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IBM to count carbon emissions for cash

What's holding back trade of carbon credits? Hard data, says IBM and partners who developed a carbon offset certification application.

IBM has partnered with two other companies to build an application that they say can accurately measure corporate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The software, called GreenCert, is built on IBM's infrastructure software and tools from C-Lock Technology, which can accurately measure reductions in greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide. The companies are expected to detail the application on Wednesday.

Many companies are undergoing initiatives to reduce their carbon emissions, as part of corporate social responsibility or environmental programs.

Having a method to measure and certify those reductions is significant because it will allow those companies to sell those carbon offsets, according to IBM. The application is part of IBM's Big Green Innovations initiative to develop clean technologies.

"The whole point of the application's output is to give you a high-quality offset that is transparent and reproducible," said Tim Kounadis, director of worldwide channel marketing for the company.

Not having an audit trail is a "big inhibitor" to participating in carbon markets where polluters buy and sell offsets, he said.

Mandatory and voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions resulted in about $10 billion of carbon credits traded in 2005, mostly in Europe, and volume is expected to grow rapidly, according to the International Emissions Trading Association and the World Bank.