CARBON MONETIZATION & MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR THE NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY: PREPARING FOR THE IMPACT OF A CARBON CONSTRAINED ENERGY MARKET
A growing global movement internationally and sub-nationally has created both mandatory and voluntary markets focused on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the monetization of carbon or carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) criteria emissions. This process, independent of a comprehensive national cap and trade program targeting GHGs has imposed the constraints and added costs on traditional fossil fuel industries at a sub-national and international level. And while a national program may be off the 2010 political agenda, the EPA is exercising its granted authority to monitor and manage GHGs. The international aspirations for a post 2012 replacement to the Kyoto Protocol and the duration of the current Executive Branch of Government in the United States both align with a three-year window when both Kyoto and the current administrations terms end on December 31, 2012. This window of opportunity will be critical in determining the mandatory regulation and outcome on an international, national and sub-national basis. Therefore, despite the status of national legislation centered on GHGs, sub-national and international activity will continue to influence national GHG policy over the course of the next three years. Yet, despite the outcome of legislation, it is apparent that global competition for fossil fuels, the emerging focus and funding on greener energy technologies and the establishment of voluntary carbon markets, will in and of themselves impact traditional energy markets. Carbon monetization is in process and GHGs are an environmental commodity. Therefore, carbon management strategies must consider the financial impact of compliance in terms of mitigation and opportunity that may exist in the early stages, prior to an imposed scarcity of a national or global cap and trade program.