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As carbon market grows, law firms cash in

Boston Business Journal – May 16, 2008

In my opinion, this is wrong in so many ways that I can barely count all of the problems! As my frequent readers know, I rant against carbon trading schemes all the time, so much so that my fingers are starting to be bruised. I have yet to see one that makes sense to me and this story typifies many of the problems. (If you want to stay up to speed on all of my thoughts on this subject, subscribe to the feed for this site).

Is Your Global Warming?


By J Schipper

Carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas linked to global warming, is accumulating in the Earths atmosphere at an increasing rate, according to a new study released by the US governments National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The research has renewed concern that the ability of the environment to absorb the gas may be waning. The NOAA study said the average atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2005 reached 381 parts per million, up from 2.6 ppm since 2004. The annual rate of increase, which has been recorded since the 1950s, now exceeds 2 ppm for three of the past four years. This is an unprecedented increase; 50 years ago, the annual increase was less than 1 ppm.

Green initiatives making only small dent

East Bay Business Times – January 30, 2008

There is no doubt that it is difficult to make a real difference in changing the waste of our precious resources. While Al Gore may say that it is simple to make a major impact, the sad reality is that it isn’t. It takes considerable effort to make a major change and this underpins how difficult it would be to reverse mankind’s creation of carbon dioxide.

Even the recent Superbowl has tried to be a more green endeavor but the results were probably less than satisfactory. They even planted a bunch of trees to offset the carbon production, even though the carbon lifecycle shows that this is not truly a long-term solution to the problem since the trees will eventually die and then release most of their carbon back to nature.

Companies try to make going green easier

Denver Business Journal – December 7, 2007

I haven’t made any secret of my distrust of the carbon credits (or carbon trading) programs that are on the market. I have written about them often and have pointed out multiple times where they are more scam than good. While I am certain that there are some programs that have good intentions, the devil is usually in the details and the details are usually not very good.

I can’t tell if the two programs in this article are good or bad.  They don’t give enough details in the article but I am suspicious.  While the companies that ShipGreen and AllState are donating to appear to be above board, they simply are not sharing enough information to tell if the money is doing any good.  I am reminded that BusinessWeek did an article on this type of effort only to find that little of the offset money did any good.

Kyoto protocol ‘promotes deforestation’

Reuters – August 14, 2007

To continue my ranting about carbon credits, I present this article that claims that credits that are in the Kyoto protocol actually encourage deforestation.  While the author does not claim that you get direct credits for cutting down trees, there is no doubt that the logic is sound.

Carbon credits allow the polluter to buy non-polluting capability of others to offset the polluters sins.  I have discussed this often in the past (see here) but go to this post for probably the best overall description of the technique.

The current carbon market actually encourages cutting down some of the world?s biggest forests, which would unleash tonnes of climate-warming carbon into the atmosphere….

Rising temperatures "will stunt rainforest growth" – August 10, 2007

The common thinking was that as global warming increased, rainforests would grow faster and would naturally moderate the effect.

This study suggests differently. This study notices that 2 rainforests actually slowed down their average growth as the temperature in that area of the world increased.  While the scientists validly point out that there may be many other factors or combinations of factors to this outcome, it is concerning.

It is also concerning that the various climate models do not adequately model this phenomenon.  Once again we find that we still do not have a solid understanding of our environment and we need to expand our investment in this science.

Species Explosion

I have no idea if this is good news or bad. I only find it interesting that life continues to evolve even as the world changes. If you are an optimist you will say that this means that the dire predictions by many are false. If you are a negativist you will point out that this is terrible that potentially man is causing an unnatural evolution.

I tend to be a centrist and try to find the middle for all things. So in this case, I think it is wonderful that the animal and plant kingdoms will find a way to thrive even if man is potentially killing other types of life off. According to the theory of evolution, life has always been evolving to accentuate the ability to survive – this is simply one more point on the curve. I also find it sad that some species will cease to exist due to this change but acknowledge that extinction is part of the cycle of evolution.

Live Earth London’s Glacial Pacing

Washington Post – July 8, 2007

I tried to do the math on the big quote from this article and couldn’t make it work. John Buckley of Carbon Footprint says that it would take 100,000 trees to offset the effects of the Live Earth concert from this weekend. While I am not sure on his math, I am sure that it is a big number.

The problem with saying this is that I don’t think carbon offsets are effective. To say that you can buy your way out of pollution by planting trees is, at best, a short term consideration. The trees are barely carbon negative over their entire life and death, even though they can have a big impact in their first years of fast growing. 

Live Earth Pledge

Live Earth

I have no problems with people pledging to do better, I am just cynical that it will happen.  Most Americans make “resolutions” each New Years (the most popular are to lose weight and stop smoking) and by the Super Bowl, these pledges are broken.

I do have some concerns about the details of this pledge.  By pledging to the first one, 2-7 are pretty much moot. The first item, if implemented, would effectively prevent all the others from ever happening.  In the US, to reduce CO2, H2O, and methane by 90% in 18 years (time for the next generation to be born) would be a gigantic burden on the economy.  I mention this in a previous post: Wanna Pay $7 a Gallon?

1.2M trees to be planted in S. Mindanao vs global warming

SunStar – May 1, 2007

If the areas that are covered by ice (principally Greenland and Antarctica) appreciably warm and that ice melts, the oceans will surely rise. The estimates vary as to the level of this rise in ocean level but islands and coastal areas will see the brunt of this change.

This article concerns the reforestation of parts of the Philippines in an effort to reverse years of denuding as well as a mission to stop the climate change.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here has allocated more than P10 million for its reforestation program in Southern Mindanao.

Calderon said they expect to plant more than 1.2 million seedlings all over the region before the end of the year.