If you live in Sydney, Australia, you have probably already completed your first carbon trade without even realising it.
At train stations and shopping centres around Sydney people have been handing out packs of energy-saving light bulbs and water-saving shower heads, all you have to do is fill in some personal details.
Six light bulbs and a shower head for free
Giving light bulbs and shower heads away to thousands of people must be costing someone a lot of money, and I wondered who was behind it.
The give-aways are not costing anyone money, people are making money from it.
By filling in the form to get your free light bulbs, you are signing over carbon credits. The organisation giving away the packs sells these carbon credits.
How much are the carbon credits worth?
The carbon credits from each pack are worth approximately 72 AUD!
Each light bulb is worth 0.5 carbon credits and the shower head is worth 3 carbon credits. So a pack of six light bulbs and a shower head is worth 6 carbon credits. One carbon credit is worth approximately 12 AUD.
How does carbon trading work?
Most of Australia's energy comes from coal fired power stations, which release carbon into the atmosphere.
When you replace your regular light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs you use less power, which means less carbon goes into the atmosphere. The carbon you have saved creates carbon credits.
In New South Wales, the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme requires electricity companies to reduce the carbon they release into the atmosphere. One way to meet this requirement is to buy your carbon credits.
The carbon credits under the New South Wales Scheme have a special name: NGACs.
Can I sell my own carbon credits?
You might be thinking “Why don't I buy a box of energy saving light globes and sell the carbon credits myself?”
Carbon credits are not created automatically. Only accredited projects under the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme can create NGAC carbon credits.
It would be great if we knew the true market value of everything we did to save energy.
On the bright side, the bulbs save you money on your electricity bill.