Trends in Environmental and Emissions Markets


In the coming decade and beyond, the landscape for emissions measurements and environmental markets will be dominated by four major topics. These are: climate change policy and legislation, including assessment, reporting, and reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs); process monitoring for compliance; the advent of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS); and energy policy, including action for “energy-intensive” industries,promotion of clean energy solutions and renewable power standards, and the commercialization of alternative energy sources. All will greatly impact the nature of emissions markets.

New emissions regulations will be an important market changer, including the strengthening of existing monitoring and control requirements in the US under the Clean Air Act (Titles II and IV), new mandatory GHG reporting requirements, as well as the potential for regulation of GHGs as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. Finally, overlapping state regulatory actions, consisting of initiatives by proactive states such as California, well in advance of federal regulations, will be a major topic.

This agenda, which is both national and international, presents enormous opportunities, as well as serious challenges for Air Liquide and other gas companies. Industrial and specialty gas companies are at the nexus of the emissions debate, as they are both a supplier of products and solutions to regulated industries, as well as being regulated themselves.


In the US, the “cap-and-trade” model has demonstrated great success as an emissions control and reduction strategy, the control of sulfur dioxide (SO2) being an example of this. A properly designed cap-and-trade program allows market forces to determine the most cost-effective route to environmental protection and compliance. Businesses have a direct financial incentive to find affordable and effective ways to reduce emissions, as their environmental performance improvements are converted into marketable assets.

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