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Climate Change Presents Financial Opportunities for Wisconsin Businesses

The Business Journal of Milwaukee: Go Green Business Update
June 22, 2007

Wisconsin is at a crossroads regarding climate change. Given Wisconsin’s large, energy-intensive manufacturing base, we have an opportunity to be a leader or a laggard in a carbon-constrained economy. Waiting for legislation requiring CO2 reductions could increase production costs and lessen competitiveness for our companies. However, proactive, voluntary CO2 reductions by those same companies could be converted to marketable credits with significant value.

If we act now, we can take steps to reduce our CO2 emissions and develop reduction credits that have appreciable value. CO2 reduction credits sell for about $4 per ton on the voluntary Chicago Climate Exchange and likely will sell for more in mandatory markets that are being established by other states. These formal markets, as well as numerous individual transactions, provide great opportunities for businesses to create financial value from improved energy-efficiency and other CO2-reduction projects.

To ensure the maximum value of Wisconsin CO2 reductions, these reductions need to be verified. One good way to quantify emission reductions is to participate in the Wisconsin DNR’s Voluntary Emission Reduction Registry Program. This flexible and user-friendly registry allows Wisconsin companies to potentially receive credit for their early, voluntary reductions.

Participants can register and have third parties verify their reductions, which is important because the value of reductions depends on their veracity. Companies can register virtually every kind of greenhouse gas reduction, as long as it results in the equivalent of at least 25 tons of CO2 reductions. Registrants also may register and quantify reductions from other traditional pollutants.

If Wisconsin and its businesses can stay ahead of the curve on climate change issues and opportunities, we can drive economic development in the state that is good for the environment and the bottom line.

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