price of carbon to hit record low prices in the upcoming days since the market will be fixed from its excessive oversupply of allowances. In the aftermath of the vote, the price of carbon had all ready fallen down to a new record low of €2.63 a tone. Energy and climate ministers of Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Sweden and Denmark stated that the rejection of the backloading plan would divide member states making each state pursue their own carbon taxes or reforms, for example, the UK’s controversial carbon floor price.

Given todays decision, attention will be focused on the European Commission for a wider package of reforms to be designed possibly for the fourth phase of the ETS. Sadly, a package of reforms is unlikely to be written anytime soon and the ETS is unlikely to see any fundamental changes until 2015 at the earliest. All eyes will be on the European Commission to design reforms such as through a permanent retirement of excess carbon allowances, tighter limits on the number of carbon offsets that can be used in the market, or lower emissions caps on those firms covered by the scheme: all possible solutions to fix an oversupply of allowances.

On future changes to the ETS, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard stated, “the proposal will now go back to the parliament’s Environment Committee for further consideration. Europe needs a robust carbon market to meet our climate targets and spur innovation. The commission remains convinced that backloading would help restore confidence in the EU ETS in the short term until we decide on more structural measures.”

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

Carbon allowances given out for free using outdated information

According to a new study new study led by CE Delft an independent research and consultancy organization, the European Commission is currently using an “outdated” list that grants free carbon emission allowances to industries, which have a risk of relocation abroad also known as carbon leakage. If the carbon leakage assessment would be brought into like with current data, according to CE Delft’s analysis, the number of industrial recipients that would receive free allowances would be halved.

In 2009, when the EU’s impact assessment was released, the European Commission agreed to grant free allowances to 60% of the sectors that are covered by the ETS to reduce the risk of carbon leakage. Bryony Worthington, founder of the environmental group Sandbag stated that the EU’s 2009 impact assessment, using today’s data is completely outdated and irrelevant.

CE Delft’s study, found three flawed assumptions that no longer hold in today’s world.

  • Carbon prices were expected to hit €30 a tone by 2020. However, carbon prices are currently between €4 and €5 a tone – and could even fall to zero if the back loading proposal is rejected in the European Parliament next week.
  • Exposed sectors were slated to overshoot their benchmarked free allowances by 60%. Yet due to the economic recession, “an exposure rate of 20% now seems more likely”.
  • Non-EU countries were not predicted be participate in the ETS. However, countries such as Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein have already joined the scheme and in addition, Australia and Switzerland are set to link up with the ETS in 2015.

Damien Morris, a senior policy officer for Sandbag, stated that, “in total, manufacturing sectors accrued roughly 680 million spare allowances over 2008-2011 worth some €10.5 billion as a result of what the Commission has previously called an ‘unintended over-allocation’.” If a new list were to be developed to decide free allocation, firms that would work with crude oil and natural gas extraction would still be entitled to free allowances. However, industries such as cement, basic iron and steel, refined petroleum, lime and paper would need to auction their allowances.

The European Commission has acknowledged that its carbon leakage list is outdated, and hopes to implement a new benchmarking list in 2016.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, please click here!

German government split on back loading decision

The German government does not find common grounds in the debate to repair the ETS. Today, Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier made an announcement that EU countries should push for a shortage of emission rights that should be sold in the ETS. In response, Economy Minister Phillip Roesler strongly refused such a political intervention on the carbon market.

This discussion was sparked due to the decision that will take place next Tuesday concerning back loading emission allowances. The idea is to take emission rights out of the market for two years. Such a decision would stop the dramatic fall in the price of emission allowances, which lingers at the moment lingers between 3 to 4 Euros. The price drop occurred due to an overloading of emission rights that was caused by the economic crisis.

To bring his point across, Minister Roesler canceled his visit to Turkey to combat the decision of back loading allowances. According to Roesler, back loading would hurt the economic competitiveness not only in Germany, but also the Euro-crisis countries like Spain, Greece and now Cyprus.

