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Hidden Green Jewel: Businesses can gain credits for green reductions

BusinessWatch
April 15, 2008

The Wisconsin Voluntary Emission Reduction Registry is a hidden green jewel for Wisconsin businesses interested in adopting green strategies. The registry is a database that lists registered emission reductions.

There are four basic reasons for Wisconsin businesses to utilize the registry:

1. Protect Early Reductions

Today's voluntary emission reductions could have significant future value in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's base load power needs are met primarily by coal-fired sources. Business reductions in energy uses are associated with significant carbon dioxide reductions given the coal-fired base load profile. In the future, carbon dioxide emission reduction will almost certainly be required by federal or state law, and such regulatory programs will likely allow a "reach back" to prior reductions for meeting greenhouse gas emission requirements. Thus, the registry's recognition of current voluntary reductions may provide significant value when future mandatory reductions are in place.

2. Receive Public Recognition for Voluntary Efforts

The registry is a way to publicly recognize Wisconsin businesses that desire to green their image. This reduction recognition in an official, state sanction registry, makes an excellent marketing device for Wisconsin businesses that are courting consumers who value green companies.

3. Create Markets for Trading

The registry also promotes the development of markets for parties seeking to purchase credits associated with voluntary emission reductions in order to green their image. The Chicago Climate Exchange is a national example of value attached to voluntary emission reductions for greenhouse gas emissions. The Chicago Climate Exchange is the second largest market in the world for buying and selling carbon dioxide emission reduction credits. See Chicagoclimateexchange.com. The Wisconsin registry promotes a Wisconsin market through the creation of a centralized database for parties seeking to purchase credits associated with voluntary emission reductions as a method to green their image. A vibrant market is developing for consumers and businesses who want to "buy out" their carbon footprint associated with various activities such as airplane travel or energy use associated with daily living. The registry is a Wisconsin-based source of information for facilitating such purchase transactions.

4. Benefits of Early Action for Future Emission Requirements.

For greenhouse gases (GHG) and some air contaminants (mercury and fine particulate matter), future changes to regulations requiring emission controls are likely. For example, the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord that was signed on November 15, 2007 by the governors of nine Midwestern states and the Premier of Manitoba emphasizes GHG emissions trading. The accord is designed to establish regional goals and initiatives to increase energy security, promote renewable energy, and reduce GHG emissions, and includes provisions for the development of a regional multi-sector cap-and-trade system.

Businesses that gain early experience in implementing and quantifying emission reductions will be better prepared to take advantage of such future regulations or initiatives. Businesses that have gained practical experience will develop a competitive advantage. For all these reasons, Wisconsin businesses with environmental strategies should seriously consider the positive attributes associated with registering emission reductions on the registry. For more information, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/org/aw/air/registry/.

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