By David Alire Garcia
MEXICO CITY, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Mexico's stock exchange launched its first platform to trade carbon credits on Tuesday, a voluntary initiative that allows polluters to offset their emissions with tradeable certificates.
The new platform, called MEXICO2, provides an electronic forum for certificates conferring the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide, thereby attaching a cost to pollution.
MEXICO2 also seeks to have investors fund environmental projects aimed at curbing greenhouse gases.
"Increasingly, investors are asking that companies do their part to reduce their carbon emissions," Luis Tellez, chief executive of Mexico's stock exchange, said at the launch.
Tellez said he expects robust demand for the credits and the projects the new platform seeks to promote - despite the fact the exchange imposes no binding obligations on companies.
The new platform is the second such exchange in Latin America, following the launch of Costa Rica's BANCO2 market last month.
Eduardo Piquero, head of the platform, said MEXICO2 expects to handle a million carbon credits in its first year of operation, doubling to two million in the second year.
Piquero declined to say what the scheme would be worth, explaining that the price of credits will vary by project, which may include public transport initiatives or reforestation efforts.
The platform should benefit from Mexico's new carbon tax, set to take effect next year, thanks to a provision that allows companies to pay the levy with carbon credits.
Environment Minister Juan Jose Guerra said Mexico contributes 1.4 percent of global emissions, and already has some 200 certified projects generating tradeable carbon credits.
Those projects can yield the Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) issued by the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism, the original carbon market created by the Kyoto Protocol. The CERs would then be made available for trading on MEXICO2.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Ken Wills)