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High Growth in Low Carbon Markets


High Growth in Low Carbon Markets

A discussion paper released by leading global project delivery firm, Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) suggests that Australasian companies need to look harder at getting involved in low carbon projects in developing countries.

James Muir, Clean Energy Advisor with SKM argues that for companies to be able to find the lowest cost emission abatement options, both domestic and international markets need to be accessible under future emissions trading schemes.

He states that whilst many firms are becoming engaged in discussions about national and state carbon trading schemes, low carbon projects in the Asia-Pacific region present tangible, but as yet underexploited commercial opportunities.

At a Thought Leadership Forum held by SKM, Muir presented a discussion paper entitled “High Growth in Low Carbon Markets”.

In the paper, Muir points out that because domestic carbon credits are often in limited supply, by buying into projects in developing nations, Australasian firms can reap a triple benefit for themselves.

Firstly they can access carbon credits to offset their activities in their home markets.

Secondly, by becoming involved in overseas projects, a profitable investment can be a stand-alone outcome, with carbon credits increasing project incomes by up to 10% for large scale renewable energy projects.

Thirdly, the transfer of skills and technology will provide export benefits to the home economy.

For example, Spain has exported over US$200m of energy technologies to developing countries through the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

Even in the past few months, political, public and corporate interest in climate change has risen tangibly.

Scientists and economists suggest that the global community needs to bring about a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per unit GDP by 2050 if we are to avoid the most serious climate change impacts without major disruption to the global economy.

However, recent experience shows how difficult it is, even for developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short-term.

This suggests that before the commercialisation and widespread uptake of the next generation of low-carbon technologies, interim measures are required.

Muir maintains that one element of this will be for developed countries to provide technical and financial support to assist developing countries slow the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.

“Through the framework of the Clean Development Mechanism, the carbon credit value of new projects in the Asia-Pacific region can be certified and assist firms in meeting increasingly stringent emissions trading requirements in their home markets,” Muir said.

Muir stresses that looking for overseas opportunities makes good sense even without the carbon credit factor and that now is the time for Australasian firms to become involved.

The Asia-Pacific region has already attracted investors from Europe and America, but Muir feels that through early involvement, Australasian companies can capitalise on their geographic proximity to the developing markets, their established trading links and their world-leading expertise in areas such as clean energy, agriculture and forestry.


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