Altmaier however, with his counterparts from France, Italy, Great Britain, Sweden and Denmark support the policy of back loading, as it will “fix the system that is in need of much reform.” “Emission trading is in deep crisis, he stated. “If we do not strengthen the system now, then eight years of climate efforts have been in vain,” he added.

If you would like to make your own statement to reform the ETS, click here and compensate for your emissions!

California Governor agrees on carbon market link with Quebec

On April 10th, California Governor Jerry Brown approved a proposal to link California’s carbon market system with a similar program in Quebec, a step that would allow companies to trade carbon permits across borders. Starting next January, both carbon markets will be interconnected allowing more than 350 companies in the U.S. and 75 firms in Canada to buy and sell emissions permits.

Governor Brown sent a letter on Monday to the California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) where he confirmed that California’s carbon market had met all the minimum requirements to share its emissions trading platform with Quebec.

The benefits gained from both systems joining are numerous. California’s Air Resource Board has stated that a link with Quebec would expand investments in low-carbon technologies, many of which are being already developed in California. Also, a link between systems would further improve market liquidity for carbon allowances by increasing the pool of both permits and companies trading them. Moreover, the reduction in CO2 emissions achieved by combining the two programs would be larger than cuts made by both systems trading alone.

California launched its trading platform six months ago, in the hope that their carbon market would be part of a Western states unified system. However, no other state has stepped up to the plate and committed to run a similar market. So far, only the Canadian province has decided to join in. The hope is that, with a link between Quebec and California, more states will follow.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, please click here!

Climate change will increase turbulence

A few days ago, a paper was published by scientists Dr. Paul D Williams and Dr. Manoj M. Joshi which assessed the impact of global warming on weather systems over the next four decades. The study concludes that climate change will cause an increase in turbulence in the North Atlantic, one of the world’s busiest routes, by the middle of the century. The study found that the frequency of turbulence on the flights between Europe and North America will double in occurrence by 2050 and its intensity will increase by 10-40%.

According to Dr. Williams, the reason for an increase in turbulence is because climate change does not just simply warm the lower part of the atmosphere. Climate change also accelerates the jet stream, a fast flowing air current, and modifies its position. A greater acceleration makes the atmosphere susceptible to the instability in airflow that causes turbulence.

Although more turbulence might not necessarily mean more aviation crashes, the study suggests that more passengers and aircrew members will be injured and that there will be more delays and damages to planes. Currently, turbulence causes about $150 million a year in damages to planes and other expenses, said Dr. Williams. There is a high chance overall industry costs would rise as turbulence intensifies in the upcoming years, he stated.

The shifting of the jet stream over Europe has also been blamed for the UK’s record rainfall in 2012 and the current Arctic-like Spring in the Northern hemisphere.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

Allowance canceling paper published by the OECD

In 2010, the OECD published a paper by Anja Kollmuss and Michael Lazarus from the Stockholm Environment Institute concerning the purchase of emission allowances. The paper explored scenarios under which a common citizen could voluntarily purchase and cancel allowances and thus, reduce the greatest amount of CO2 emissions and the benefits of carbon markets.

The authors argue that opportunities to buy and cancel emission allowances do exist, but in small quantities. If such practice remains limited to individuals and voluntary corporate buyers, it is unlikely to drastically alter the price of allowances. However, this could change if sub-national actors such as cities or states decide to voluntarily cancel allowances.

The authors agree that reducing ones own emissions does not necessarily mean a reduction of overall CO2 emissions for a nation. In reality, an emission leakage could occur. Simply reducing ones own emissions, (i.e using LED light bulbs, energy efficient appliances, etc.) is not enough as it allows power companies to buy fewer emission permits (meaning it allows other firms to use these permits and pollute) or enables them to sell spare permits to someone else. According to the authors, additional emissions reductions will only be achieved if the voluntary actor cancels allowances commensurate with their own emissions reductions. This will assure that the emissions are effectively deleted and will be counted towards the national cap.

