Centre for Environment continues successful Carbon Finance Workshop Series, with option of certificate

Friday, December 4, 2009 11:10:00 AM



Carbon Finance Workshop Series
October 28-30, 2009, Toronto
November 23-25, 2009, Vancouver, British Columbia

Understanding The Developing North American Carbon Markets
January 21, 2010, Phoenix, Arizona. 

The October 2009 Carbon Finance workshop was opened and addressed by the Honourable John Gerretsen, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment.    Barbara Henrickson of McMillan Binch LLP (standing) moderated a session on Ontario Climate Change Policy with panel members (left to right) Dianne Saxe of the Saxe Law Office, Jim Whitestone, Director, Air Policy and Climate Change Branch, Ontario Ministry of the Environment; and Eva Legiti, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnership 
PHOTOS: LEFT: The October 2009 Carbon Finance workshop in Toronto was opened and addressed by the Honourable John Gerretsen, Ontario's Minister of the Environment. 
RIGHT: Barbara Henrickson of McMillan Binch LLP (standing) moderated a session on Ontario Climate Change Policy with panel members (left to right) Dianne Saxe of the Saxe Law Office, Jim Whitestone, Director, Air Policy and Climate Change Branch, Ontario Ministry of the Environment; and Eva Legiti, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnership. (Photos by Justin Kim.)




By Rodney White

The Centre for Environment is continuing to offer its Carbon Finance Workshops this fall with two workshops: the first recently held October 28-30, 2009 in Toronto and the second held November 23-25, 2009 in Vancouver, B.C. (see article below).  The Centre offered its first Carbon Finance Workshop in February 2008, as an outgrowth of the Environmental Finance series it started some six years ago.  Carbon Finance deals exclusively with the use of market instruments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in the hope of avoiding ‘dangerous' climate change.  The workshops are designed as an intensive learning experience limited to 30 participants and running over a three-day period.  The participants who successfully complete the 24 hours of instruction, and associated readings, and pass the take-home exam are awarded a ‘Certificate of Achievement'.  The workshop also offers important networking opportunities for the participants and the presenters who represent the avant-garde of the carbon finance community.  Since then, the Centre has offered Carbon Finance workshops in Toronto (in November 2008 and April 2009) and in Calgary, Alberta in June 2009 and its first international offering in São Paulo, Brazil in March 2009.

It is quite a challenge to offer these workshops given the continuing uncertainty of climate change policy in Canada, especially in the federal government, which is essentially waiting to see what policy emerges from the US Senate and the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen.  Participants in the workshops are likewise gambling on these outcomes, hoping that the Canadian policy framework will finally emerge, more than ten years after the government signed on to the Kyoto Protocol. Recent encouragement comes from Ontario's adoption of the Green Energy Act which provides significant incentives for the development of renewable energy in the province.

Not surprisingly, the largest contingent of the participants came from the energy sector - both from major utilities and new players in renewable energy.  Others came from banking, investment, cleantech, biofuels, transportation, ecosystem restoration and government.  A number of students from the Centre's graduate course on Environmental Finance and Sustainable Investing (ENV 1707H) attended the October 2009 workshop, as did students from Western University and Queen's University.  We are hoping to do some cross-marketing between the Carbon Finance Workshop series and the Centre's latest offering in Distance Education - the Certificate in Carbon Finance.

The October workshop was opened and addressed by the Honourable John Gerretsen, Ontario's Minister of the Environment.  The workshop was presented by the Centre's core team from the University, the business community and NGOs, plus invited participants who provide up-to-the minute experience of this emerging field from their own daily practice.  For this event we were very happy to receive personal input, and sponsorship, from Sustainable Development Technology Canada and from Fortis Bank in the Netherlands - a pioneer in the carbon markets.  

The Centre will also be presenting a workshop on January 21, 2010 titled "Understanding The Developing North American Carbon Markets" in Phoenix, Arizona.  It will be a pre-conference workshop to the 13th Annual EUEC Energy & Environment Conference & Expo held February 1-3, 2010. 


CARBON FINANCE WORKSHOP SERIES:
NOVEMBER 23-25, 2009, VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA


Workshop participants engaged in interactive trading game of Carbon Finance workshop, Vancouver  Pat Koval, Partner at Torys LLP, oversees a offset credits case study exericse at Carbon Finance workshop, Vancouver
PHOTOS: LEFT:  Participants at the Carbon Finance Workshop in Vancouver engaged in an interactive trading game.  RIGHT: Pat Koval, Partner at Torys LLP, oversees a offset credits case study exericse. (Photos by Emma Thacker.) 


We are coming to the end of a second year of offering intensive training for the emerging carbon economy for participants from both the public sector and the private sector. The latest workshop was our first such event held November 23-25 in Vancouver.  Critical to the success of the workshop was a partnership with the Pacific Carbon Trust (pacificcarbontrust.ca) - a BC Crown corporation dedicated to the support of BC's low-carbon economy, principally by sourcing high quality carbon offsets from within the province. The Trust provided several of the attendees and several of the speakers.

Attendance included people from government, universities and the private sector, including several start-up companies operating wholly within the carbon economy.  University representation came from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria and Royal Roads University.  It was exciting the deliver the workshop in a province where it is already possible to experience the early stages of the evolution of the carbon economy. The opening address was delivered by the Honourable John Yap, BC's Minister of State for Climate Action.  The second day was opened by Scott MacDonald, CEO of the Pacific Carbon Trust.

The workshop was structured in a modular fashion to meet the needs of an audience working at different levels of experience within the carbon economy.  Day One covered an overview of the carbon markets for those with relatively less familiarity with the topic, while Day Two explored the specifics of the role of the Pacific Carbon Trust, the generation of offset credits, voluntary markets in North America, the financing of renewable energy, the buying and selling of Emission Reduction Purchase Agreements, and the development of forestry offset projects.  Day Three provided hands-on experience of project development in carbon markets and the trading of offset credits.  For the latter we had access to the computer-based simulation developed by Fortis Carbon Banking (Netherlands) which had first been used in the Toronto workshop in October.

As the carbon economy becomes a reality in North America - as it already is in the European Union - we expect to see a rapid growth in interest in our Carbon Finance Workshops.  As one of the Vancouver speakers said: "We need more capacity. That's why workshops like this are so valuable."

For more information:

Rodney White is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography and Academic Advisor for Professional Development Programs at the Centre for Environment.