Saturday, June 30, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
An investigative report in the Guardian continues to strip away the claims about the benefis that have been touted for carbon offsets. According to the report very little carbon has actually been offset for two reasons:
“First, these schemes are unregulated and wide open to fraud.”
“Second…even the most well-intentioned schemes suffer from basic weaknesses in the idea of carbon offsetting - an idea which flows not from environmentalists and climate scientists trying to design a way to reverse global warming but from politicians and business executives trying to meet the demands for action while preserving the commercial status quo.”
It seems likely that no matter how little is actually accomplished by carbon offsets people will continue to buy offsets because it makes one feel like one is doing something about global warming. The main contribution of carbon offsets might be to make money for both those who are honest and have the best intentions and those who are ethically challenged and simply out to make a quick buck. There are of course many other methods available to fight global warming but whether they will be employed in time on a wide enough basis seems at the moment very uncertain.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Most of the concern is around the crucial CDM test of "additionality" - proof that a project is delivering cuts in greenhouse gases that would not otherwise have happened. In an unpublished report, one of the CDM board's expert advisers, Axel Michaelowa, examined all 52 Indian projects which had been registered up to May 2006 and found that a third of them failed this additionality test.
Mr Michaelowa found evidence of projects supplying false information which was then accepted by the companies who were supposed to check it. In one case cited in the report, he accuses an Indian company of making statements which were "blatantly false". Despite his protests, that scheme was approved.
There are enough obstacles to achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions on a scale sufficient to prevent catastrophic climate change without integrity being a major problem. Add concerns about integrity of the process and hopes for success grow that much dimmer. Maybe the first step in solving the problem of reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be figuring out a way to reduce human greed. Bring on the psychologists.