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IHS Markit to launch Meta-Registry for global carbon credits

09 March 2021 Amena Saiyid

IHS Markit announced plans 9 March to launch a meta-registry to help track, manage, and account for trades of new and existing credits generated from mitigating climate change impacts across independent carbon markets and registry systems around the world.

Once launched, IHS Markit said, the registry would serve as a "global online ledger" that will "allow seamless connections among independent carbon markets and registries around the world, reducing the risk that credits are counted or claimed twice different markets or programs."

The IHS Markit Meta-Registry will leverage distributed ledger technology to enable companies, governments, traders, and brokers to access information on projects and credits across jurisdictions, programs and standards, it said.

The meta-registry could be launched in the coming weeks, with initial member programs including Global Carbon Council, Gold Standard, UK Woodland Carbon Code, UK Peatland Code, and Verra. Additional participants will be added in the future.

Carbon markets are a vital tool that allow companies and countries to meet their net-zero emissions commitments through market schemes. The key will lie in implementation, though, with multiple registries and methodologies, buying and selling in many different venues, according to Evolution Markets, a brokerage firm that has been engaged in global carbon markets in New York and London for more than two decades.

"Our carbon market clients are seeking more efficiencies in how carbon offsets are created, traded and retired. This initiative has the potential to address some of those needs," Evan Ard, Evolution executive managing director, said March 9.

That's where the IHS Markit registry comes in, according to Kathy Benini, IHS Markit's head of environmental solutions. "This meta-registry that underpins the global carbon markets will provide clarity and accountability for participants, increase liquidity, transparency, and strengthen the all-important trust in these markets," Benini said in a March 9 statement.

As carbon offset markets become more active and new products are developed by regulated and unregulated markets, the need for coordination among registries is all the more important. And if done right, the registry can "increase liquidity in carbon markets and maybe open the market to more participants, especially as more and more companies are taking on carbon reduction targets," Ard said.

To ensure that the meta-registry meets its goals, IHS Markit also set up a Meta-Registry Advisory Board comprising representatives from the public and private sectors, plus non-governmental organizations. These include Bank of America, Chevron, Environmental Defense Fund, Gold Standard, Global Carbon Council, Goldman Sachs, Temasek and the International Emissions Trading Association.

The World Bank will remain an observer on the advisory board, and IHS Markit said its registry would act as a complement to the World Bank's Climate Warehouse initiative to create a public infrastructure for tracking and reporting of carbon assets.

"We have seen growing interest in solutions to enable carbon credit markets to scale, as evidenced by the Task Force for Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets and the World Bank's Climate Warehouse initiative," said Dirk Forrister, president and CEO for the International Emissions Trading Association and Meta-Registry Advisory Board member.

Posted 09 March 2021 by Amena Saiyid, Senior Climate & Energy Research Analyst, IHS Markit

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