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GW Hosts Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Symposium

E&EM Lead Professor Jonathan Deason served as the moderator for a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Symposium that was held at the Marvin Center on February 10, 2006. Gradate student Grant Halloran of the Environmental Policy and Management Program, Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy, GW School of Business and Public Policy, arranged the program and coordinated the speakers.

Panelists at the standing-room only event were Wiley Barbour, Executive Director of Environmental Resources Trust, Inc. (; Ben Feldman, Managing Director of the Washington, D.C. office of Natsource, LLC(; and Reid Harvey, Chief of the Markets Trading Branch, Climate Change Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gpv/cpd).

Reid Harvey began the program by describing EPA's involvement in emissions trading, and explaining how the agency’s sulfur dioxide trading programs have served as the “blueprint” for emissions trading in other markets , as well as other locations around the world. Reid’s office helps to improve understanding of the more potent greenhouse gases and options for sequestering carbon dioxide. It works with many organizations to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change by promoting greater use of energy efficient and other cost-effective technologies.

Next, Wiley Barbour addressed other emissions trading markets, explaining that emissions that are being traded and how the processes work. He also explained the relationships between emissions trading helps to temper climate change promote clean energy and use lands in environmentally beneficial ways. Wiley’s organization develops markets to facilitate greenhouse gas ( GHG) emissions transactions between private parties, thus serving as a critically important link for building market-based environmental solutions to large scale environmental problems. Wiley’s office helps to provide improved access to information and facilitates functional market mechanisms, thus lowering transaction costs for emissions trading.

Then, Ben Feldman, who holds a masters degree from GW, discussed the future of emissions trading, and addressed an array of additional environmental commodities are being, or might be traded in future years, such as nutrients and waterborne pollutants. However, as Ben explained, the most exciting area of environmental commodity trading in the foreseeable future relies in airborne emissions trading, especially GHG trading. It is expected that public policies requiring firms to reduce their GHG emissions and increase development of renewable energy will proliferate. It is likely that many of these policies will allow firms to utilize market instruments for compliance. This likely will result in increased demand for environmental commodities in the future.

After conclusion of the panel presentations, the panelists engaged in a spirited discussion of many issues raised by members of the audience.


Jonathan P. Deason, Ph.D., Lead Professor

The George Washington University
Engineering Management & Systems Engineering Department (EMSE)
Environmental & Energy Management Program (E&EM)
Spring 2006 (Volume 7, Number 1)

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