March 30th, 2011

Carbon Offsets: An Unearthed Treasure or Pain in the Asset?

BOSTON -

It’s like driving a car, attempting to follow a complicated map with no straightforward directions: so frustrating! Then along comes the modern day GPS system that is easy to use; you enter data and it spits out your destination. Easy as pie.

This is the analogy that Tom Kineshanko gave, when describing his company’s carbon offset identification and monetization software platform, a tool called OffsetID. Habitat Carbon Assets, founded two years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia, is on a mission to help Cleantech sellers benefit from carbon offset revenue from the sale of their technology.

Like all of his life’s work– Kineshanko is also involved with several other clean energy nonprofits– Habitat’s overall mission is to decrease carbon emissions quickly, by encouraging more and more businesses to transition over to clean energy fuel.

The switch to wind or solar power, among other things, will be easier with OffsetID, because the computer program will offer a straightforward way to measure carbon offset revenue and make a profit from it. The OffsetID program, appearing much like any other notable electronic financing application, provides the customer with instant, tailored results that, after a simple questionnaire and data collection process, gives you an estimate of potential carbon offset sales from Cleantech energy. If you are eligible, Habitat will walk your company through the process. Basically, the app will tell you whether or not it’s worth it for your company to implement, before you get started.

Kineshanko explained that often people switch to alternative energy, but they don’t bother to measure the negative carbon they are netting, because the process seems too long and cumbersome. Therefore, they are missing out on a major money-saving aspect of the industry that could generate significant profit.

“We strive to remove the barriers,” Kineshanko said. “Very few people know about the carbon market…they just haven’t gone through the exercise to find out how much their Cleantech reduces carbon.”

One of the main challenges of carbon offsets is the difficulty in meeting the standards to qualify as an “asset.” Kineshanko elaborated on this concept, saying that there are many different qualifiers, but not all are equally credible. An example would be to compare 2 carat gold to the higher quality 20 carat gold; OffsetID chooses only to rely on the detailed, scientifically tested, and “really robust” qualifiers.

OffsetID only uses the top three qualifiers when looking at clients’ carbon offsets, in order to produce the most fool proof, reliable outcome.  These three qualifiers include: CDM (Clean Development Mechanisms), deigned as a globally accepted mechanism in the Kyoto Protocol, VCS (Voluntary Carbon Standard) set as a standard in the United States, and the CCAR (California Climate Action Registry) used in the state of California to encourage companies and government agencies to voluntarily measure and report on carbon reductions.

Although there are many skeptics that oppose the idea of carbon reductions, Kineshanko is hopeful that the opposition will fall to the wayside, as our global economy moves towards alternative energy solutions and, he hopes, towards embracing carbon offset technology. As Kineshanko pointed out, no one is too small to benefit from this technology.

To learn more about Habitat Carbon Assets go to: www.habitatcarbon.com

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Catherine Moore

About Catherine Moore

Catherine Moore currently works in Development and Marketing for an education nonprofit in Boston called Associated Early Care and Education. Previously, she served as the Deputy Director of Communications for "Repower Massachusetts," a brand initiative that supports a national transition to clean energy, funded by The Alliance for Climate Protection based in Washington, D.C.
Please follow Catherine or email her at camorous@gmail.com. All opinions expressed are those of the author and not a connected affiliation.