The authors concluded that, CDM projects have great benefits in the short and medium term such as job creation and emission reduction. However, in the medium and long term, all actors must reduce their emission levels and thus additional emission reduction can be successfully achieved through allowance cancellation.

A big hit to ETS transparency

When buying and deleting emissions allowances from the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, TheCompensators* have always published the ID numbers of these pollutions rights. Recently, we have noticed that it is no longer possible to access the ID numbers.

This is a hard hit to the transparency of the ETS! It affects our work, because TheCompensators* are not able anymore to pass on certificate numbers to donors for their deleted certificates. This means, our donors will not be able to have a trackable proof of their their deleted emissions allowance.

We have contacted the European Commisson’s Directorate General for Climate Action which is accounts for the EU ETS to understand the reasons behind this important change. They have confirmed that the omission of ID numbers in any kind of transaction will be permanent.

The reason for the current change is to improve the security of the ETS and its emission certificates to avoid fraud. TheCompensators* understand that there has been a need for changes in order to improve security.

However we think tIhat it is a blow to transparency. TheCompensators* are strong supporters of the ID system because, in our opinion, it was highly effective as it served to track every single certificate sold and used or deleted permanently.

For TheCompensators* that change means that we will need another way to track our deleted pollution rights. We are therefore, developing a new strategy how to best disclose our purchase and retiring of emissions certificates in order to guarantee complete transparency in our work.

We want to assure our donors and supporters that when they donate to our organization, they are making a positive change in reforming climate policies in Europe. Further, we want to assure them that we are following our commitment of fighting climate change with full transparency.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions and would like to know the numbers of your certificates, please write us an e-mail. As soon as we will have set-up our own tracking system, we will be able to communicate your ID number.

China and Australia agree on an Asia-Pacific Carbon Market

A growing concern of China and Australia of climate change has forged an alliance to reduce carbon emissions through an Asia-Pacific Carbon Market. On March 27, Australian and Chinese officials stated that both countries are working to develop their individual carbon trading markets as a first step towards an Asia-Pacific carbon market. The announcement was made by Greg Combet, the Australian Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation, and H.E. Xie Zhenhua, the Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission at the Australia-China Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Change.

China is the world’s largest carbon emitter while Australia is the world’s highest per-capita carbon emitter among developed nations. The two countries have decided to cooperate in an attempt to limit carbon emissions. China aims to move to a national emissions trading scheme after the year 2015 while on their part, Australia has set a carbon price that will transition to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.

“In the future, we would like to work towards the development of an Asia-Pacific carbon market including major emerging economies like China and South Korea,” Mr Combet said. “This would expand coverage of the carbon market, provide more low-cost abatement opportunities and reduce the possibility of carbon leakage,” he added

On their own behalf, China has started to implement seven pilot projects that cover around one-third of China’s GDP and one-fifth of its energy use. The industrial powerhouse province of Guangdong, China launched its carbon market in September of 2012. The Guangdong scheme, for example, is expected to cover more than 800 companies that emit more than 20,000 tonnes of  CO2 a year across nine industries, including the energy-intensive steel and power sectors. The Guangdong scheme will regulate around 277 million tones of CO2 emissions by 2015. China will launch the six remaining schemes this year, in the province of Hubei and in the municipalities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Shenzhen. Once up and running, these schemes will be linked to a nationwide scheme by the end of the decade; that would then be linked to other international carbon markets in the future.

China and Australia´s openness to the possibility of linking their carbon markets with other emissions trading schemes around the world is further evidence of growing international cooperation on climate change.

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Transparency with a CO2 price tag

Apples from Australia, wine from South Africa and beef originated from Argentina in open refrigerated shelves – this indicates a bad CO2 balance. And from this we do not know any details. The environmental costs of supermarket products remain in the dark. Environmentally conscious consumers need such information to make better choices.

We want to change this! Therefore we will take part at the Lüneburg 2013 Wirk Camp and are hoping for your support. In our group, we want to develop a new project: the CO2 price tag.

