The global voluntary market for carbon credits roughly doubled in 2008, according to a report by Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance. For the year, 123.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) were transacted, with a total estimated value of $705 million USD. Transactions for 2007 totaled 65 million tons, valued at $331 million USD. The report estimates U.S.-originating 2008 offset volume at 31.4 MtCO2e.
The average price for voluntary credits in 2008 was $7.34/tCO2e, an increase of 20% from $6.10 in 2007 and 79% from $4.10 in 2006, according to the report. A carbon credit, also known as an offset, is a tradable commodity representing a unit of carbon dioxide emissions reduction or avoidance. Typically, one credit/offset represents a reduction or avoidance of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
Renewable energy projects were the most common sources of carbon offsets, supplying more than 50% of the total volume of credits transacted in 2008. Landfill gas (methane) capture projects were the second most popular type, responsible for 16% of the market, mostly owing to activity in the United States. More than 96% of offset credits were verified to a third-party standard in 2008. The top four verification standards, responsible for 79% of the over-the-counter market, were: Voluntary Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, and the American Carbon Registry, respectively. Data for the report, Fortifying the Foundation: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2009, was provided by over 190 voluntary carbon credit retailers, brokers, accounting registries, and exchanges.
Press Release - Voluntary Carbon Markets Double In Size And Value In 2008 (PDF 173 KB) Download Adobe Reader
Additional Information - Fortifying the Foundation: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2009 (PDF 1.1 MB)
Ecosystem Marketplace Contact: Katherine Hamilton, 202-298-3007
New Carbon Finance Contact: Milo Sjardin, 646-214-6168