A second version of the standard was launched in November 2007 (VCS 2007). It is broadly supported by the carbon offset industry. It will likely become one of the more important standards in the voluntary offset market and might very well establish itself as the main standard for voluntary offsets.
The VCS is a global standard applicable to all project types in all jurisdictions except for any HFC projects, nuclear power projects and hydro power projects exceeding 80 MW. Hydro power projects exceeding 20 MW are only approved when they comply with the criteria set by the World Commission on Dams.
The aim of the VCS is to provide a degree of standardization to the voluntary carbon market and to achieve “real, measurable, permanent, additional, independently verified, and not double-counted” emission reductions. The VCS has created a tradable unit called the Voluntary Carbon Unit (VCU). To manage the emissions reductions under the VCS, the organization has created a registry managed by the Bank of New York which is used to register, transfer and retire VCUs from the market.
As VCS 2007 was only launched at the end of 2007, it is difficult to determine how many projects have been certified since the system is still under development. The VCS Association expects that between 50–150 projects
(HFC-23 is generated as an unwanted by-product during the manufacture of HCFC-22, a widely used refrigerant. HFC-23 is a very powerful greenhouse gas about
11 700 times more powerful than carbon dioxide but it is quite easy to destroy. A small investment in process changes in aging factories can easily destroy the gas. The global carbon industry has been accused of making these small investments obscenely profitable, with the consequence that due to the low prices for those offsets, investments are missing for sustainable projects such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, as they are far less profitable. Supposedly, investment in the destruction of HFC-23 has even encouraged the production of the chemical in order to benefit from the international contributions. However the system in general is not to blame. Cheaper ways to reduce the climate impact will be accessed first. That is how the market mechanism works, once the easy options are “used up”, the market will proceed to slightly more costly options.
Today HFC-23 projects are excluded from various standards; they are however still eligible for the CDM process even though it is currently negotiated whether to rule out such projects from the international climate regime.)