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Carbon FAQs

What is a carbon credit?

One carbon credit is the equivalent to one tonne of carbon emissions.

What are the carbon markets?

The CER Market
The largest market is the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which represents approximately 86% of the global market. This market deals with compulsory emissions reductions enforced by the Kyoto protocol. This market deals with Certified Emissions Reductions or CERs. This market is aimed at large corporate clients.

The VER Market
For countries that did not sign up to the Kyoto protocol such as the United States, there is a voluntary market that is overseen by the Verified Carbon Standard’s (VCS) programme. This market deals with Voluntary Emissions Reductions or VERs. The minimum amount you need to trade in this market is less than you need to invest in the CER market, but it is still a larger amount than most private investors can afford. However, via a specialised carbon credit consultancy firm such as GIS you can enter this emerging market with an investment of only € 3000.

What market do GIS work with?

GIS work exclusively with the VER market, which in turn deals with Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VERs) and carbon offsetting.

How can a private investor make an investment into the carbon market?

The only way a private investor can buy carbon credits is from a specialised carbon constultant, such as GIS. Carbon credits are not available from your stockbroker or bank.

How do I know my carbon credit certificate is genuine?

All carbon credits that we recommend are registered with the Verified Carbon Standard’s (VCS) programme. This is an internationally recognised standard of carbon credits, and acts as a way of checking your carbon credits are legitimate. Furthermore, you will receive a personal access code so that you can view your investment on the registry. GIS only deal with carbon credits that are registered with the VCS programme. Your carbon credit certificate will have a unique number which you can enter on the website of VCS to check its authenticity.

Who are Green Investment Services?

Green Investment Services (GIS) are carbon credit consultants with representation in London, United Kingdom. We have a team of experienced consultants and carbon market analysts that can help and guide you through the carbon credit investment process.

How is GIS different from other companies that sell carbon credits from the voluntary market?

GIS carbon credits are only recommended from verified and regulated sources such as the European Climate Exchange. Most projects on this exchange are from industrial companies, cities and governmental organisations that are reducing their carbon emissions today. GIS only recommend carbon credits that are verified and regulated from recognised sources and that are of a high standard. This means that all the projects are audited, legally binding and verified, and we believe this offers a high quality of carbon offset in the voluntary market.

How secure is investing through GIS?

We look for and promote suitable projects that meet our clients’ criteria, that are verified by some of the largest blue chip companies in the world. There are many different types of VER projects, some of which are audited to a high standard. As we only recommend VCS verified projects, this means that our clients are easily able to track and trace their carbon credit investment.

What effect will the development of India and China have on global carbon emissions?

India has over 1 billion people, compared with just 60 million in the UK. However, India emits just half the level of emissions of the UK. Firstly, the fact the UK emits so much means that reductions in UK emissions are worthwhile. Secondly, although India and China are developing very quickly, the fact that they are starting to use greener industrial processes means that pro-rata they should emit less than the UK on a per capita basis. Finally, both China and India are working on new biofuel production methods on a large scale, which will in turn lead to lower emissions of CO2.

Won’t the planting of new forests and reforestation projects solve the problem?

On their own, planting new forests and reforestation won’t solve the problem of carbon emissions that are too high. The removal of carbon by planting trees is a form of carbon sequestration, and this works well in conjunction with industry reducing their own carbon emissions.

What about carbon offsetting?

If a company or individual wishes to permanently reduce emissions of carbon from the environment, they can purchase carbon credits that are then used to offset their emissions. Once the carbon credit is retired, it can never be bought and sold again.

What does it mean when you say the carbon credits are ISO qualified?

The ISO is the International Organisation for Standardisation, which is a global organisation whose members are national standards bodies. ISO technical committees prepare International Standards.

In order to verify carbon projects, ISO standards have been developed. These requirements provide assurances to users of carbon credits.

Is it more expensive to buy certified carbon credits than to buy voluntary ones?

Due to the extra levels of regulation and higher investment levels required for projects in the certified carbon market, the price of certified carbon credits is generally higher than voluntary ones. Market conditions also affect the price of carbon credits.

How much do carbon credits cost?

Prices of carbon credits vary a lot depending on the project and the location. As a rough guide, here are some example price ranges for different regions:

  • * European Union: €10 to €32
  • * United States: $9 to $25
  • * Australia: $7 to $25

What is the definition of a carbon credit that can be traded internationally?

The principle of trading carbon savings internationally and generating carbon allowances was established under the Kyoto Protocol. One unit or carbon credit is equivalent to one tonne of carbon emissions. Savings due to projects that produce renewable energy are also admitted to the system. Companies that have gone over the amount of carbon emissions they are allowed each year can in turn buy these, and individuals can also purchase them.

What’s the minimum investment?

The advantage of using carbon credit consultants such as GIS is you can enter this market with an initial investment of only € 3000. Of course if you wish to buy more carbon credits in the future, you are free to do so. There is no maximum investment level.

Potentially how much money can be made?

Barclays Capital are predicting a rise of 42% in the price of carbon credits by 2012. However, our analysts recommend we forecast a conservative increase of between 15% and 20%. At present, carbon credits are trading at between €10 and €15 depending on the project and sector. Therefore an investment of €5000 today may be worth between €5750 and €6000 by the end of 2012.

Why should I buy now, and not sometime in the future?

At present the price of VER carbon credits is relatively low. However, with countries such as China and India launching their own carbon markets, and other countries and regions requiring carbon emissions reductions, we expect this market to grow substantially. Already, the price of a trade can only be fixed for a client for a couple of weeks due to rising prices and demand.

How long does the purchase process take?

It normally takes between two to three weeks to go through the whole buying process from the point we take your order and receive the application form.

Can I sell my carbon credits in the future?

When you buy carbon credits they are registered in your name, which means you own them. If you choose to sell these credits in the future, that is your choice. However, GIS are here to guide you on when the appropriate time is to sell.