We want to develop a second price tag system that will include everyday shopping items such as food or drug products intended to reflect the CO2 balance starting from the production facility all the way to the supermarket shelf – and make the environmental costs affordable. We will reflect together on how exactly this idea is easiest to put into practice.

Are you interested in the project? Then take a look at the website of the Wirk Camp – and sign up! (only in German)

Arctic Spring

Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and abnormally cold spring weather that is being experienced across large parts of Northern Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Artic Sea ice.

On Monday, ice records published by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado showed an alarming decrease in Arctic Ice. Both the coverage and the volume of the sea ice that forms and melts each year in the Arctic Ocean fell to an all time historic low last autumn. The results on Monday also show how the ice extent is close to the minimum recorded for this time of the year.

According to Jennifer Francis, research professor with the Rutgers Institute of Coastal and Marine Science, the Arctic Ice is currently 80% less than it was just 30 years ago. According to Francis, the dramatic loss of sea ice “is a symptom of global warming and it contributes to enhanced warming of the Arctic.”

According to Jennifer Francis and other researchers, such as, Vladimir Petoukhov, professor at the Potsdam Institute in Germany, the Arctic Ice loss adds heat to the ocean and atmosphere which shifts the position of the jet stream – a fast flowing, narrow air currents found in the atmosphere which is able to have an effect on weather patterns.

A recent paper by the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also found that enhanced warming of the Arctic influenced weather across the northern hemisphere. The heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures that are currently experienced in the northern hemisphere show a stark contrast to March of 2012 where countries experienced their warmest springs ever. Scientists hypothesize that changing wind patterns caused by the melting of Arctic Sea ice has transferred massive amounts of cold air into the atmosphere. According to the scientists, new amounts of cold air into the atmosphere would explain both extremes of warm and cold temperatures that are being experienced.

Researchers state that, with more solar energy radiating the Arctic Ocean, there is reason to expect more extreme weather events, such as heavy snowfall, heat waves, and flooding in North America and Europe.”

If you would like to fight climate change, make sure to compensate for your emissions!

Advancing the Post 2015 Sustainable Agenda: Results

The 3 day long conference in Bonn, Germany allowed civil societies to cover new ground, find new partnerships and spread their voice and experience concerning the Millennium Development Goals.

During the 3-day conference, civil societies expressed their discontent due to the lack of progress made since their establishment following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. A recent study presented by Mr. Homi Kharas, for example, stated that extreme poverty will be eradicated by the year 2030. However, NGOs such as Amnesty International and Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) were outraged to think that a $1.25 is the measure used to target extreme poverty. In their opinion, the bar should be raised and thus to make a greater effort in eradicating poverty.

On the topic of climate change, civil societies, such as, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, GCAP, TheCompensators*, Construyendo Puentes, among others expressed their interest and discussed strategies to link climate change to other pressing problems. In their opinion, climate change should work interconnected to other issues such as gender inequality, disease control, poverty and sustainability to truly bring about a holistic solution. Moreover, these civil societies stated that the next Millennium Development Goals should include targets that focus on adaptation, mitigation and renewable energies. Further, they expressed interest for upcoming climate talks to focus on an across the board carbon tax and to develop low-carbon societies.

The results of the conference will be presented at the UN high-level panel meeting that takes place from March 25th to the 27th in Bali, Indonesia. The Bali Conference will seek to determine a vision for future development policy.

To compensate for your emissions click here!

Open Letter to Angela Merkel

Compensate!On March 18th, economic, social and climate scientists wrote an open letter (only in German) to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in support of structural reforms to the EU-ETS. The letter signed by 40 top scholars – from schools with strong programs focused on climate change, ranging from the University of California at Berkeley, the Helmholtz Center for Environment Research, the Free University of Berlin and Plymouth University, to name a few – criticized the lack of attention and a lack of a clear position given by the German federal government to Europe’s key framework to achieve its emission reduction targets.

The letter stated that reforms to the ETS are of “fundamental importance” for Europe’s climate policy and the German energy transition. Furthermore, the letter called for urgent action. “Structural reforms of emissions trading are necessary to create long-term shortage of emission certificates, and thus a more efficient framework for climate-friendly investments,” specified the letter.

