Florida businesses dabble in voluntary carbon-trading markets.
Moline says municipal utilities favor a gradual approach to reducing carbon, phasing out coal plants over time and beefing up gas, nuclear and alternatives as we go. "Let’s not go overboard. ... I think it’s more important to take some action and control costs and evaluate it in five years and see how it’s going than completely changing the rules and have big winners and big losers and having lots of unhappy customers, some spending more than others."
LARGE LANDHOLDERS: Large landholders such as Plum Creek Timber, the Seattle-based timber company that owns more Florida land than any other private entity, will likely come out ahead in a cap-and-trade system. Forestry companies may be able to manage their holdings to increase carbon absorption ("sequestration"), earning carbon credits that polluting companies need to buy. Plum Creek has joined the Chicago Climate Exchange, but a spokeswoman says it has no carbon projects in Florida at this time.
SMALL BUSINESSES: Cap-and-trade will create opportunities for smaller Florida companies whose work already captures carbon in some way. For example, wetlands, seagrass and algae all absorb carbon, so companies that work with those and other nature-based systems have the potential to sell credits. Orlando-based Ferrate Technologies is working in Louisiana on the largest wetlands restoration project in the world that is also a carbon-sequestration project. Executives with another Orlando company, Aqua-Fiber Technologies, whose algae system removes phosphorous and nitrogen from lakes, envisions partnering with a utility or other business that needs to mitigate emissions. For every ton of phosphorous it removes, AquaFiber’s process takes away 40 tons of carbon dioxide.