Goldman Sachs has recently bought pieces of two carbon-offset companies, in the latest sign of investment banks’ interest in the area.
On Monday E+Co, a company focused on bringing clean power to developing countries, announced that Goldman had purchased a majority of its carbon-offsets portfolio. In late October, Goldman took a minority stake in BlueSource, which is more focused on the tiny U.S. offsets market, and plans to market BlueSource offsets to clients.
Last December, Goldman also invested in APX, a California company that registers carbon offsets.
“These two deals show Goldman Sachs’ interest in the global carbon market and our commitment to assisting our clients who participate in these markets,” said Michael DuVally, a bank spokesman, in an e-mail message.
Carbon offsets are projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions — thus potentially counterbalancing a rise in emissions elsewhere. Planting trees are the most obvious offset; but other examples include capturing methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from a coal mine, or undertaking a qualified energy-efficiency project. Offsets are used in the European carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system, but have been slow to catch on in this country, where carbon trading is largely voluntary.