The group of scholars strongly supported the momentary policy of back loading 900,000 million allowances from the system calling it “necessary” to restore confidence in the emissions trading scheme and to gain time for long-term, structural reforms.

Of great concern is also how the EU-ETS is seen internationally. The letter noted, that if the EU-ETS is not reformed, Europe will lose credibility in future international cooperation projects. This rings true especially with carbon markets being developed in several provinces of China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and a few states in the US.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!

Compensating becomes cheaper again

Compensate!Compensating has become cheaper again! Due to a high overallocation, the prices for pollution rights in the ETS have dropped significantly over the last months.

TheCompensators* have now bought new certificates – and we have paid 4,95 euros per emissions allowance. As always, this price is the basis for “our” price for compensation. We add a premium of 10% for fees and other costs (like our website and our bank account). Thus, the new price for compensation with TheCompensators* from now on is 5.45 euros per tonne of CO2.

The current price for emissions is far too low, a backload of pollution rights as planned by the European Union is more than urgent. However, this price also allows us to retire much more emissions certificates forever. It also makes your donation to TheCompensators* a lot more effective: with the same amount of money, together we are able to compensate for more emissions than ever before!

Compensate your emissions straight away!

TheCompensators*: advancing the post-2015 sustainable agenda

TheCompensators* are proud to announce our participation at the conference “Advancing the Post-2015 Sustainable Agenda.” The conference will take place on March 20 – 22 in Bonn Germany. It will bring together 250 civil society activists, non-governmental organizations and representatives from key stakeholders to discuss on some of the most pressing issues today.

With the upcoming expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, discussion and consultation processes are taking place all over the globe. The purpose of the conference is to draw together civil society inputs into the Sustainable Development and Post-2015 discussions. Further, the conference strives to bring together key actors in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development discussion helping them to exchange information, learn from each other benefiting from our sector’s diversity and agree joint demands and strategy where possible.

At the conference, TheCompensators* will champion our ideals and will stress the need of a zero-carbon society in the Post 2015 Agenda.

If you want to support our work, click here and compensate for your emissions!

Clean transport faces a screeching halt

Yesterday, in a EU transport meeting, member states were unsupportive of a huge infrastructure package which would help boost the EU’s low carbon vehicle industry. Member states showed a lack of support as such a large package would require a large amount of public funds to finance. The meeting widely discussed Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas’s proposition to multiply by 10 times the number of both recharging and refueling points for vehicles that run on alternative fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and gas.

At the Council meeting yesterday, EU states objected at the spending needed to realize these goals by 2020. EU states particularly contested an obligation for 10% of charging points to be of no cost. Ireland’s transport minister, Leo Vradkar, acknowledged that he was against the proposal as he questioned the feasibility of such project given the timeline. Further, Vradkar showed concern since low carbon vehicle technology is still evolving. “No-one wants to invest large amounts of money in a technology that might turn out to be obsolete quite quickly,” he stated.

If passed, the proposal would mandates a 300 km maximum distance between hydrogen fuel cell refueling stations. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) filling stations would be separated by 400 km. Compressed Natural Gas filling stations would be found every 150km. For electric vehicles, the EU’s plans would see recharging points increase according to each member state’s low carbon car production plans. In the UK, for example, stations would increase from 703 last year to 1.22 million in 2020. In Germany, the increase in stations would be from 1,937 to 1.5 million. Finally, France would have an increase from 1,600 to 970,000 stations.

If the proposal were to pass, Europe would be one step closer in achieving its goal of reducing carbon emissions, as cars are responsible for 12% of Europe’s carbon emissions. Further, it would relieve dependence from oil use and help diversify Europe’s energy mix, as the EU’s transportation network is 94% dependent on oil, of which 84.3% is often imported from politically or economically unstable regions. Lastly, it would help maintain competitiveness in the global clean cars race which involves countries like the US, China and Japan.

If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!