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CO2 Credit Exchange Opens in Texas

The Texas Climate & Carbon Exchange, which allows companies to voluntarily offset emissions by buying credits, opened Thursday in Austin through a partnership with Australia-based Carbon Trade Exchange.

TCCX opened with one client, the city of Beppu, Japan, Dallas Morning News reported. The exchange doesn’t yet have any customers who want to sell carbon credits, DMN reported.

Carbon Trade Exchange, which has more than 145 members in 22 countries, will provide the electronic trading platform technology and infrastructure to TCCX. The Texas exchange will offer a lower membership fee than exchanges in countries that regulate greenhouse gases.

Texas emits more greenhouse gases than any other state, according to EPA data. The exchange will provide brokerage services for Texas companies and allow these business to offset their emissions and become carbon-neutral, CTX said.

The Texas exchange will promote the origination as well as the selling and purchasing of carbon credits on the CTX global exchange platform. The carbon credits being traded will originate from projects in Texas as well as the rest of the United States and the world.

Carbon credit exchanges and emissions derivatives schemes have opened with mixed success in other regions of the United States.

Financial markets firm Intercontinental Exchange Inc. announced in August 2011 that it would shut down its emissions derivatives trading platform Chicago Climate Futures Exchange. The Chicago exchange, which was losing money, closed due to lack of demand and uncertainty over whether the government would adopt a federal carbon reduction plan.

ICE has since launched 21 over-the-counter North American emissions contracts, which mirror products lost when the futures exchange closed. The products include derivative linked to emissions reductions plans in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut.

As the Chicago exchange floundered, GreenX and ICE launched futures contracts tied to the California carbon market. The California Carbon Allowance opened in August 2011, one month earlier than planned due to strong customer demand and increasing over-the-counter activity. California’s cap-and-trade system sets limits on carbon emissions starting this year, with enforcement starting in 2013.

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